New data from Airport Dimensions shows the increasing importance of the lounge as a new epicentre of airport commerce


Airport Dimensions’ new Airport Experience Research has revealed that 57% of frequent travellers surveyed visit the lounge at some point in their travels. As demand to visit lounges continues to grow, so too does the demand for enhanced retail experiences while enjoying these spaces and travellers are willing to pay for access to them. A quarter of travellers visit due to the class of their flights, nearly a fifth (19%) access these spaces as part of loyalty programmes such as Priority Pass, and the same number (19%) via their memberships with elite airlines. A very similar number (18%) will pay directly for lounge entry.

Travellers are increasingly utilizing these spaces for enjoyment as part of their journeys for leisure purposes rather than for business. More than half (56%) use lounge spaces in order to access traditional, business facilities, however more than three-quarters (78%) access these spaces for food and 68% gain access in order to make use of leisure amenities.

The research also revealed the desire from travellers for access to digital services when at the lounge. Coming out as the top digital priority for travellers was access to flight information, with 83% citing this as their top concern. 80% said the ability to order food and beverage online was a priority while 72% wanted to be able to book lounge amenities digitally. These practical services understandably sit as top priorities for travellers but interestingly, almost two-thirds (65%) said access to online shopping while at the lounge was important. This comes in stark contrast to the just 12% who felt access to online shopping in the lounge was not important to them.

Travellers are also willing to pay more for an enhanced journey with over a third (68%) saying they would be happy to pay for premium food and beverage options. More than half (56%) also said they would be keen to splash out and pay for grooming, personal care and spa services to further augment their airport experiences.

Travellers also welcome the chance to engage with brands while in the lounge. 70% say that themed and sponsored brand areas in the lounge area of interest and almost three-quarters (73%) would be open to purchasing products displayed as a result. Four-fifths of travellers (80%) want the opportunity to sample F&B products and 73% said they would be open to sampling perfume and cosmetics brands.

Stephen Hay, Global Strategy Director of Airport Dimensions, said; “The line between the lounge and traditional airport commerce is blurring. While airports in the past have seen lounges as somewhat of a black hole for retail spending, it is now clear that they have the potential to become solid drivers of revenue.

Whilst these new revenue opportunities are important, we should not forget that the primary function of the airport lounge is to provide an amazing and increasingly customised experience for each guest.”

The Airport Dimensions Changing Airport Experience survey was conducted in partnership with leading market research agency Dynata. The research draws from the experiences of more than 8,500 air travellers covering a wide and representative cross-section of demographics.