Blackjack Promotions, which specialises in airport staffing, travel retail and experiential marketing, has seen massive growth in demand for market research services during 2017, as clients focus on understanding how passengers use airports and their feelings about the service they receive.
In recent months, Blackjack has been awarded new contracts or had existing contracts extended with a number of airports, including Stansted, London Luton Airport and Dubai – the world’s busiest international passenger airport.
Fiona Tindall, Head of Domestic Retail at Blackjack Promotions, says: “Airports can be incredibly challenging locations to carry out face-to-face research. Travellers can be tired, distracted and stressed, while there may be restrictions on how and where staff can deliver marketing activities and what they can say to people, particularly when you’re working air-side, beyond the security barriers.”
Blackjack has a large database of experienced brand ambassadors who are security cleared to work ‘airside’, in the areas beyond the security gates and passport control.
Tindall adds: “It’s vital that brand ambassadors working within the airport environment understand how travellers think and how to approach them in a way that reduces stress levels, rather than adding to them. Staff need much higher levels of diplomacy and general customer service skills than they would need, say, in a traditional retail environment, public space or festival or event.”
At Stansted, Blackjack staff worked over the summer (the airport’s busiest period), monitoring the quality of user experience, including queue lengths, passenger traffic flow, congestion points and other issues relevant to the journey through the terminal. This is the second year running Blackjack has delivered face-to-face research services at Stansted.
At Luton, Blackjack was appointed in 2016 to provide field agents to support an airport quality survey programme. London Luton Airport (LLA) constantly monitors all aspects of the passenger experience and was also keen to understand how passengers feel about its redevelopment programme, launched in 2016. That contract has now been extended for three years.
At Dubai, Blackjack was appointed to deliver research services during 2016 to understand more about the passenger experience and how they could improve passenger satisfaction. The data delivered by this initial programme was so useful that Dubai has extended it to run until May 2018, and has also added a ‘mystery shopping’ function.
For Dubai, Blackjack had to source multilingual research staff to cover 32 passenger interaction points across four terminals, 365 days a year. Staff have to have airside access. They input questionnaire responses onto tablets and upload the data in real time for Dubai Airports to access.
Blackjack Promotions is a leading staffing solutions, travel retail and experiential specialist. A subsidiary of US company ABM Industries, a global provider of facilities management services, Blackjack is based at Heathrow, where it employs approximately 1,000 staff, in addition to its database of 8,000+ field staff. Blackjack is a member of the IPM agency.