Ahead of the 80th anniversary of its first commercial flight, Toronto Pearson International Airport (IATA airport code: YYZ) unveiled a new website design that focused on graphics, better searching capacities, passenger journey experience and community. Experience The Skies takes a first look.
Toronto Pearson International Airport
An airport’s website is the connection between the governing authority and airlines, vendors and passengers. As Canada’s busiest,Toronto Pearson International Airport (“Toronto Pearson”) is on track to carry a record of more than 50 million passengers in 2019. This makes its online presence all the more important.
In its press release, the airport highlighted the following five key changes which we will showcase in this quick look:
- a new search feature that allows the individual, regardless of the section of the website they are on, to search the entire site for their inquiry, making finding information easier and faster
- a Departures guide that provides a customized experience for each passenger. Travellers can input their flight number and the website will populate information regarding services available, security screening location, food and beverage, and retail options available to them before and after security
- an Arrivals guide provides passengers with instructions on Canadian Customs, retrieving luggage, and options to get them to where they’re going from the airport
- a redesigned Connections guide provides step-by-step directions for a passenger’s entire connection journey, giving information on baggage claim, security screening and customs process for a clear idea of what to expect
- the Community hub focuses on how Toronto Pearson engages with the community, our environmental initiatives, Propeller Project and our community events.
A big rotating colorful picture dominates the top half of the main screen with a menu bar featuring the airport’s name and logo to the left, menu items “Departures, Arrivals, Connections, While you’re here, Transportation, Accessibility” to the center and search to the right.
After the main picture, there is a secondary menu with information for parking, airport express train, bus and security. This menu defaults to parking where passengers and guests can find out current capacity and reserve. Additional description to each parking lot can be found by pressing the “parking” button.
The front page continues with a search area for flight information, which is followed by separate Departure, Arrivals and Connections buttons leading to individual page. It finishes with a longer section dedicated to shops and services the airport has to offer.
First Thoughts of the Main Page
On first glance, the revamped website has a modern feel with lots of colorful pictures focusing on restaurants and shops as well as real time parking, transit and security information for passengers and guests. Adding a universal search button on the main page is a much appreciated upgrade to the overall experience. The website is also fully translated into French.
Loading time seems to have increased from the previous version owing to bigger and bolder pictures. Based on the space reserved for information (lower than 50% of the main page’s full real estate), there may be a perception that information is given a lower priority over selling goods and services. With the exception of flight search (which has its own bigger search area), individuals seeking other information will need more time as it will require at least one or more actions (e.g. pressing a button or a link).
Travelling can be a stressful exercise. Providing airport operational status and alerts could ease anxieties for passengers and their guests. This and weather alerts should be shown and be given higher screen priority as Toronto is known to have weather related disruptions throughout the year.
It would be convenient if transactions (e.g. buying food through Uber Eats, parking reservation, requesting special services) can be performed within the main page, when possible. While the website has the same look and feel on different formats (desktop, tablet and phone), people who are accessing it through their mobile devices should be given dynamic access to apps and payment options (such as Apple Pay) which improves usability. Including a chatbot or a dynamic hotline would be useful for those in search for answers not providing by the website. While this features is primarily a communication tool, it also serves to provide ease of mind and tells people that the airport is available to serve.
In the next post, we will take a more in-depth look into the website including a review of the much touted features for departing, arriving and connecting passengers. We will also explore ways on how Toronto Pearson can use this domain to showcase itself as a destination worth spending more dwell time with the goal to improve customer experience and non-aeronautical revenue.