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Everyone a winner with airport beacons

News, 15 January 2015

NEW YORK: Airlines, airports, brands, passengers, retailers and restaurants all stand to win with the introduction of beacon technology, according to industry figures who suggest this is set to take off in 2015.

"Airports are a perfect environment for beacons to succeed: an indoor space that could benefit from hyper-localised tracking and a captive audience that's looking to kill time," Jordan Gray, manager of Creative Labs at internet services business Organic told Luxury Daily.

He expected that the lead in putting the necessary infrastructure in place would come from individual airports rather than the airlines, a situation he compared to the retail space where brands have to go through the store to provide offers.

"It will be beneficial to have a gatekeeper in the middle to make the most of the experience for brands and consumers, airlines and passengers," he said.

And they would be pushing at an open door: a recent survey by Flightview, a flight information business, found that just over half (53%) of travellers in the US would welcome airports tracking their mobile devices to send real-time updates on gate changes and flight times.

Other surveys put the figure as high as 77%, "as long as they receive enough value in return" according to Rob Murphy, vp/ marketing at Swirl, a proximity marketing specialist.

"For airports, airlines, airport retailers, service providers and travel apps, this means thinking strategically about the type of content and offers that would be most valuable for travellers," he advised.

One airport already going down this road is Miami International Airport, which recently launched an app that uses navigational beacons to help consumers find their departure gate as well as sending push notifications for restaurant and retail deals within the terminal.

Inevitably, the price of this will be passengers' personal data, and the relevance of the information supplied and offers promoted will be paramount.


Murphy was, of course, confident about this aspect, claiming that for retailers using the Swirl beacon marketing platform, 60% of shoppers were opening and engaging with beacon-triggered content.

"The real question for the travel industry is not if, but when, beacon-triggered communications will become commonplace," he added.

Data sourced from Luxury Daily; additional content by Warc staff