According to their travel habits and nationalities, air travellers can be divided into different groups, whose needs and expectations differ significantly. Most travellers expect airports to provide efficient services and offer positive experiences.
A travel survey conducted by Finavia, the operator of Helsinki Airport, in six countries sheds new light on the habits and attitudes of air travellers.
The study found that air travellers can be roughly divided into four groups. At Helsinki Airport, four basic groups could be identified; the largest groups being “fast and efficient flyers” (38%) and “enjoyment seekers” (30%), followed by “habitual travellers” (18%) and “safety seekers” (13%).
Airports play an important role in the travel decisions made by experienced travellers and frequent flyers: of the fast and efficient flyers two out of three choose their flight connections based on the transit airport. Up to 40% of habitual travellers do the same. Transit airports are especially important to the British, with 43% paying attention to transit airports while planning their journey.
Finavia regularly conducts surveys to better understand passengers’ needs and to collect valuable data for service development at Helsinki Airport. The traveller survey launched last summer mapped the goals and attitudes of 3,000 people in six countries: Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
The travellers surveyed were asked about the characteristics they liked most and least about airports, with the findings showing variations among nationalities. For example Japanese were found to favour easily accessible airports while disliking boring ones. In contrast, the British dislike big and busy hubs, favouring small airports with good shopping.
In addition to examining national differences, the study investigated a range of travellers’ rituals and habits from their purchasing and dining habits, to travel routines and superstitious practices. For instance, one in eight travellers shared that they always take a lucky charm when flying. Nine per cent of all passenger types admitted to having a ritual food, drink or a ritual tax-free purchase they make on each trip, while up to 25% of the fast and efficient fliers said the same.
Currently, nearly half of the passengers departing from Helsinki Airport are non-Finns. In 2012 and 2013, growth in passengers numbers is expected to come from China and Japan in particular. The research also found that one in three travellers chooses their flight connections at least partly based on the transit airport. This is of particular interest to Finavia as the company is focusing on developing Helsinki Airport to be a smooth and desirable hub and strengthening its position as the leading transit airport in Northern Europe.
“By regularly conducting surveys and studying passengers’ attitudes and habits we are able to collect valuable data which guides us in our service development,” explains Ville Haapasaari, Airport Director of Helsinki Airport.
“It is essential that we understand the needs of travellers so that we can better develop our airports and the services they offer and cater to new and growing passenger groups.”
The findings of Helsinki Airport’s study are summarised in Smooth Travelling, a publication by Helsinki Airport which explores the airport experience from different people’s points of view. It features Q&As on the topic of travel with prominent personalities includingKoji Yakusho (Babel & Memoirs of a Geisha) and Vanessa Friedman (fashion editor of the Financial Times) as well as personal, behind-the-scenes stories from Helsinki Airport’s staff.
Smooth Travelling can be downloaded at helsinkiairport.fi/smoothtravelling
The research findings cited in this report are based on online panel surveys of over 3,000 people. The research was carried out by Cint in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom in May 2012.
The numerical passenger data is based is based on Helsinki Airport passenger surveys conducted in 2012 by statistics Finland.
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