Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather says there are more tools than ever before to monitor how passengers are making their way through the terminal.
While it might sound like a modern version of Big Brother, Mather says the airport’s ability to track where passengers are using the available free wi-fi service, how long they stay at security queues or the time they wait at the departure gate all help improve their experience at the airport.
This information helps not just the operator but also agencies and companies working at the airport such as security staff, retailers and maintenance staff.
“We utilised our wi-fi data to produce heat maps showing concentration and flow of devices,” Mather told delegates at the Australian Airports Association national conference on the Gold Coast on Monday.
“Using the technology we get great insights into how customers move through the terminals, as well as dwell times, providing an opportunity to improve efficiency, both for passengers and airlines, as well as monetisation opportunities.”
“In terms of operations, the data assists with rostering, queue management and communications.”
The changing nature of passenger demands was reflected in the rising number of tech savvy travellers comfortable with technology and using that technology to interact with the airport.
“Customers find it much less effort to actually tap out the issue on their iPhone than actually calling our call centre to speak to an assistant,” Mather said.
The were about 6,000 downloads of the Sydney Airport mobile and tablet app each month, while half of the 2.5 million hits on the airport’s website per month came from mobile and tablet devices, Mather said.
Generation X was made up about a quarter of all passengers at Mascot, with the number of tech-savvy passengers increasing every day, Mather said.
Mather said there were up to 150,000 people on site at Sydney Airport – comprising passengers and the 28,000 people who work at the airport – on any given day.
“We’ve got more tools available to us to understand our customers than ever before along every step of the customer journey,” Mather said.
“With mobile and tablet technology and social media, we are able to understand more about our customers than ever before.”
Sydney Airport said on Monday its ambassadors would be given mini tablets to help them assist passengers as part of an expanded program. The 130 volunteers will be decked out in new blue uniforms, scarves and ties.
The airport also planned to add 50 “red ambassadors” over the Christmas and Lunar New Year period.