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PASSENGER SERVICES Last modified on November 22, 2016

Everybody counts

ACI World’s head of Airport Service Quality (ASQ), Dimitri Coll, discusses the publication of a new guide designed to help airports better understand passenger profiles and motivations.

We have launched an innovative new guide called ACI passenger personas: A new approach to passenger profiling which is designed to support airports in developing a deeper understanding of the needs of travellers, an important factor in raising non-aeronautical revenues.

Airports tend to focus a lot on passenger demographics or the type of travel in order to understand what types of travellers they are serving. This is important, of course, but is just a small part of the picture. 

We must, for example, also look at what a passenger does in an airport, what they want or need and whether these wants or needs may change depending on circumstance. A ‘passenger persona’ approach gives us all this information.

A persona is a way of modelling, summarising and communicating research undertaken on airport passengers. Through building a persona, researchers are able to better empathise with that type of passenger and gain insight into their mindset as they move through the airport. 

Personas consist of a visual representation of a fictitious traveller combined with a collection of key personality traits that belong to that particular type of traveller.

ACI has developed six passenger personas based on 2015 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) passenger data gathered from over 550,000 travellers and 300 airports worldwide. 

The six passenger personas represent key traveller profiles and allow airports to strategically create different customer experiences to meet the needs of each group. 

In addition to the above benefits of using passenger personas, they also allow for new benchmarking opportunities whereby service quality can be judged by how well airports are catering to each of the six personas. 

Moreover, passenger personas provide reliable data on core traveller types in a dynamic industry, allowing airports to more effectively meet their customers’ needs.

So who are the passenger personas? We have broken them down to six – the workman; friendly vacationer; value seeker; sun lounge tourist; the time keeper; and the airport enthusiast.

The workman 

The workman is an experienced and demanding passenger with specific needs and high expectations.

The friendly vacationer

The friendly vacationer is organised, looks for efficiency in airport processes and places importance on traditional customer service.

This passenger persona has clear core needs and is highly responsive to airports that get it right with consistently clear wayfinding and a friendly staff.

The value seeker

Although the value seeker does not fly frequently, this persona is confident in their expectations of the airport experience. The value seeker is highly demanding, not easily satisfied and has clear expectations of both the efficiency of processes and the quality of the retail and food and beverage experience. This persona is the highest spender but expects value for money.

The sun lounge tourist

Although the sun lounge tourist is not a seasoned airport traveller, they are an experienced consumer eager to enjoy an entertaining experience at the airport.

The time keeper

The timekeeper is not a frequent flyer but is confident in using airports. This persona has clear and specific priorities and is likely to be satisfied by the airport experience if their needs are met.

The airport enthusiast

The airport enthusiast has a very positive attitude to airports and wants to enjoy the experience. This persona understands the airport passenger process and, while keen to gain discretionary time in the lounge, is accommodating to occasional delays.

ACI passenger personas: A new approach to passenger profiling is free to all ASQ members.

In addition, ASQ also offers members the option of having a tailored version of this guide to fit the specific needs of their respective airport. For more information, please email .

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