Madrid: The world’s leading airport VIP lounge access provider, Priority Pass, has released findings from its latest member survey in Spain, revealing that half of respondents agreed that the recession has had an impact on their travel habits.
The key finding is that 55% and 52% have reduced the number of flights they take a year for business and leisure respectively, with 26% claiming to have downgraded the class of flights they take.
A sign of optimism?
While 10% of those surveyed expected to take fewer flights for business in 2012 than in 2011, more than twice that (21%) expected to take more flights in 2012, with a further 69% expecting things to remain about the same.
Conversely, holidaymakers had a different outlook with 24% anticipating that they will take fewer flights for leisure in 2012. Sixty-seven percent expected to take about the same, and just 10% thought they would take more.
Priorities: An on-time departure versus plenty of shopping
With the majority of Priority Pass members being frequent flyers who spend a significant amount of time at the airport, it is perhaps unsurprising that an on-time departure was rated the most important (with 82% rating it 9 or 10 on a scale of 1- 10 whereby 10 is the most important), when it comes to identifying the features that make a good airport. Speed through security (80%) and speed through check-in (71%) followed closely, suggesting that time is indeed of the essence and a priority for most travellers. A wide variety of shops and a wide variety of restaurants were considered the least important, with 13% and 14% rating it 9 or 10 out of 10 respectively.
When asked how their home airport was performing, the findings suggest that the Spanish airports included are performing well in a number of areas, but not necessarily in those that are most important to this group of travellers. Cleanliness (43%), access to an airport lounge (38%) and good, clear signs and announcements (35%) were the areas that scored most highly on a scale of 1 - 10.
Time well spent
Whether travelling for business or leisure, the time spent at an airport from check in to departure can be significant. So how do people spend this time? Perhaps unsurprisingly amongst this group of Priority Pass members, 83% of respondents said they usually (37%) or always (46%) spend time in an airport lounge. Working on a laptop (78%), spending time reading (73%) and eating a snack (70%) are the next most popular uses of time while at the airport.
Only 15% usually or always eat a full meal, while just 16% have an alcoholic drink. In fact, 40% of respondents claim they never have an alcoholic drink at the airport.
The demand for Duty Free
Despite the ever ready presence of Duty Free shops in airports, amongst this group, only 27% of respondents always or usually spend their time Duty Free shopping (55% sometimes spend time in Duty Free). Twenty three percent always or usually spend time shopping generally.
With 67% of respondents spending from 1€ to 49€ at the airport (22% claim to spend over 50€), items bought are primarily food, snacks, refreshments (55% always or usually spend money on these) and press and books (54%). Duty Free usually or always receives custom from almost a third of respondents (28%).
Supporting the lack of importance our respondents placed on the availability of shops at the airport, 25% claimed never to spend money in Duty Free and 47% never spend money on fashion while at the airport.
The value of an airport lounge
The fact that 11% of respondents claim to spend nothing while at the airport is perhaps unsurprising given that they have access to airport lounges which provide complimentary refreshments. In fact, 56% of respondents say that the primary purpose for visiting an airport lounge is for the complimentary food and refreshments.
Priority Pass whisks travellers away from the chaos of departure halls so that they might relax or work in peace before their flight – to relax is usually the primary purpose of visiting an airport lounge for 87% of respondents.