The next era of airport lounges, ET TravelWorld News, ET TravelWorld

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<p>Picture used for representational purposes only.</p>
Picture used for representational purposes only.

Conventionally, airport lounges primarily served as waiting areas for transit passengers. Now, envision an airport lounge that not only foresees your every requirement but also offers a customised experience that effortlessly combines relaxation, productivity, and entertainment. This represents the concept of the “smart lounge,” the future generation of airport lounges that harness technology, artistic design, and inventive thinking to redefine how we experience our time in transit.

The future airport lounge combines technology and artistic ingenuity, transforming the conventional lounge from a uniform space into a dynamically tailored environment. The seating layout is customised to cater to a wide range of customer preferences, providing personalised seating arrangements. Efficient space management ensures that every square foot is maximised for optimal utility, for example whether accommodating a family group with infant & kids or meeting the distinct seating requirements of a working professional.

Modern airport lounges are tapping into the power of digitalisation to provide travellers with an immersive and personalised journey. Applications like ‘Priority Pass’ enable passengers to access lounges seamlessly, allowing for paperless check-ins. These digital advancements, combined with automated check-ins and AI-driven concierge services, contribute to a frictionless experience. Enhanced security measures are seamlessly integrated with technology, including biometric authentication for efficient access control. This not only ensures the safety of passengers but also significantly reduces waiting times.

DreamFolks strengthens global presence; partners with Russian lounge operator Grey Wall

As a result of this partnership, DreamFolks proprietary tech platform will be able to enable seamless access to around 100 lounges located in key airports and railway stations throughout Russia, ensuring a frictionless experience for travellers availing lounge access. And, Grey Wall, in turn, will be able to capitalise on DreamFolks’ vast network of Clients, a strategic avenue to increase footfall at their lounges.

With the help of data analytics and AI, lounges curate a customised experience for each guest. Imagine a lounge that knows your preferences, from your choice of reading material to your preferred meal. This level of personalisation fosters loyalty among travellers, ensuring they choose your airport for future flights.Let’s explore some aspects of a Smart Lounge:
A Smart Lounge offers an exceptional experience to its guests through various innovative features:

Blazing-Fast Connectivity: Smart Lounges provide passengers with rapid and seamless internet access via 5G networks, catering to both work-related tasks and entertainment. This ensures that travellers can stay connected and productive during their time in the lounge.

Collaborative Workspaces: Co-working spaces are thoughtfully set up to serve as a platform for enhanced productivity and collaboration. These areas are specifically designed to cater to the needs of business travellers, enabling them to efficiently carry out their work in a professional and comfortable environment.

Personalised Culinary Journey: Guests at Smart Lounges embark on a culinary adventure tailored to their individual tastes. Using a dedicated app, passengers can conveniently order their preferred meals, ensuring a delightful and customised dining experience.

Tailored Entertainment: Smart Lounges provide Personalised entertainment options to suit different traveller demographics. Modern technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are used to provide guests of the lounge with immersive and interesting entertainment alternatives.

AI-driven solutions, sustainability revolutionising travel industry: Amadeus

AI and ML aren’t just concepts but are actively addressing crucial challenges, said Amadeus Lab’s Associate Vice President, Global Technology & Cloud, Ranaj Biswas while elaborating on the role of Amadeus as the key travel technology solutions provider in a presentation during the 2nd edition of ET Travel & Tourism Conclave & Awards. Technology and sustainability are redefining the very essence of travel in 2024, he said.

Wayfinding Assistance: Augmented Reality (AR) is utilised to assist travellers with wayfinding within the lounge itself, ensuring that they can navigate the space with ease and never feel lost.

Wellness and Relaxation Zones: These lounges feature wellness and relaxation zones equipped with the latest technology to provide a rejuvenating experience. These areas offer travellers the opportunity to unwind and recharge, enhancing the overall enjoyment of their journey.

Commitment to Sustainability: Smart lounges are committed to sustainability on all fronts. They place a high value on waste minimisation, efficient energy use, and environmentally friendly design. These lounges show a dedication to environmental responsibility by being in the forefront of eco-consciousness.

Innovative Retail Partnerships: Smart lounges go above and beyond traditional offerings. They leverage their unique spaces to form partnerships with brands, creating innovative retail areas that offer exclusive products and immersive experiences to enhance the overall traveler experience.

Technology plays a crucial role in the operations of smart lounges. Predictive analytics can forecast traffic surges and the need for additional staff, food, and beverage supplies. The use of smart sensors and cameras transforms airport lounges into highly efficient, customer-centric spaces. It facilitates real-time reporting on lounge occupancy, data visualisation, and reporting, allowing managers to make informed decisions.

Indian travellers 2nd among APAC's most assured; Booking.com region head shares trends, platform's growth strategy

Indians tend to have shorter booking windows, said Santosh Kumar, Country Head (Indian Sub-Continent & Indonesia), Booking.com, adding that for domestic travel, it is somewhere around 27-28 days, and for international travel, the window is three times higher than the other. He also spoke at length about the platform’s emphasis on alternate accommodations, a segment constituting 33 per cent of their global room nights.

The future of airport lounges is even more promising. Installation of interactive LED wall systems and directional carpets will simplify navigation to gates and other airport amenities. Passengers will walk guided by their smartphones, synced with these LED directional carpets, ensuring they reach their destination effortlessly. Interactive walls will activate by touch, turning into screens that offer information or entertainment. The extensive use of robotics will further elevate the efficiency and experience in these lounges.

The future of airport lounges promises to be a remarkable travel experience, where every aspect is catered to ensure passenger comfort and satisfaction. As technology advances and customer expectations evolve you should therefore prepared to be amazed by the potential of transformational technology the next time you enter an airport lounge. Your airport lounge is now a comfortable living environment created particularly for you, not merely a place to wait.

The author is Director – Software Engineering, Sabre Corporation Bengaluru

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and ETTravelWorld.com does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETTravelWorld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.

  • Published On Dec 11, 2023 at 04:36 PM IST

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