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Sep 14, 2017

Industry insights,

Heathrow has the answer

It’s fair to say that once you have children, going on the annual holiday takes on a brand new (and sometimes challenging) experience. Whilst the old you would have been perusing the fragrance counter and getting a few last minute essential items, the new you is trying to navigate a trolley piled high with suitcases, and trying to prevent one child from doing kamikaze manoeuvres whilst dealing with a temper tantrum from child two, (because she can’t go on the conveyer belt for oversized luggage with her stroller). Either way you look at it, the boat of ‘easy stress-free air travel’ has well and truly sailed. But it would seem like I’m not alone.

This summer Heathrow has clearly addressed the issue of ‘How can we take the pain out of travelling with kids?’ Their solution; An Augmented Reality App that, through the download of an app to their smartphones, provides children with an activity to find five hidden badges throughout the airport. The game was themed with Mr Men and Little Miss characters, and when scanned the badges characters come to life. The badges are only visible through the lens of a smartphone and once the app is installed. Once all five badges are found, you are then able to retrieve collectable iron-on badges as a souvenir.

Although the main focus for the game was to provide children with an activity and distraction while they wait for their flights, the airport has also mentioned that the data they have been able to gather has provided a valuable insight to which areas and terminals generate higher volumes of footfall and passing traffic. This information will be used to help deliver a better customer experience at the airport.  

What’s inspiring here is how Heathrow have been able to use the digital world and specifically AR to help address a scenario, that more often than not, businesses would consider out of their control. i.e. the behaviour of a child. 

This particular app was only rolled out in Heathrow, although with regional airports so heavily targetted on seasonal footfall, I’m sure you will see similar initiatives, at an airport near you in the coming months.