In the age of smart airports, real-time information, personalized services and self-service are key to better, faster and cheaper services. Over the years, airport digital signage has become part of an airline’s digital grid—the technological nervous system that ensures every customer touchpoint provides the best passenger experience. When implemented correctly, digital signage airports use can help improve user experience, provide efficient messaging and can be configured to function as a full turn-key solution to support airport operations. Four Winds Interactive (FWI) has compiled some best practices and tips from our various airport digital signage projects. Use this as a guide to jumpstart your strategy toward building smart, digital signage airports that maximize value for your travelers.
Digital signage in airports can improve the passenger experience
When McCarran International Airport sought out digital signage displays, their main focus was to provide an interactive platform for passengers to get the information they need. “We really wanted something that was interactive—that would allow the customer to go to the information that they needed very easily,” said Samuel Ingalls, Assistant Director of Aviation Information Systems. One of the ways airports can do this is through providing wayfinding, flight updates and quick access to airport facility and infotainment via digital signage displays.
Flight schedules, boarding gate and baggage information
The first thing passengers want to see after they check-in is their flight schedule. Digital signage for airports can be utilized as an effective flight information display system (FIDs), pulling real-time data from mainframe systems that display if a flight will depart as scheduled or is delayed. Putting FIDs at arrival and departure halls and at check-in counters can provide valuable information to passengers, informing and guiding them about flight schedules and departure areas. FIDs are also very effective in managing client expectations, especially in the event of a delay.
With digital signage, airports can also leverage gate information display systems (GIDs). GIDs are very effective in easing the boarding process by providing critical information that passengers need before the flight. GIDs are also perfect tools to promote passenger self-service, as it pushes out information that’s frequently asked at the gates. Questions relating to boarding zones, departure times, passenger upgrade lists and flight numbers can be displayed and rotated as needed.
After disembarkation, people would most likely want to get ahold of their baggage quickly. Digital signage functioning as a baggage information display system (BIDs) can be used to show luggage belt assignments, again helping to promote self-service among passengers. BIDs can also inform baggage handlers and tug drivers of luggage drop-off and pick-up points, helping them identify and route bags quickly to arriving and departing aircraft.
Guide passengers every step of the way with wayfinding
Digital signage airports use can also function as an effective wayfinding solution. Interactive wayfinding stations provide maps of the airport’s interior and exterior floors and show passengers how to get to where they need to go. The rich touchscreen panels allow easy map navigation by providing familiar gestures and features that will allow easy routing. For instance, FWI’s wayfinding solution can send specific turn-by-turn instructions to passengers’ mobile phones through a web link that can be sent via SMS or email. In this manner, one doesn’t have to stress about remembering instructions or making a wrong turn. Implementing wayfinding solutions can also streamline operations by reducing how often passengers ask for information from airport staff, allowing them to focus more on core operations.
Digital signage in airports can ease frustrations
Of course, nothing is more frustrating to a passenger than a delayed or canceled flight. Digital signage in airports can push real-time updates on arrivals, departures, flight status, flight numbers and more. This helps manage passenger expectations since everyone will be informed in advance of the situation affecting their travel plans. News, weather updates, social media feeds and branded videos can also be streamed through the digital signage airports use to entertain passengers while they’re waiting for their flight or distract them in the event of a delay. It is known that signage can significantly reduce perceived wait time, so implementing digital signage in waiting areas is key.
Not everybody knows airport protocol
Airport digital signage is also an effective tool to remind passengers of airport protocol and provide clear instructions in the event of an emergency. Videos, images or clear, bold instructions can be pushed to HD screens to provide information about the check-in process, mandatory security checks, baggage policies and other airport protocols. The customization capabilities of digital signage make it the perfect tool for disaster preparedness, security and passenger safety. In the event of an emergency, airport digital signage can broadcast disaster updates, including passenger evacuation plans, instructions on how to get to safe zones and even first aid tips.
Passenger stories are invaluable
In addition to emergency displays and wayfinding solutions, digital signage displays can also be included in an airport’s digital marketing strategy. They can show branding and advertising materials, and can even increase sales in the food court by highlighting sales and special menu items. Airport digital signage can tell stories of how facilities and resources can help travelers of varying needs get to their destination in the most efficient and stress-free manner. Different passenger personas who have enjoyed their travel experience can be highlighted via interviews and testimonials—something that’s invaluable in a day and age where airport protocols are heavily scrutinized.
Digital signage in airports goes beyond wayfinding, emergency communications and branded displays. It can also play a major role in operational efficiency through effective queue management, and can even keep employees engaged by pushing internal announcements such as organizational events, milestones, employee benefits and even recognition of top performers. Digital signage in airports is truly diverse. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and technical expertise.
Fortunately, Four Winds Interactive has that covered—our scalable, state-of-the-art Visual Communications platform can support multiple languages and can handle your ever-changing content demands. Find out what Four Winds Interactive can do for you today.