With travel demand and bookings recovering from the pandemic, airlines and travel platforms are looking for ways to boost incremental revenue. One such method is through the sale of airport mobility – the transportation that gets travelers to and from the airport – though consumers aren’t always aware of the options.
According to CarTrawler’s Airport Mobility Opportunity report, which surveyed 11,500 travelers in partnership with Dynata, the global airport mobility market is worth $60 to $70 billion, with “broader airport transfer”– including private transfer, ride-hailing, taxi and shuttle services – comparable to car rental at $19 to $23 billion.
Historically, when it comes to airport mobility, the travel industry has focused largely on car rental. However, there are seven times as many at-airport broader airport transfer bookings as there are at-airport car rental bookings, opening up space for online travel agencies, airlines, hotels and travel management companies to capture travelers’ final mile.
According to CarTrawler, on-airport car rental global booking volumes in 2021 were estimated at between 65 and 80 million, while global broader airport transfer bookings were from 460 to 555 million.
Consumers are open to booking airport mobility from their flight or travel vendor, with 51% saying they would consider booking their airport transfer with an airline and 60% saying they would consider booking their airport transfer with an online travel agency.
That said, consumers are often unaware of these options. And travel providers don’t always have broader airport mobility selections available: Of the top 100 airlines, only 44% offer mobility options outside of car rental, while only 50% of OTAs offer broader airport transfer.
The study finds that 30% of consumers have not considered their flight vendor for mobility because they were unaware of the option, or the option wasn’t available. A further 20% say flight vendors are not even top-of-mind when considering mobility booking.
When selecting a mode of transport to and from the airport, 44% of consumers say cost is their most important criteria, followed by reliability (35%) and convenience (34%). Additionally, 23% say guaranteed pick-up times and free wait time would make them consider a specific mobility option in the future.
“There is clear, pent up demand among travelers to stick with their airline or travel agency for their entire airport journey, not just the flight itself,” says CarTrawler chief commercial officer Aileen McCormack.
“Travel companies that want to surpass the competition should pay attention to the evolving needs of travelers, and actively address gaps in both offerings and awareness - creating a more seamless travel experience while maximizing ancillary revenue.”