- Tourism Market Research
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New York City’s Tourism Chief Fred Dixon recently praised London by saying that its airports do a better job of welcoming visitors than the Big Apple. But London’s visitors are unenthused by the welcome at the city’s airports, LJ Research reveals.
In the past 24 months, LJ Research has surveyed nearly 14,000 visitors to London who arrived by plane. Visitors were asked to rate aspects of the airports they arrived at using a ten-point rating scale with 1 being “very poor” and 10 being “very good”. The average scores visitors attributed to aspects of London’s airports are shown in the table below.
The study reveals that visitors are broadly satisfied but underwhelmed with airport services in the UK capital: the average satisfaction scores commonly fell below 8 out of 10 – an average score which generally indicates that the experience has matched or exceeded the expectation of the visitor. London City Airport was the only airport to achieve scores in the 8.0 category whilst its rivals were often rated well below this threshold. Interestingly, scores were lowest at each airport in terms of the perception of welcome with Stansted identified as having the most ground to make up being rated at 6.64 out of 10 – which was the lowest score for any airport evaluated in the research.
The London Visitor Opinion Survey operated by LJ Research also revealed that London’s airports are regularly failing in satisfying visitors’ expectations at immigration and customs controls although London City Airport was rated fairly positively at 8.12. Meanwhile, again, the experience at Stansted compared unfavourably to competing airports in the city.
Unsurprisingly, London City Airport received the highest average score for transport connections into the city whilst Luton Airport was considered the most inaccessible of the airports evaluated.
On a positive note, visitors’ overall satisfaction levels increased continuously albeit slowly over the period with slight improvements being recorded in perceptions of welcome and transport connections.
Sean Morgan, Managing Director at LJ Research said: “London is keen to attract leisure and business tourism from around the world and is in fact very successful doing so. However, a destination’s airports are hugely important for setting the tone of the overall visitor experience. The latest scores indicate that London visitors are underwhelmed by the city’s airports and that more efforts should be put into improving customer service for visitors.”
“Notably, visitors from Asia and Africa were most likely to state that the welcome they received was very poor. These are visitors from emerging markets that London and the UK as a whole are keen to attract more of.”
“The research has highlighted a need for London airports to implement steps to improve customer service and the perception of ‘welcome’ which is an especially important consideration at this time as London considers its airport expansion options.”
Note to Editors
LJ Research advises clients in tourism and destination marketing based on their findings undertaking independent visitor and audience surveys. LJ Research operates the London Opinion Visitor Survey which canvasses opinion from some 13,000 London visitors each year.