Collaboration, premises, processes, products
By Piet Demunter, Director Strategic Development, Brussels Airport Company; and Pedro Casimiro, Manager of Ground Product and Ground Processes, Brussels Airlines
Collaboration. Premises. Processes. Products. These are the key aspects that determine the success of creating a great sense of place for travelers.
Creating a sense of place is very much about collaboration, as you can’t do it on your own, which is why Brussels Airlines and Brussels Airport have been working closely together.
Previously at Brussels Airport, to travel through the Schengen zone, you’d need to leave check-in, exit the departure hall, go through a tunnel and then through security again and back into the departure hall.
With the view of improving the premises, we’ve added a connector which links the departure hall with the Schengen Pier.
An example of premises improvement is the addition of automated border control at the airport, enabling those with European passports to clear themselves through immigration.
Looking ahead, Brussels Airport and Brussels Airlines are in the process of running trials for automated boarding. These trials will be done in the Schengen zone, with the look to extend this to non-Schengen flights.
This will greatly impact the traveler experience in a positive way, allowing travelers to be in control of a new aspect of their journey.
In addition to this investment, passenger comfort is important, of course.
We have a program addressing passenger comfort, ranging from improving lounges used by high-end, business or frequent travelers, to the seating available in the departure hall for both travelers quickly passing through or those with longer stopovers.
The aim is to cater for all and not just for a select few.
In addition, Brussels Airlines are continuously developing and improving their products to match the needs of their travelers. As part of this process, they’ve recently developed specific products to meet their traveler needs and pockets.
This has allowed the airline to reach a wider range of passengers from those looking for the cheapest cost to those looking for a little more comfort. In a way, they’ve created a type of tailored product for their travelers.
The human factor
There will come a time when for travelers the norm will be to have complete control of their journey process.
But there’s one factor that technology can never replace – the human factor. Brussels Airport’s premises aim to put passengers at ease.
We’ve looked into the processes which are very much technology-driven, so that passengers can take control and we can speed up things.
Despite all the technological improvements, there will always be the human touch point that can never be replaced. It’s the ability to see a friendly, helpful face instead of an electronic screen that makes all the difference.
People want to be helped and they like to find someone who can help them. One of the important elements for Brussels Airport has been to have more airport crew on the floor as well.
All in all, creating a great sense of place for travelers entails taking a number of factors into consideration and ensuring that what’s done is applicable to the passengers experiencing it.