Airport Lounge Development Is All About Customer Experience, Customer Service

Airport Lounge Development (ALD) lounges were recognized for the fourth consecutive year for the Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards.

Two of ALD’s 17 shared-use lounges, The Club BWI at Baltimore-Washington International Airport and The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport, were recognized for exceptional service and exemplary business facilities.

The Club BWI, which opened in May 2017 and is one of ALD’s newest lounges, was recognized for “Best Attitude & Service.” In addition to delivering an excellent hospitality experience, The Club BWI provides sweeping views of the airfield as well as complimentary items and services such as a buffet with an antipasto deli bar; a premium selection of alcohol, wine and beer; and use of business facilities including a computer and printer.

Loyalty360 talked to Nancy Knipp, SVP of Airport Lounge Development (ALD), about the company’s prowess surrounding customer service and customer experience.

Customer service is such a pivotal piece of the customer loyalty puzzle when we talk to brands on a daily basis. When it’s not right or up to par, customers look elsewhere. How does ALD not only prioritize customer service/exemplary business facilities, but also execute against it to produce a seamless customer experience? 

Knipp: At ALD, we are a leader in independent shared-use lounges offering an affordable hospitality experience for travelers on any airline and traveling any class of service, so we see customer service as a top priority. Our leadership team bring extensive experience within business-critical industries such as hospitality, restaurant food & beverage and in-depth traveler marketing research. This experience and expertise has guided the development of ALD’s Brand Standards and Service Values which underpin all aspects of our operation and are used to produce an exemplary customer experience. Our network of 17 shared-use lounge Clubs are committed to improving travelers’ experiences through superior customer service and lounge quality and provide an area for a variety of travelers to enjoy.

Can you talk about ALD’s Brand Standards and Service Values?

Knipp: ALD’s Brand Standards and Service Values include leaving a lasting impression on guests, providing exemplary service, genuine hospitality, and maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness. In addition, we offer guests an affordable, comfortable environment that will allow them to be productive, relax, or simply spend time with family, friends, and colleagues, before, during, and after their journey.

We instill our Brand Standards and Service Values into every member of The Club lounge teams through extensive training and daily interaction with the lounge team. ALD’s Brand Standards cover the attributes that differentiate an exceptional hospitality experience from the normal travel routine and our Service Values provide our lounge team a blueprint for genuine service delivery.  

ALD’s Brand Standards and Service Value are an expression of our commitment to our airport partners, our airline clients and to all of our guests. We also continually measure performance and success through a variety of operational reviews and customer engagement surveys.

We are proud to say that our Brand Standards and Service values have contributed to ALD’s Clubs being recognized for ‘Best Attitude and Service’ for the past four years in the Priority Pass Lounge of the Year Awards. This year, The Club BWI at Baltimore-Washington International Airport was recognized for “Best Attitude & Service” and The Club MCO at Orlando International Airport was recognized for “Best Business Facilities.”

What does this kind of recognition mean to ALD?

Knipp: We take great pride in being recognized for our customer service delivery and our lounge business facility because it validates that our focus on delivering an exceptional hospitality experience is being noticed by travelers who frequent lounges around the world.

How does ALD leverage customer feedback to, ultimately, enhance the overall customer service and experience?

Knipp: Using customer feedback allows us to develop ‘situational training’ that addresses real time challenges. We incorporate specific comments and feedback from our customers into our lounge design. 

For example, our customers have expressed the desire for a private area within the lounges to make phone calls, skype, or facetime with family and friends. At The Club MCO, the winner of the Best Business Facility, we added a ‘Privacy Zone’ which offers private work rooms near the ‘Productivity Zone’ that our guests use for calls and private communication. To accommodate the diverse needs of our guests, our Club design incorporates specific zones offering varied seating and services. Examples of our zones include a Replenish Zone with complimentary food and beverage, a Productivity Zone offering a convenient place to conduct business and stay ‘connected’, a Kids Zone for our youngest guests and a Refresh Zone offering restrooms and spa showers.

What is the key to providing exemplary customer service?

Knipp: ALD has implemented a series of quality reviews to ensure our Brand Standards and Service Values are executed and maintained. These reviews also allow us to proactively identify service and maintenance issues before the guest experience is impacted. If we can take care of issues behind the scenes, then guests will be able to have a seamless and enjoyable experience in our lounges and during their travel journeys. 

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