The Toronto Pearson Airport: A Qualitative Market Research Study for holiday travelers

Qualitative Market Research Study at Toronto Airport: A Holiday Hero

In Blog, Market Research by admin

Can a qualitative market research study help you make your holidays less-stressful? The short answer: yes! This time of year, we can all agree that holiday airport travel is borderline painful. From buying the tickets, making taxi arrangements, coordinating takeoff, layover, and landing times, and collecting baggage, some might even argue it’s a nightmare. Yet, there is such a high demand this time of year for people to travel by air to get to their destinations during the holidays. In this case study, we will be diving into the importance of qualitative market research when it comes to overcoming stressful airport travel. And we are taking notes from the voted and proclaimed “Best Large Airport in North America” in 2021 (Ideo). 

How a Qualitative Market Research Study Put Passengers First

The Toronto Pearson Airport, as reported by The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), was one of the trailblazers in using qualitative market research data study to get a better picture of the value airline customers place on their airport experience and how to improve upon those experiences. In their case study article Transforming the Airport Experience by Putting Passengers First, The Airport Market Research Company surveyed customers and the Canada Services Border Industry to identify any inefficiencies or inconveniences that could be improved upon in the Toronto Pearson Airport. In this execution of a successful qualitative market research study, they were able to compile valuable and insightful feedback from their valued consumers and visitors. By doing this, these airports were able to get feedback from a large demographic of users: experienced travelers, those who just started traveling, and those who are still learning about traveling.

The Importance of a Qualitative Market Research Study: Because Being Heard Matters

Qualitative market research done for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority “represents a radical shift for the aviation industry, showing you can and must listen to the passengers—the people you’re serving”(Ideo). In the midst of traveling frustration, can you imagine being able to give feedback to contribute to the betterment of airport travel? Qualitative market research looks past surface-level metrics and provides the kind of empowerment that makes consumers feel valued and breeds loyalty. Qualitative market research is also a crucial, but an underutilized, tool in this industry because it allows feedback from the exact users who are most passionate about the accessibility and ease of their experience within the airport. It can seem intimidating to engage with the travelers, but with a controlled collection of qualitative feedback, the Toronto Pearson Airport was able to receive valuable feedback from a majority of the 40 million passengers they serve each year. (Airports Council International.) 

The Process of Conducting Market Research:

Many companies have started conducting cost-effective market research using indicators or indicators to capture customer sentiment. The Toronto Pearson Airport identified early that airports are an excellent candidate for studying customer sentiment because their requirements are different from other industries. For example, when you book a flight on your airline, you hear a myriad of feedback on your service experience: “too noisy,” “friendly,” “crowded,” “too complicated or unclear,” etc. This feedback is used by airlines to optimize this part of their experience, and hence, prevent disasters. During one part of the session, participants share an artifact that represents their relationship to travel. The second part of the session was with employees and challenged them to ponder how they can take steps as shareholders to “take risks and think outside the box to improve the traveler experience.” After the initial sessions, Toronto Pearson has become the only global benchmarking survey that assesses passenger satisfaction at the airport on their day of travel to engage in efforts to become the best airport in the world. And they’re already reaping the benefits of it.

The Case Study of Canada’s Airport:

The purpose of this case study was to learn more about the way airports are being run, and to understand what makes them tick in order to improve their operations. The reason The Greater Toronto Airports Authority, began conducting this qualitative marketing strategy was to help the Toronto Pearson Airport become a world-class hub that can achieve traveler satisfaction and ensure safety in times of crisis and calm. The question was, what makes them tick? What went wrong? What worked well? And most importantly, how you could apply these principles when running your own airport.

An airport is a collection of people who have different preferences for their travel experience, such as how much time it takes them to get from point A to point B, what amenities they enjoy, which food and beverages they find attractive, how much money they spend on airfare, and other travel costs. Beyond getting the information needed to know how travelers felt about the airport’s offerings, they were able to expand their customer base by creating great experiences for users and will be more successful in attracting new customers. 

The “Best Large Airport in North America” has shown us the extreme value of collecting qualitative market research insight and demonstrated undeniable proof that improving satisfaction (in even one of the most stressful environments) is possible. No matter your industry, reach out to our bidding team to see how qualitative market research can benefit your company in a way that helps you implement positive change. Have a safe, happy, and a more-than-satisfactory Holiday Traveling experience!

Reference: “Transforming the Airport Experience by Putting Passengers First” IDEO, 2021.