Research Projects

Airport Travelers' Emotions related to Improving Airport Customer Experiences

Most U.S. airports do not have a complete understanding of the range of emotions their travelers experience at the airport. More research needs to be conducted to identify the sentiments expressed by passengers at different journey points and the root causes for why they feel the way they do. Once the root cause is identified, airports then must consider resolving any issues related to a negative emotion experience by passengers whenever possible.

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

Insufficient research has been accomplished for airports to fully comprehend appropriate responses to create an atmosphere which may influence airport travelers' emotions in a positive way; thereby creating an environment in which the traveler wishes to spend time and/or money at the airport. A number of studies on passenger's emotions acknowledge the effect that emotions have on the experience of travelling through airports; however, very little research has been performed on understanding the root causes of these emotions and the critical components of the physical and social environment the airport may need to alter to have a positive influence on the traveler's experience.

Best practices have not been clearly established at this point to address the emotional risk factors which differ from person to person and between traveler segments.

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

The objective of this study is to determine the emotions travelers may experience in travelling through airports, the root cause of those emotions and, solutions airports may implement to illicit positive sentiments.

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

The approach will be fully developed if this idea or problem statement results in creating an ACRP project by the respondents to the RFP. However, some initial thoughts include:

• Identifying airports who are recognized for delivering excellent customer experiences and analyzing social media data and information gained from other sources to determine passenger's sentiments.

• Conduct research to determine any industry thoughts on dealing with large groups of people with varying emotions and techniques or methodologies used to address solutions to minimize negative emotions by customers.

• Conduct focus groups to validate social media emotions discovered in the social media search for each traveler segment in their journey through the airport.

• Once emotions or sentiment and their associated root causes have been identified at each point of the journey through the airport, then review potential solutions for relieving stress and creating a more positive airport environment.

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

Both research through secondary and primary sources needs to be accomplished. Focus groups, whether on site or virtual, take considerable time in setting up, identifying potential participants, transcribing and analyzing. Social media research is absolutely a requirement for this study to reach a deeper level to determine sentiments and emotions. It takes trained experts to conduct this type of analysis.

A rough estimate is based on the costs associated with other projects with focus groups, social media analysis, and determination of sentiments which requires skilled professional staff supported by analysts.

A Rough estimate is $425,000 for this study based on the number of months it may take in this current coronavirus environment to secure interest in conducting focus groups, creating appropriate forums for discussions, etc.

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.

ACRP projects 157, current ACRP project,01-40, ACRP 101, and ACRP 130 are all publications contributing to understanding the sentiment of the traveler. Other sources such as The Journal of Airport Management has issued a publication investigating the relationship between airport servicescape, travelers' enjoyment, anxiety, and satisfaction (Traveler anxiety and enjoyment: The effect of airport environment on traveler's emotions, Bogicevic, Yang, Cobanoglu, Bilgihan, Bujisic, September 2015).

British start-up Ocean3D is using digital twin technology to create virtual maps of airports to help travelers who struggle with anxiety and disabilities to plan their trip ahead (Airport anxiety: a look at passenger stress points, Adele Berti, 26 November 2019). Clearly, the industry recognizes the need to recognize the importance of recognizing the passenger's emotions when possible.

Additional research will assist in identifying the airport's influence on traveler emotions and associated root causes to provide airports with potential remedies that can be applied in their own airport.



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Idea No. 503

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