Airports Beef Up Loyalty Programs In The Age Of Uber, Lyft


Airports are introducing some impressive travel rewards to entice travelers to park in their lots and garages instead of using ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft.

According to CNBC, since parking is a key source of revenue for airports, many are launching or developing an airport loyalty program that includes free parking after customers use an airport lot for a certain number of days. In addition, some airports are also allowing drivers to reserve a spot close to terminals, as well as offer half-off sales and even free coffee for loyal travelers.

John Ackerman, who heads global strategy and development at Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport, is trying to make that airport’s lots more attractive to travelers after parking’s share of its revenue fell to 32.4 percent of its overall income from 34 percent a year earlier.

So in April, the airport started allowing travelers to reserve a specific parking spot online, as well as pay ahead through the website or airport’s app. It also introduced a pricing model that rises and falls with demand.

“Just like an airline seat or hotel room [that goes unsold], it’s perishable,” said Ackerman, adding that DFW might also introduce perks like a free Starbucks coffee for those who park at the airport often.

Miami International Airport is considering a similar loyalty program it aims to launch by the end of this year, a spokesman said.

However, there are airports who are conceding to the power of the ride-hailing platforms. Pittsburgh International Airport, for example, is starting an around $1 billion renovation of its facilities, which originally included around 5,000 new parking garage spots, in addition to the 2,000 spaces it already has. But executives later decided to reduce that to around 3,500, said Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which runs the airport.

“We’re scaling back,” she said in an interview.



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