Restaurateurs and retailers in airports are riding the wave of technological advances that help ensure a convenient and stress-free experience for travelers. In return, operators are able to more efficiently serve customers and airports are better prepared for emerging demographics as their impact on air travel expands. A recent report from SITA noted that millennials and Gen Z will account for more than two-thirds of the users of airports. These are groups who are already used to integrating technology into their everyday lives.
Self-ordering kiosks and order-ahead apps such as those by Grab, food delivery services such as At Your Gate and Airport Sherpa, and automated food and retail experiences courtesy of Zoom Systems and Briggo Coffee are just the tip of the technological iceberg. This isn’t even counting contactless payment options, which will inevitably become more prevalent in our space.
But what is the impact of technology from a psychological and sociological standpoint? There is a decrease in human interaction, which results in the lessening (or evolution?) of customer service. What of labor? The impact on labor is certainly a concern, as new technologies and efficiencies tend to displace groups of people. What about the environment? Perhaps airports become less stressful, perhaps not.
In episode 56 of the Airport Experience News Podcast, AXN’s Ramon Lo interviews Dr. Samantha Gray, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Indianapolis. Gray, who has taught technology and psychology courses, speaks with Lo about the various impacts of technology on the traveling public.