Priority Pass has been the leader of lounge access management for over 25 years. Beyond lounges, it has expanded access to restaurants and personal spaces over the past three years. On December 11, 2018, the travel lifestyle program adds airport merchant offers to the list of benefits members can enjoy.
Established in 1992, Priority Pass started off by partnering with airport lounge operators around the world to create a better travel experience for its leisure, business and corporate members. As travel expanded and the lounges got too full, the program expanded its offering by adding restaurants and personal spaces into the mix. As of December 2018, it has partnerships with over 1,200+ lounges, restaurants and personal spaces for members to use at over 140+ airports around the world. Travellers can join Priority Pass directly online or obtain it through many credit card products.
Over the years, Priority Pass noted that many of its members do not always have the time for a lounge visit or want to explore the airport retail scene in more detail. Enter Priority Pass Offers which was created to cater to these needs.
Priority Pass Offers
Priority Pass Offers is a simple to use feature that allows members access to over 800+ offers at 146 airports around the world instantly. To begin, members first create a digital account online or through the mobile application and log in. They can then search an airport like they would normally do today. Airports like Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) would list lounges available first. Retailers with offers would be shown underneath the lounge listing.
Members would then click into the desired offer which will generate a 2D QR code and a 12 character unique ID made up of letters and numbers when prompt for identification during purchasing. The initial batch of offers range include discounts, additional service, and complimentary gifts. Merchants on board with the initial push include Burberry (apparel), Duty Free Americas (shopping), Mont Blanc (accessories), XpressSpa (spa), Pret A Manger (food), Kate Spade (apparel) and Calvin Klein (apparel). Members would not have to pay additional fees to use these offers like they might have to for lounge access. They can also reuse these offers a number of times while travelling.
Insight – Service Enhancement, Marketing Initiative
The new Priority Pass Offers is a win-win for the program, airport operators, merchants and the travelling public with the latter gaining access to new offers that would otherwise be unavailable previously.
Airport operators that manage their own set of merchants may yield higher non-aeronautical revenue as a result of increased foot traffic and exposure. This may improve the overall financial performance as some airports flight operation revenue are capped by are capacity challenges.
Merchants that participate in Priority Pass Offers may potentially acquire new customers that otherwise be unattainable due to the lack of brand awareness, perceived price barriers and quality expectation. The customer acquisition costs may be lower than the program enrolment fee depending on how the merchant is positioned. It may also help merchants compete with others with a similar product mix but not in this program.
Priority Pass can obtain insights on member spending habits through this program to create a better service experience for them. It can also provide merchants and airport operators with analytics on how to position or enhance their product mix and promotional activities. Offers can build interests and engagement but it will be up to the merchants to convert initial and possibly repeat sales.
Two Way Street
While there are many positives for this program, it also expose Priority Pass to new challenges. Members will perceive that all participating merchants have been vetted for quality control, are trained on the new program and have the equipment available to manage the codes. Any service slippage in these areas would have an impact for Priority Pass and its merchant network as a whole. Popularity can also contribute to crowd management issues (something the program has to manage with lounge operators).
It is important for merchants to test new ideas before implementing them on a systemwide basis. However, this could also lead to customer confusion when a merchant only participates randomly.
The new Priority Pass Offers program opens a new set of opportunities airport operators and merchants to interact with millions of members worldwide with the main goal to improve customer retail experience at airports worldwide.
About Larry Leung and Experience The Skies
Larry Leung is the Director of Research and Strategy at Experience The Skies. He is a certified avgeek, a public speaker and a dessert and design enthusiast. Contact him through LinkedIn, Twitter or email.
Experience The Skies is a consulting company based in Toronto, Canada that specializes in the travel industry with focus on the assessment, competitive analysis and development of customer facing technologies, retail, loyalty programs, marketing, ancillary revenue solutions. Find out how Experience The Skies can assist in evaluating the entire customer journey from booking to the travel experience by contacting [email protected] or follow other posts on Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, and Instagram.