Lana Krestinina: «VIP service is profitable for airports»

45th Moscow International Conference «Airport Facilities Development» and «Airport Technologies and Equipment» exhibition took place on May 27-29, 2014 in Novotel Sheremetyevo.

The conference was held under the auspices of the Federal Agency for Air Transport, the Federal Transportation Inspection Service of Russia, Ukrainian Airport Association and the Association of Transport Passenger Service Providers. Participants included representatives of the embassies of France and Russia.

VIP customer service is one of the most important aspects of airport service. Lana Krestinina, director of VIP service department of ABT-ACTE Russia presented her report on this topic.

According to Ms Krestinina, the current situation in the field of airport VIP service is the following: «Results of the poll conducted in the lounge of Domodedovo airport have shown that only 5% of passengers are aware of VIP service in the airports, another 10% have a rough idea of it and the vast majority of passengers have never heard and do not know anything about airport VIP service that is, in fact, an ideal solution for those who know the value of time and prefer travelling with comfort».

At present not all Russian airports have VIP lounges or provide passenger VIP service. Ms Krestinina believes, that airports that do not have VIP lounges should think about building them, as VIP lounges are the source of quite large revenues: «Every airport should calculate its passenger traffic, the number of flight per day, study its target audience in order to understand how large or small the VIP lounge should be and what its price policy will be like.

When you divide customers into economy and premium classes, you have an opportunity to gain additional revenues not only by increasing the passenger traffic, but also due to extra services that premium segment customers are ready to order.

If it is a large city where celebrities often appear, it is desirable to work out a certain range of extra services, for example, photo and video services in the VIP lounge for the press, or a meeting room. In this case everything depends on a certain city and there is no single key to success for everyone. Even if construction of a VIP lounge is impossible due to architectural reasons, airports can offer other VIP services, for example, fast-track airport procedures in the company of an airport representative (Fast Track), or completing airport procedures in the public queue in the company of an airport representative (Meet & Assist)».

Ms Krestinina notes, that an airport, like any enterprise that provides services, should pay attention to the premium segment as well, but unfortunately, misunderstanding of the demand and the needs of this market leads to the absence of high quality services for VIP customers: «We receive several thousand orders for VIP lounges per month, so we know that this service is in great demand with travellers, but unfortunately we can not persuade airport management that if they do not have VIP lounges or business rooms and if they do not provide such services as Meet&Assist or Fast Track, they lose revenue. Because a foreigner who is going to the Far East is ready to pay several thousand roubles only to be met and accompanied to the taxi, because for him is it a less stressful way of travelling across Russia» Ms Kristinina says.

The expert also raised the problems of the existing VIP lounges. They include an outdated system of VIP service orders, the absence of an online booking system, the problem of ordering services at night, problems with receiving order confirmation, difficulties with concluding agreements and many other.

Ms Kristinina supposes the solution to the current situation is the following: «It is extremely important to use new IT-technologies, create comfortable zones for VIP customers, make investment into development and increase of the range of VIP services, promote these services in the market, it is also necessary to train airport staff to work with the premium segment.

At the moment ABT-ACTE Russia and VERY VIP project offer both customers and airports their global solution in the field of airport VIP service — it is online booking of VIP services in the airports all over the world. On the one hand, we take the initiative of promoting VIP services in the VIP customer market not only in Russia, but also internationally, and we have wide opportunities to do that — partners, mass media support and international experience. On the other hand, we would be glad to help all Russian airports develop VIP services using our potential, the facilities of the Russian Association of Business Travel, our online booking system, our 8 years` experience in the sales of VIP services and our round the clock support of highly qualified experts» Ms Krestinina notes.