How do you know what the service experience is in your airport?  And, how do you go about improving your passenger's experience?  

With airports becoming a hub of shopping, dining, and commerce, savvy airport managers have seized the opportunity to maximize passenger dwell time and bottom line profits. Improving the passenger experience pays dividends.

To improve the passenger experience, we must know what the experience is and what areas are succeeding and what areas need improvement.  For those interested in implementing a mystery shop program in their airport to gather this information, there are three things you should consider:

  1. Airport security: Mystery shopping is implemented by sending contracted "customers" to select locations and having them report back on their experience.  These "customers" are often not ticketed travelers and therefore need special accomodation to pass through the security checkpoint to shop post-security locations. Working closely with airport authorities, expert mystery shopping companies employ various methods to successfully make this happen.  If you are considering an airport mystery shopping program, consider how you may assist with this security process at your airport.
  2. Various venues: the service experience in an airport has many different components, i.e. security, transportation, dining, retail, housekeeping, etc. Each of these components of the service experience requires a different interaction and process. Therefore, the form used to capture the feedback must be customized to the service component.  If you are considering an airport mystery shoppping program, consider which components you would like to shop, and what would be involved in the measurement.   
  3. Results distribution: As with any service measurement program- in airports, or not- a results distribution strategy must be determined.  Airports are a bit more challenging than a brand, or a mall, for example.  Many different entities come together to make the airport operate and concessions and services may or may not report up to the same oversight department.  Who will receive results, and how will they be distributed to the location manager and ultimately the employees? If you are considering an airport mystery shopping program, work with your team to determine an appropriate results distribution strategy.

Implementing an airport mystery shopping program as a component of a larger service improvement program is a great place to start. Before you begin, you may want to take a peek at a sample airport quick shop form.  See our Sample Airport Mystery Shop form below!

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For more information on airport service improvement and mystery shopping see these articles: