How can airports address the future impact from mobility-as-a-service options, such as ride-hailing, on parking revenue?
Marco Mejia: Ride sharing initially caught everybody off guard, and airports saw taxi revenue and parking drop. However, as these services have matured, two things have happened—most airports now derive a fee from the ride-share transactions, at least making up for the loss in taxi revenue; and as the percentage of people parking cars dropped with the shift to ride sharing, overall travel grew. So, from 2015 to 2019, though parking revenue decreased, the number of travellers grew substantially. Most airports saw their garage occupancy recover because of this uptick. Parking demand remains strong in the United States and Canada, and many airports are now considering parking management systems to optimize associated revenue.
John van Woensel: The emergence of sophisticated parking management systems has allowed airports to get a handle on the different types of parking preferences people have and understand how different pricing can be applied to optimize parking revenues—while increasing options and the level of service to passengers.
Marco Mejia: With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles, airports should examine how to incorporate sufficient electric vehicle charging stations as part of a wider electrification strategy, which would include assessing the airport’s ability to handle this type of amenity.
The presence of ride sharing has put added pressure on airports, as parking still is the most important non-aeronautical revenue source for an airport; for that reason airports need to protect it, attracting the traveller to look for a combination of services inside the airport such as “park and eat.” In that way, airports will encourage passengers to have both services at a more affordable price, which will generate both a better passenger experience and more airport revenue by maximizing the use of the facilities
What are the ways that data and predictive analytics can help airports strengthen non-aeronautical revenue streams?
John van Woensel: More than ever before, more and more data can be gleaned from passengers and at a lower cost to airport operators. Technologies range from intelligent cameras to Bluetooth [anonymized] tracking. More efficient processes such as self-checking baggage can reduce space needs. So far, though, while various technologies have become more common since the 1980s, terminal building area per passenger in the U.S. has not shrunk, like you would expect; in fact, terminal areas have increased somewhat, most likely due to increased concession space. However, from an infrastructure perspective, new technologies still offer the potential to reduce the space for certain terminal processes, providing the operator with more flexibility in allocating space in the terminal for revenue-generating purposes.
Tracy Beach: Going forward, airports will need have a better understanding of passenger spending choices and patterns to target the best returns on investment for non-aeronautical revenue maximization. Apps used for pre-ordering food for delivery at the gate and pre-selecting a parking space can be a gateway to obtain this data from passengers and customers. Something like adding a simple question related to travel purpose to the app—concerning business or leisure—can allow airports to understand the behavior of these two market segments better and what options appeal to each segment. The data can provide opportunities for repeat purchases, thereby improving the customer experience and creating revenue-generating opportunities for airports.
1 Retail concessions include food and beverage as well as news and gifts.
2 Airports Council International (ACI), Advisory Bulletin, March 25, 2021
3 ACI, April 22, 2020; ICAO, Economic Development, Guidance on Economic and Financial Measures, p. 7