Airports in China are focusing their IT investments on improving the passenger experience and introducing new self-service options including bag-tag printing, self-boarding and self-bagdrop. This increased attention to the customer experience has also seen the airports embrace new media with 100% of them investing in passenger services via social media and mobiles by 2017.
This is according to the SITA/ACI Airport IT Trends Survey which was announced today. The research results represent the views of the top 20 airports in China which serve more than 60% of all Chinese airline passengers.
May Zhou, Vice President, SITA China said: "The extensive airport expansion and passenger growth, currently being experienced in China, are major challenges. Airports however are stepping up to these challenges and investing in IT to improve the passenger experience. There is now a real focus to improve the customer experience. We see airports investing in passenger services, and 100% of them are investing in social media and mobile services to provide an efficient and personalized journey."
The survey shows that the massive growth in passenger numbers in China - up 9.7% in 2013 to 745 million - is leading to further investments in self-service to help improve performance and speed of passenger handling throughout the airports. More than half (53%) of airports consider passenger processing as the most important priority for IT investment. In total, 65% of airports in China are investing in major self-service programs and a further 29% are running pilots.
Investments in common-use self-service kiosks continue, with 35% planning to use them for check-in, while 35% plan to install them for other uses. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of China's airports are implementing bag-tag printing. Another area of significant development is self-boarding, which 35% of airports have implemented, up from 8% in 2013.
Behind the airports' investment into new media is a strong desire to develop more personalized customer service through direct interaction, and China's airports are succeeding here. More than half (53%) rate their social media investments as performing well, or above expectations, for customer loyalty. In particular, airports are using mobile and social media to communicate with passengers in times of disruption. By the end of 2017, 94% of airports in China will have implemented real-time notification via social media and mobile.
Some 85% of Chinese airports surveyed said their total IT expenditures would either increase or stay the same in 2014. Much of this spend will be on infrastructure to support airport development in anticipation of future passenger growth. More than half (54%) are investing in IT for airport terminal expansions, 50% for new terminals and 44% for refurbishments.
* Further details on the survey are available here and customizable views of data from all of SITA's industry surveys can be accessed on the IT Trends Hub.