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Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s journey to enriching customer service with connected wayfinding

by Simran Klair

Welcome to the first in a series of stories covering Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s (AUS) journey to enhance customer services, elevate communications, and in the future, commence an expansion of their facilities. LocusLabs is excited to partner with AUS leaders to help revamp their passenger wayfinding tools and communication.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), owned and operated by the City of Austin, is one of the -fastest-growing airports in the United States. The facility proudly celebrates local culture with exciting guest experiences, including dining, shopping, art exhibits, and live music. In 2019, AUS welcomed more than 17 million passengers and was named runner-up for Best U.S. Airport in Fodor’s 2019 Travel Awards.

A new web experience

Anticipating ongoing growth as air travel continues to climb, AUS is committed to increasing passenger confidence, overhauling the airport’s website, and enriching current wayfinding tools through their partnership with LocusLabs. With AUS soon embarking on a multi-year expansion program, these improvements are perfectly timed.

The AUS communications and marketing team set several goals for themselves to better serve passengers and concessionaires. Revamping the website—especially the customer information and wayfinding pages—was their top priority. Answering questions on social media about available airport services, parking, and general airport navigation was time-consuming, so the team sought a more efficient way to push information to passengers. A successful passenger survey validated the need for the new web experience and communication tools: respondents ranked the AUS website, specifically the map and non-stop flight webpages, as their preferred resource for airport information.

Supporting airport concessions

When the pandemic dramatically slowing down air travel, airport concessionaires were forced to adjust their operating times. Left with limited marketing dollars, these businesses had trouble communicating their fluctuating hours to those still traveling in 2020. The static maps and printed signage could no longer keep up with the constant changes in concession operations. Finding a solution to support concessionaires and remaining travelers was important, especially since stores and restaurants significantly contribute to airport revenue.

The AUS team recognized the solution immediately: incorporate the POI data within the LocusMaps platform to help their concessions’ operators communicate accurately and in real-time with travelers. Updated wayfinding would guide passengers to more shops and restaurants as well as inform them of changed gate assignments, new sanitizing stations, PPE vending locations, and pandemic-driven safety protocols. In the end, instead of putting AUS’s plans on hold, COVID-19 exposed the urgency of giving passengers real-time information. Check out their new maps here.

Combined with the challenges around accurate map and directory information for the upcoming construction project, all this validated the need for digital, responsive mapping.

Looking ahead

For AUS, earning back traveler confidence meant delivering accurate, real-time information on everything from parking to the closest open restroom. It also meant bringing people back to work. Integrating concessionaires’ information with Grab, the airport e-commerce platform by Servy, presented multiple benefits: identifying contactless food service options, inviting travelers to visit restaurants in the less-used international wing, and generating the revenue that could help bring more people back to work.

Stay with us as we follow AUS’s implementation process and experience their LocusLabs partnership in upcoming newsletters.

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