Note Book Q&A – Stephan Uhrenbacher

Airport Focus International talks to Stephan Uhrenbacher, CEO of global airport app developer FLIO, about how airports can harness their digital information to reach more international passengers

 What has gone well?
Since launch we have received tremendous support from the industry, with Retailers and F&B Operators like Heinemann, TRG, HMS Host, Marche and SSP, all utilising FLIO as a marketing channel to drive customer conversion and footfall. We have also received great endorsements from several major travel retail brands, with them using FLIO to complement their existing in-airport campaigns: L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, Mondelez and Pernod Ricard have all run campaigns in the past 3 months to great effect.

What have you learned?
Working together with airports has proven key to our success. We had to develop different blueprints for partnerships which work for both small airports who need a low cost solution for their information needs to the larger airports/groups who currently struggle to reach the ‘international passenger’ and who want to profit from an incremental digital revenue stream from a growing pool of global passengers.

This work over the past year has yielded spectacular results: We are now official partner for 8 European airports, ranging from Bremen or Vilnius, to larger airports like Cologne, Amsterdam and Athens.  We are set to expand our partner network across Europe in the coming months, with several announcements on the horizon.”

What do airports get out of this?
We have two models when working with airports.  A model for airports that have over 20M passengers per annum, a complementary channel to their own existing apps and for smaller, regional airports, with under 20M passengers per annum, FLIO is a low cost solution to digitalise their entire airport experience:
For example, in Bremen (3M passengers) – passengers can book parking direct, get instant access to lounge and fast track, and food & beverage operators use the platform to get passengers into store with FLIO reaching the right customer at the right time, with the right offer – driving average transaction values and overall turnover as a result.

What is your vision for digital media going forward?
We live this vision today with Amsterdam: Amsterdam has their own successful application, but most of its users are local, living in the Netherlands.

FLIO provides the global strategy for Amsterdam Schiphol and Schiphol actively advertises FLIO to their passengers, helping FLIO’s global user base grow and in return Schiphol are rewarded with an equal share of revenue, generated by the FLIO domestic and international user.

How can an airport “own the customer communication” if they use FLIO?
Airports can efficiently interact with passengers via FLIO through bespoke push messaging and the personalised airport feed.  FLIO collates user data, including previous purchasing habits that our airport partners can harness in order to target passengers more accurately, with the right content at the right time.

What do you think of new technologies like Snap, WeChat or chatbots?:
At the moment many people are experimenting with new channels, without really mastering existing communication channels to service passengers more efficiently – like simply communicating waiting times properly.

The problems with most new bot type channels, whether that is a product in Facebook messenger or Amazon Alexa: The consumer does not know what to ask for… We therefore believe that in a complex environment like an airport, future channels will need to exhibit different options to passengers.

FLIO in essence is a gigantic data warehouse that can be utilised in many different ways: today it is an app, but we are also able to push our content and deals into a Facebook or WeChat messenger app if a passenger wants to access that content. Particularly WeChat offer triggers, like accessing an airport and then offering something special to the customer.

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