You’ve arrived with just enough time to sneak in a quick breakfast of fast food and extra-large muffin before that 7am flight. Only after a late train trip and stressful wait in the security line do you find out your flight has been delayed for another two hours… sound familiar?
“Airports need to deliver on an emotional experience” – Kristy Ihle, THINK MD
Enter the new luxury retailer in the aviation scene – wellness. Wellness in airports is going beyond just a token head massage or salad from the convenience store. This is having an impact on everything from the architecture and design, to how business operates. Think the Zen Gardens in Dubai, the Jewel in Changi – its about taking a holistic approach to travel wellbeing and addressing the emotional and physical needs of travellers. Airports are becoming your one-stop shop to relaxation and rejuvenation and here’s how:
Fitness studios, yoga classes, spas and everything in between
Gyms offering a one-day pass, yoga studios, and even stretching studios like the one recently opened in Sydney Airport are allowing travellers, particularly those spending more time in the airport than not, to destress and meet their fitness goals. Spas are offering specific services to target travel-related concerns such as facials for dehydrated skin and comprehensive wellness experiences with special lighting and sound.
Science-based healthy mind programs are game-changing
The scientific benefits of meditation are well researched including reduced stress and anxiety, improved sleep quality and emotional health to name a few. Meditation rooms are comfortably furnished spaces where travellers can sit in silence and escape the hectic environment of the terminal outside. Interactive websites such as Fly Calm give travellers tips, videos and the option to download a mindfulness colouring book to help destress before a flight.
A diverse variety of healthy foods on offer
Plant-based cafes, vegan restaurants, and organic superfood stops are all the rage in the F&B market and airports are no different. This has extended to healthy vending machines such as SALLY – the customised salad robot that will provide you a fresh meal at the click of a button. Local food experiences have been on the rise which is often the more nutritious, safe and sustainable choice of meal.
Airports are moving beyond just a physical structure
Creating a positive mind-body experience that fosters successful, long-term relationships with increased traveller choice and customer-focused strategies is the future for airports. It won’t just be mums and dads getting to the airport early now!
Here at THINK we are experts in aviation research. Working with all major Australian airports over the last 10 years Managing Director, Kristy Ihle, discusses the 6 key techniques used to commercialise the airport offer including: placing a size and value to your travellers; deep diving into these travellers to understand their usage, behaviours and attitudes; mapping the traveller journey; plotting these opportunities across commercial stages and measuring the experience to identify traveller pain points; and using these insights to develop a customer-led brand marketing and communication strategy.
Lauren Irwin – Research Consultant