MAG USA, the U.S. subsidiary of U.K.-based Manchester Airports Group that was launched in 2015, has made inroads in the U.S. market through its Escape Lounge concept. The company opened its fourth U.S. Escape Lounge in December at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO).
MAG USA CEO Rosemarie Andolino says lounges are only the beginning. She spoke with ARN’s Andrew Tellijohn about the company’s latest developments and why she feels MAG USA can enhance the airport market in the United States in myriad ways.
Tellijohn: How did the lounge at Reno turn out and has the Escape Lounge concept evolved since you first opened in the United States?
Andolino: It is a gorgeous lounge. It’s one of our smaller lounges, but beautiful. Reno has proven the fact that there is demand for these services in the smaller markets. Marily [Mora, president and CEO at RNO,] and her team have been outstanding. They are really connected well with the community. The business community in Reno has been extremely welcoming and supportive of our lounge. We opened Dec. 18 and business is booming.
Tellijohn: What’s next for MAG USA?
Andolino: We will shortly be announcing our first parking product going live at an airport near you. We’ve been running parking in the U.K. for over 10 years, where we’ve really perfected dynamic pricing and yield management. Our whole revenue management system within our parking product [allows for] diversifying the product mix as well as the pricing and the offering, making parking – especially for the long-term customer – affordable. It competes with the off-airport guys, and also with the [Transportation Network Companies] like Uber and Lyft, and pulls that market share back on airports.
Airports today, especially in the U.S. market, are losing a lot of their market share. Our revenue management system, our dynamic pricing and our distribution efforts help bring that customer on airport. It creates products that are affordable, especially to the longer-stay customer that would otherwise choose other ways to get to the airport.
Tellijohn: Overseas you’ve also been involved in overall airport ownership and management. Are you hoping to do that in the United States?
Andolino: We’re watching what is happening in the U.S. [public-private partnership] market. There is talk about Kansas City and St. Louis. They are seeing hybrids of what is happening in terminals in New York. We’re watching and evaluating what is to come. We’ll look at every opportunity to see if it works for us and would benefit from the strengths we have developed in the U.K. and through our own experience in the U.S.
One other thing we are doing in the U.K. – that I think is paramount to the future of airports – is really focusing on digital and the customer experience. How do those two things continue to support a better experience for the customer in the future? We have a group that is called MAG-O, or MAG Online, that has been pulled away from the day-to-day operations of the airports [in the U.K.]. That releases them from the constraints that surround typical airport operations, so they are able to think freely and problem solve and focus on providing an enhanced experience for our customers in our U.K airports. So how do we better serve them in terms of retail, food and beverage, online services, booking, parking? It’s a continuous evolution of best practices as well as trying to foresee what’s coming next, what will the customer want, how can we help guide that journey of what they are going to expect a year from now. This think tank is able to test, modify and move more nimbly and can adjust and pivot quickly based on testing. It’s really exciting what they are doing in the U.K., which will be the test bed for us [before] bringing it into U.S. airports.