The TOP 10 Location Services that Will Change Your Experience at Airports

Juha Mattsson

Top 10 location services for airports

Tim is at an international airport. He’s just out from a security check procedure which took 40 minutes in total -- instead of the 20 minutes he had estimated.

After a fierce scanning of arrivals/departures from a screen he recognizes his flight & gate information, and begins to follow signage that would eventually lead to his gate. “Could take anything between 5 and 20 minutes”, he mumbles to his colleague, “depending on how far it is and how many times we turn wrong”. On their way, Tim notes a separate security checkpoint with much less queue, and grins.

After they’ve located their gate, Tim vaguely remembers seeing an ad with a special offer on his favourite scotch whiskey. “Maybe I can find it in the duty free 5 minutes back, or at the larger one near the security checks. I still have 30 minutes which should be enough to find it, and maybe something for the family too.”

At that point, his colleague says: “I could visit a lounge. Did you spot a sign of one nearby? They should have one at this airport, but I’m not sure if it’s at this terminal..?”

On his way back, Tim realises his boarding time has already passed. Sweat and non-publishable words pop to his forehead as he’s blocked by a crowd of tourists at a crossing of passages where, as an extra, someone has set up a one-man violin band. “Excellent at violin, poor at choosing stage location”, he thinks.

Halfway, he receives a text message from his colleague: “As you probably noticed, our flight’s been delayed & gate changed. Still at lounge, come here.”

-- --

Quiz: find 10 things that could’ve been made significantly more pleasant with the help of indoor location based services?

After several years of working with retail chains, airports, shopping centres and the like at Walkbase, we have accumulated a wide knowledge base of ways for improving customer experiences with the help of indoor location technology.

Here’s our TOP 10 list of location based services that will transform the passenger experience at leading airports:

  1. Find your gate. This is the single most sought for information at airports. Wouldn’t it be great to have wayfinding directions and an estimate of walking time on your smartphone?
  2. Your current location. Airports are complex structures. Unlike many other settings, putting a dot on a map showing your location adds true value in terms of finding your way.
  3. Find [any service]. Restaurants, shops, security, information, taxis, restrooms, you name it. After assured of finding your gate, you’d be pleased to get simple directions to any desired service. Based on your current location, of course.
  4. Estimated walking times. A no-brainer for planning where to go next, or “do I have time for another cup of coffee”. Especially if you have to change terminal structures and/or take an airport train in between.
  5. Queue management. There’s two sides to this. Passengers benefit from real-time queuing time information and guidance to possible checkpoints with less queue. Airport operations can predict crowding, direct passengers to alternative routes, and adjust staffing.
  6. Recommended activities. Given the time you have before your flight, you’d be amazed to get a personalised list of recommended nearby activities you’d be able to do -- whether relaxing at a lounge or a quick toilet visit before take off. 
  7. Layout & people flow optimization. Having accurate people flow analytics -- heat maps, crowding alerts, path analysis, etc. -- gives a lot of hedge for airports to optimize airport layouts & staffing for more fluent people flow.
  8. Location based notifications. Time to leave for gate. Gate changed, reserve 10 minutes more time to go to gate. Consider going to security check 2 with shorter queue. And so on.
  9. Location based offers. Based on your interest profile and past purchase patterns, you may opt in to get special offers by nearby stores and services -- to find your favorite scotch. 
  10. Live chat to service staff. Just like many online stores, open a chat to nearest available service person for guidance, wayfinding and problem-solving. 

To learn more, please check out our Walkbase for Airports page or contact us directly.

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



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