Research Projects

A Primer: Using Customer Experience Measurement Tools and Data Analytics to Monitor and Improve the Passenger Experience

With increasing passenger demands for personalization, accelerated movement towards a truly seamless journey, and airlines providing amenities throughout the passenger journey, airports are challenged to consistently and regularly measure the quality of the experience in their airports. While many other hospitality industries (hotels, airlines, sports) regularly measure their customer satisfaction, airports often lag in the maturity and technological advancement of their measurement solutions. In order to improve customer experience measurement (thereby driving movement towards improved ASQ scores) and establish a scalable measurement program, airports need to understand best practices and how to tailor them to the airport environment.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

US airports traditionally lag behind global leaders in measurement and evaluation of customer experience. For example, only one US airport falls in the top 30 of the 2018 Skytrax global airport rankings and only 3 US airports fall in the top 50. In order to continuously improve, airports must implement effective customer experience measurement programs that provide actionable insights that tie clear action to improved customer satisfaction. In the multi-stakeholder airport environment, this regular experience measurement also needs to identify both pain points and success points, as well as the drivers of those, throughout the passenger journey.
This type of regular customer experience measurement can often be costly and overwhelming to implement in the airport environment. However, the introduction of automated tools to continuously measure passenger experience, such as social media analytics, survey tools like Medallia, and other video analytics software has created the potential to provide new insight into passenger needs and pain points. Databases and software solutions can help store and aggregate large amounts of data to enable airports to make informed decisions that address customer needs and move the needle on customer satisfaction.
By looking to best practices across the hospitality industry, airports can determine the best approach to create their own customer experience measurement program. This can enable airports have the insights make data-informed decisions to maximize value from investment and drive customer satisfaction up. This study would examine multiple platforms, solutions, and approaches, help determine the best methods, and then provide actionable recommendations to enable airports to move forward.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

This study will examine industry best practices in customer experience measurement and develop a set of recommendations to help airports implement their own measurement programs. By understanding the methodologies, tools, and platforms currently used by best in class hospitality organizations, airports will be able to pursue their own initiatives and efforts at customer experience measurement programs. While large efforts can often seem daunting, this research is expected to provide a roadmap to help airports pursue customer experience measurement in the most economical and impactful way.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)

The recommended approach for executing this research effort includes:
• literature reviews and current state analysis;
• expert interviews with customer experience measurement leaders at large-scale hospitality organizations such as hotels, sports venues/arenas, airlines, and global airports
• alternatives analysis to determine the best tools and case studies that can be leveraged and applied
• development of a set of recommendations to implement a customer experience measurement program
• creation of a model or template to develop a customer experience measurement program

Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

Total Labor Cost: $375,000

Travel: $25,000 (assuming airport or other hospitality venue site visits for observation and stakeholder meetings)

This assumes the following project breakdown of funding/time (approximate):
• 5% Project Planning
• 15% Literature Review
• 40% Research
• 30% Synthesis
• 10% Reviews, Updates, Finalization

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

This study would build upon past ACRP work, such as the 2016 study on Improving the Airport Customer Experience. While that study focused on strategies and solutions for improvement, this study would provide insight on how to effectively measure and evaluate changes and improvements, as well as how to decide which improvements to implement based on expected impact on customer satisfaction. Customer experience is growing in popularity as a topic among airport leaders, but the conversation has primarily been solution-driven and not evaluation driven. These solutions, however, cannot be effectively evaluated without a dedicated measurement program. This study will provide airports with the insight to take the customer experience conversation to the next level, moving from "what should we do?" and "how should we do it?" to "why should we do this?" and "what is the expected return?" This can help airports further mature their customer experience journey and have the data and measurement program that can justify the business case for investment.

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Idea No. 201