The Business Benefits of Location Based Services at Airports

Juha Mattsson

In the previous post, I listed the TOP 10 indoor location based services that will shape the future of how passengers experience their stay at airports. Now it’s time to turn to how such technology and ways-of-operating generate business impacts.

First, it is important to distinguish between three general stages in adopting location services:

Phase I: Passive people flow analytics. Modern WiFi, Bluetooth and/or camera technology are great for anonymous people flow, crowding and queue analytics. This forms also the basis for the needed positioning information and performance metrics for location based digital marketing and services delivered to passengers’ smartphones.

Phase II: Location triggered services & information. Passengers are increasingly installing travel related smartphone apps and opting in for location services. With indoor location technology, it is possible to trigger content & services based on a person’s exact location, such as notifications, wayfinding, product recommendations, offers, and so on.

Phase III: Bridging the different parts of the passenger journey. The highest level of personalised service takes advantage of rich customer/loyalty profiles, linking them to passenger’s location and activities in between airport visits -- whether during flight, on their way from/to airports or online while planning a trip. For example, triggering a re-targeted product offer at airport, based on a traveler’s product browsing on airline website.

(To learn more about the process of adopting indoor location based technology & services, please refer to our free eBook on modern in-store personalisation.)

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From the Airport’s perspective, these types of analytics tools and new passenger services deliver several business benefits with either direct or indirect quantifiable value. 

Overall fluency and quality of stay

The first set of benefits are related to the overall fluency and quality-of-stay at airports. These are naturally critical in attracting airlines, frequent flyers and top retailers to the airport:

  • Decrease the number of people arriving late to gate
  • Real-time monitoring & detecting disturbances and bottlenecks in people flow
  • Optimise airport layout for people flow, shopping & security
  • Optimise staffing allocations accordingly
  • Improve levels of customer service & satisfaction in general
  • Improve airport convenience & attractiveness (ratings, recommendations)

Improved services to passengers

A second bundle of benefits relate to offering improved services to passengers, many of which link to increased purchases at the airports:

  • Increase gross shopping time through decreased queueing and waiting
  • Trigger & guide buying through location based recommendations, offers and wayfinding
  • Increase the penetration and use of travel/airline/airport apps on smartphones

Additional services to partners

The third category is formed by additional services offered by airports to airlines, retailers, and other business partners:

  • Provide location-based infra & service platform for retailers & airlines
  • Offer new personalised, digital ad channels to reach passengers
  • Offer more accurate performance metrics to measure e.g. the impact of marketing or layout changes
  • Use accurate footfall data as the basis for pricing services, rents and ad space

Like what you've read so far? Check our solution for Airports or Contact us to learn more!

This is the second blog post in a series of three posts on how indoor location technology will change the business of airports and how passengers experience airports. The other topics are: 


Walkbase provides a retail analytics solution for improving the impact of marketing on physical stores and personalising in-store shopping experience.