Source: (Pendrill, 2015)
Mobile marketing is developing very fast and has enormous potential as a main channel in the internet infrastructure. It allows organisations to integrate in the daily lives of its customers by entering their living space and identify their needs (Beltman and Peelen, 2013). Several airports recognised this opportunity and launched recently the beacon technology in order to improve the customers stay through passenger’s smartphones before departure. Beacons is an app which offers a broad variety of functions such as providing flight information, wayfinding, baggage collection and measuring the distance to the gate (Babu, 2016).
Apart from technological features and possibilities, the app should be also about supporting the customer engagement and experience (Beltman and Peelen, 2013). Miami International Airport for example provides passengers with personalized updates, directions and advices based on location and needs. The HIAQatar app of Hammad International Airport allows customers to scan the boarding pass in order to receive real-time information with regard to flight schedules baggage claim and the assigned gate whereas Bologna Airport focuses on alerts, notifications and promotions (Babu, 2016). Due to the individual approach to every single passenger, they are able to build up a more personal relationship than before. By installing beacons into the technology, airports can increase both passenger satisfaction as well as productivity (Gregory, n.d.).
However, privacy and security, especially around mobile devices, remains important and people are understandably concerned about companies that obtain access to the personal data (Walton, 2015). According to a survey by Flightview, 53 percent of travellers in the United States would like to benefit from the beacon technology, but are not willing to release personally identifiable information (Samuely, 2015). Consumers are slowly beginning to understand how the technology works and noticed that it is impossible for beacons to invade their privacy without permission.
Therefore, there are certain measures that airports can take in order to earn trust and avoid jeopardizing the overall customer experience. First of all, airports should give customers the opportunity to cancel data sharing at any time. Apart from that, passengers need to be informed upfront about the reason behind collecting location or user data through their value proposition. Furthermore, the app should limit the frequency of notifications. According to a report by Loyalytics, receiving two to five messages in a week would cause 32 percent of respondents to stop using the app (Babu, 2016).
In the near future, the relationship between customers and airports will certainly continue to benefit from the beacon technology. Nevertheless, they have to consider that consumers need to be convinced about the trustworthiness of an organisation when giving access to their personal information. The research has shown that transparency and reserved behaviour in terms of contact to the customer is the key to gain confidence.
Babu, P. (2016). 7 Tips on Relieving Beacon Privacy Concerns of your Customers. Retrieved on 9th of October, 2016, from: http://blog.beaconstac.com/2016/08/7-tips-on-relieving-beacon-privacy-concerns-of-your-customers/
Babu, P. (2016). 10 Airports Using Beacons to Take Passenger Experience to the Next Level. Retrieved on 9th of October, 2016, from: http://blog.beaconstac.com/2016/03/10-airports-using-beacons-to-take-passenger-experience-to-the-next-level/
Beltman, R. & Peelen, E. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Pearson Education Limited.
Gregory, J. (n.d.). Airports and Airlines Using Beacon Tech to Send Location-Based Messages to Travelers. Retrieved on 9th of October, 2016, from: https://insights.samsung.com/2016/05/03/airports-and-airlines-using-beacon-tech-to-send-location-based-messages-to-travelers/
Samuely, A. (2015). Beacons will conquer travel marketing in 2015 despite privacy concerns. Retrieved on 9th of October, 2016, from: http://www.mobilemarketer.com/cms/news/software-technology/19513.html
Walton, J. (2015). Beacon benefits need explaining to outweigh privacy concerns. Retrieved on 9th of October, 2016, from: https://www.runwaygirlnetwork.com/2015/11/16/beacon-benefits-need-explaining-to-outweigh-privacy-concerns/