Top geofencing strategies for air travel brands to boost retention and revenue streams

A lot is up in the air on travel day, but location-based mobile experiences can help airlines and related providers best serve travelers.

Here are a few ways geofencing can alleviate friction in the traveler experience to increase revenue and build loyalty.

geofencing for air travel

Enable contactless experiences

Beyond the financial impact, long-term effects of COVID-19 on airlines include new hygiene and safety standards and added digitalization. The mobile app can offer valuable functionality to replace many person-to-person actions that busy travelers can often miss. Highlighting contactless features at the right moment in the journey can help airlines meet expectations for customer safety and convenience, while simultaneously optimizing labor.

American Airlines powers a touchless check-in experience by allowing travelers to scan their preloaded mobile boarding pass to print bag tags and complete the check-in process, without ever touching the kiosk. JetBlue leverages geofencing to recognize the moment when a traveler arrives at the airport to automatically send a message with their digital boarding pass.

Airlines can use Radar to recognize when travelers are on their way to the airport, as well as the moment they enter, to surface boarding passes and reminders to utilize helpful on-premise features. The app can continue to support touchless experiences beyond security with support for mobile payment and boarding pass scanning. Radar ensures these scanning features are prominent and accessible to travelers opening the app within the airport to boost uptake of great contactless features and accrue their benefits.

Boost secondary revenue streams

Location also increases opportunities to send targeted offers to travelers in the airport. The Miami International Airport uses location technology to send offers and suggestions to swing by nearby food and retail businesses, and airlines themselves can do the same to increase revenue from partner programs.

Ancillary revenue streams are exceedingly important for air travel brands, accounting for ~13% of all airline revenue in 2020. To further boost ancillary sales, Radar can trigger timely and relevant notifications about flash sales for remaining available seating upgrades or encourage travelers in close proximity to the gate to pre-pay for in-flight food, drinks, and wifi while they wait to board. Location-based offers and reminders can also be sent to travelers who have landed. For example, an airline with an off-site car service partner can send a notification to book a ride while at baggage claim.

There is a lot of untapped potential for airlines to maximize revenue through partnerships with airport retailers. Airline apps can use Radar to detect when travelers are at their gate with 45 minutes to spare, and Radar’s integrations with customer engagement platforms can be used to trigger a push notification with an offer for a nearby coffee spot or wine bar, and secure revenue from driving the business. Radar could then route the traveler directly to the retail partner. A message could read, “Boarding doesn’t start for 45 minutes. Get 15% off a to-go glass from WineFlights. Tap here for directions.” Once they arrive at the Wine bar, Radar can surface the mobile coupon.

Effectively handle irregular operations (IROPS)

Nothing is more frustrating to a traveler than experiencing a delay or change, and not having a clear idea of what it means for them and their plans. Through COVID, IROPS became an even bigger part of the airline climate. A Hotel Management survey indicated that 64% of travelers view real-time flight alerts throughout their journey as the most important travel app feature, and Hubspot found that 75% of people prefer to learn about travel disruption via a push notification.

With an understanding of traveler location, Radar is uniquely positioned to trigger real-time updates to travelers on their day of travel as disruptions occur. If there are scheduling advances or a gate change that positions a customer far away from the new gate, Radar can power a location look-up to see if the traveler is still at the airport before sending an alert and routing instructions to get them there in time. If the location look-up identifies the customer is out of range, Radar can send a message pulling them back into the app to be scheduled on the next flight.

According to Braze's 2021 Travel Industry Trends report, 34% of global travelers said they’d consider booking with another company if they didn’t get the communications they expected. Being proactive and communicative about changes at these pivotal moments can make the difference between a frustrating experience and an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction.

Improve airport flow and wayfinding

Wayfinding technology has advanced tremendously over the years from simple, static signage to geo-enabled kiosks and mobile apps. As reported by Airport Technology, airports are now investing in app-based solutions, providing relevant updates and information as travelers move through their airport journey.

Through the use of beacons at their Newark airport hub, United Airlines’ iOS app users can pinpoint their location within the Newark airport to receive directions to their gate, ATMs, family restrooms, and restaurants. By ensuring passengers know how to get to their gate—as well as how long it will take—United Airlines is able to reduce a major travel day friction point. The Delta app offers wayfinding in at least 20 major airports, and Delta’s Vice President of Digital Strategy commented, “Delta’s airport maps are another customer experience differentiator.”

With support for beacons, Radar can be used to help reduce bottlenecks and wait times by informing travelers of congested areas, routing them to the least crowded nearby restroom, and sending boarding updates in real-time to prevent crowding around the gate. This can be especially helpful on the other end of the trip if travelers land in a foreign airport with language barriers. The app can help connect travelers to their ride, the on-site airport, or currency exchange with ease. Radar’s distance API can also route travelers throughout the airport or to different terminals in the most efficient way.

beacons support for air travel

Personalize experiences to retain high-value travelers

Hubspot’s Mobile Travel Trends report found that improving traveler retention and loyalty was the biggest challenge mobile could help address in 2019. One of the best ways to attract and retain high-value travelers is to anticipate their needs through a personalized experience.

Airlines are already putting personalization into practice. Virgin Atlantic goes the extra mile for travelers who have downloaded their Passbook app by loading their boarding passes automatically near security and sending personalized offers on services such as currency exchange. American Airlines turned to location technology to expedite Admiral Club member entry to lounges during busy periods.

Location technology makes it simple for airlines to offer a high degree of personalization. Radar can trigger a message to VIPs by detecting when they arrive at the airport, automatically load documents, and send personalized messages to greet travelers, communicate upgrade or service offers, or provide walking directions to the concierge or lounge. These personal touches help connect travelers to helpful services and conveniences for a more seamless and comfortable day of travel.

Reducing friction from day of travel experiences drives customer satisfaction, comfort, and loyalty. Radar’s leading geofencing platform for travel makes it easier than ever for air travel brands to connect travelers to the right in-app features, messages, and services at the right place and time.

If you’re interested in leveraging geofencing to exceed traveler expectations, we’d love to hear from you.