SOURCE: Ted Rogers School of Management

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November 24, 2015 11:50 ET

European, Latin American Airports Most Mobile-Friendly for Passengers

Travelers Able to Find Flight, Baggage Information and Directions Using Multiple Mobile Devices More Easily in European, Latin American Airports Than Other Continents

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - November 24, 2015) - Looking for accurate flight updates or where to claim your luggage quickly and efficiently? Travelers flying into airports in Latin America or Europe will have better luck finding information almost instantly whether they're surfing their tablet or smartphone, finds a new report released by Ted Rogers School of Management.

If you're landing in Africa, Australia or parts of Asia, you may have a harder time finding critical airport, flight or bag collection updates on your mobile devices quickly, says Chris Gibbs, lead author of the Top 100 Airport Global Mobile Readiness Index report and an assistant professor at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The report was funded by Miles, a leading marketing agency in the global travel and tourism industry.

"In this digitally connected age, almost everyone travels with at least one mobile device and nearly 20 per cent carry three digital devices. Therefore, it is critically important for airports to use a responsive web design to provide the latest information to passengers rapidly. This type of design allows people to seamlessly access flight, baggage or other details when using their smartphone and tablet simultaneously."

The report examined digital platforms of the top 100 airports (by passenger volume) worldwide over a 12-month period from November 2014 to November 2015. It is part of a multi-part series looking at the Mobile Readiness of Airports and the critical features and content sought by travelers using mobile devices.

Gibbs found that 34 per cent of all the airports reviewed had a responsive website that worked across multiple devices for passengers. Slightly over one third (35%) rely solely on traditional, non-mobile-friendly websites and the remaining third have mobile sites to provide customers with passenger details.

Airports in Latin America (60%) surpassed other continents in offering mobile-friendly passenger information. Less than half of airports in Europe (43%) were mobile friendly and over one third of North American airports (35%) were mobile ready.

Gibbs also found that the airport industry as a whole appears to be lagging behind compared to other travel-related sectors when it comes to adopting mobile-friendly technology. For example, readiness index reports show that nearly 40 per cent of boutique hotels and 54 per cent of destination marketing organizations have embraced responsive website designs to enhance their customers' online experience.

Mobile solutions are also particularly important, says Gibbs, to grow ancillary sources of revenue for airports such as providing shopping, parking and dining options through a responsive web design.

"If airports are going to continue to shift from their traditional roots of being transportation infrastructure providers to being consumer-focused lifestyle and service experiences, a greater focus on mobile readiness will be critical to success," notes Gibbs.

Based on the report's findings, Gibbs provides the following recommendations to the airport industry to enhance the traveler experience:

  • Airports should prioritize, invest and collaborate (where appropriate) on digital projects related to the adoption and use of mobile-friendly passenger technology
  • Develop or enhance a responsive website that can work seamlessly across all device types (smartphones of all types, tablet, desktop) and operating systems (Windows Mobile, Apple and Google Android)
  • Focus on developing web-based "push" solutions for passenger services such as real-time, personalized flight updates and baggage collection information

"Top 100 Airport Global Mobile Readiness Index" is available at

A full outline of the features and content sought by air travelers, and a summary of "best in class" current airport mobile solutions, will be outlined a follow-up "Mobile Readiness" report from Ryerson University and Miles in 2016.

Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is Canada's leading entrepreneurial-focused business school shaping the country's next generation of global leaders. Home to six schools of management, two Ryerson MBA programs, a Masters of Science in Management program and 15 cutting-edge research centres, institutes & labs, the faculty's focus on academic rigor, combined with real-world experience, provides students with experiential learning and critical thinking skills needed to solve challenges facing today's global economy.

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