Mansoor is a member of the Azimut marketing team and specializes in digital content. When he's not writing about self service, Mansoor spends his time brewing coffee or cycling.
In this blog: Learn how an airport can benefit from better planned queue management with the integration of technology solutions.
As Covid restrictions begin to ease globally and cautious travellers regain their confidence to step foot in packed airports and planes again, this summer is gearing up to be one of the busiest for airports since before the start of the global health crisis.
This means that global terminals like Dubai International Airport and London Heathrow will see north of 200,000 travellers daily. That is no joke and any staff working at these airports is rigorously trained and vetted. However, processing such a large number of people would overwhelm anyone.
Therefore, it is imperative that airport queues are properly managed and the flow of travellers is organised for optimum efficiency.
Use of Space & Flow Management
An efficient use of airport real estate ensures that no unnecessary queues are formed and no bottlenecks emerge in heavy traffic areas like immigration counters and baggage claims.
A simple way to ensure this doesn't happen is to keep wide, open walkways with enough space for trolleys and luggage.
However, some queues are necessary like airport security screening, boarding terminals and so on. For queues like this, physical barriers are necessary for an organised queue that discourages cutting or cheating of any kind.
For other queues where customer service times are longer such as baggage check in, a virtual queueing solution might be your best bet as it allows customers to queue online and perform any other tasks while they wait and they can simply return to the counter once its their turn.
To further improve customer flow and optimise foot traffic, a people counting system can help limit the number of travellers in one area and guide additional travellers through different paths to mitigate bottlenecks and buildup of rush in any one area at a time.
Communication & Transparency
Another key area when managing such a large volume of travellers in one day is optimising the customer experience. To do this, you need to keep your customers in the loop and give them realistic time estimates when they're waiting in queues.
If they've queued virtually, they'll be kept in the loop through their mobile devices and be updated every step of the way. However, if they've queued using a ticketing kiosk, then there should be digital signage spread across the waiting area displaying wait time, current ticket being serviced, who's next in line and so forth.
This gives travellers peace of mind and allows them to run other errands or visit the toilet if they know how much time they have until its their turn. It leads to satisfied and happy travellers.
Digital signage can also be used to help and guide first time travellers through security screening via visual aids like video tutorials or animations. Not everyone knows you have to take off your belt and shoes so this could save a lot of otherwise wasted time of going through the scanner again.
Customers often get in a queue and feel cheated as they witness other queues move faster as customers are being serviced in a shorter period of time.
By adding displays to indicate wait times for each queue and clear indications if a counter is free, it takes away that fear of getting in a slow moving queue and again gives travellers confidence that they made the right choice and their time won't be wasted.
These kind of optimised queueing systems are proven to reduce waiting times by up to 30%.
Another channel that can help diversify service provision at airports is self service kiosks that automate check ins and other workflows. This will also take load off the human-staffed counters and help service customers way faster while also significantly cutting down wait times.
One way to constantly improve is to collect customer feedback and act on it. Hear out travellers and listen to their concerns and act where possible to maximise airport efficiency.
To do this in a systematic way without wasting any human resource, customer feedback kiosks can be setup throughout airports to collect feedback from travellers passing through. All this data will be collected in one place and can be reviewed later to determine priorities for future upgrades or changes.
Better Queue Management Helps Everyone
It's not just travellers going through airports that stand to benefit from better queue management technology, but the management and administration of the airport too. When travellers flow through airports more efficiently, less resources are used to service them and this frees up resources to be spent on more travellers.
This leads to significant cost savings in the long run and increases the airport's operational efficiency and capacity as well meaning it can withstand the influx of even more travellers throughout a day.