Business travel can be dreary and time-consuming and airlines, airports and other institutions are increasingly seeing the value of investing in better airport lounges to help make this experience more enjoyable, which attracts repeat business and enhances profitability.
Airline lounges have been around for a while, offering a place of respite, some light refreshment and internet access away from the hustle and bustle of the terminals, but opportunities are afoot to make these lounges destinations in their own right —think fully-stocked bars, spa services, gourmet meals, private TSA and immigration, and being chauffeur driven across the airfield to your flight.
We are also seeing a different design approach, with what were previously rather mundane spaces, now being approached by designers in the same way that a high-end residential or hotel concept would be. They are gearing towards creating more unique and personal atmospheres, with design elements that are not generally seen in commercial projects.
As travellers prefer a sense of the location they are in, consideration is increasingly being given to the design of lounges, to embody local flavours, rather than being identical around the world. As an example, last year’s winner of the Priority Pass Annual Lounge Awards was Club Kingston at Jamaica’s Kingston Norman Manley International Airport, which includes artwork and décor sourced from across the island, as well as traditional Jamaican food and drink.
Lounge buffets are also getting makeovers, with more stations manned by chefs and an increase in grab-and-go selections, or fine cuisine from a made-to-order menu. For those travellers with more time on their hands, options for distinctive dining are also on the increase.
When it comes to technology, airports have fast become some of the most technologically advanced buildings in the world, with biometric enabled self-service check-in facilities and apps that help navigate airport processes. Airport lounges are moving into the digital field too with the likes of Etihad, Emirates and Aviapartner introducing VR entertainment technology. More than a form of entertainment, these airlines anticipate that this type of technology will enable more personalised end-to-end solutions and an enhanced user-experience.
The introduction of premium lounges is not limited to airlines; and we are seeing a wave of independent lounge programmes being launched all over the world.
rpa:group has extensive experience in terms of designing and project managing various types of Airport experiences. From First and Business class lounges to Retail, Restaurants, Airline check-in and Security combs and more, we are the ideal partner for your next airport lounge project. If you would like to know more, or need our help, please get in touch.