Google Indoor Mapping of Airports

Google has been squirreling away, mapping out the indoors of malls, train stations, and even… airports.

Airport mapping

Yes it’s true, Google not only wants to be the be-all-end-all of outdoor wayfinding, but indoor as well. Which actually could turn in to an extremely lucrative source of revenue for the company.

That’s because when someone is looking for indoor map services they:

  1. Have already shown intent. Are looking for something (most likely shopping oriented).
  2. Are in the frame of mind to carry through the transaction if the right location is presented.
  3. Are receptive to other ideas of relevance.

These are the same premises that tripchi bases our airport content recommendation services on. If you serve up the right content at the right time, you can stimulate transaction, converting mobile traffic into foot traffic.

Therefore Google Indoor is extremely interesting to us, the same way it is interesting (and perhaps threatening) to location-based targeting/advertising.

Let’s take a look at Google’s indoor airport mapping inventory to date.

US

  • Akron-Canton Airport (CAK)
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)
  • Boise International Airport (BOI)
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • General Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
  • George Bush Houston International Airport (IAH)
  • Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  • Indianapolis International Airport (IND)
  • Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
  • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  • William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)

International

  • Adelaide Airport (Australia)
  • Sydney Airport (Australia)
  • Melbourne Airport (Australia)
  • Brussels Airport (BRU) (Belgium)
  • Copenhagen Airport (CPH) (Denmark)
  • Paris – Charles de Gaulle (France)
  • Lyon – Saint Exupéry (France)
  • Paris- Orly (France)
  • Cologne (Germany)
  • Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Munich (Germany)
  • Hong Kong International Airport (Hong Kong)
  • Orio al Serio International Airport (Italy)
  • Marco Polo International Airport (Italy)
  • Chubu Centrair International Airport (Japan)
  • Haneda Airport, Domestic Terminal (Japan)
  • Haneda Airport, International Terminal (Japan)
  • Izumo Airport (Japan)
  • Kagoshima Airport (Japan)
  • Kansai International Airport (Japan)
  • Narita International Airport (Japan)
  • New Chitose Airport (Japan)
  • Osaka International Airport (Japan)
  • Eindhoven Airport (The Netherlands)
  • Pulkovo (Saint Petersburg, Russia)
  • Alicante (Spain)
  • Barcelona (Spain)
  • Bilbao (Spain)
  • El Hierro (Spain)
  • Fuerteventura (Spain)
  • Gran Canaria (Spain)
  • Girona (Spain)
  • Ibiza (Spain)
  • Jerez (Spain)
  • La Palma (Spain)
  • Lanzarote (Spain)
  • Madrid / Barajas (Spain)
  • Málaga Airport (Spain)
  • Menorca (Spain)
  • Murcia (Spain)
  • Palma de Mallorca (Spain)
  • Pamplona (Spain)
  • Santander (Spain)
  • Santiago (Spain)
  • Sevilla (Spain)
  • Tenerife Norte (Spain)
  • Tenerife Sur (Spain)
  • Valencia (Spain)
  • Geneva Airport (Switzerland)
  • John Lennon Airport Liverpool (UK)
  • London City Airport (UK)
  • London Stansted Airport (UK)
  • London Luton Airport (UK)
  • Manchester (UK)
  • Edinburgh (UK)
  • Glasgow (UK)
  • Birmingham (UK)

Some airports, like London Gatwick, even have formed a partnership with Google to powers wayfinding in discrete mobile apps using Google Indoor Streetview.

Gatwick Airport Google Indoor

This leads to what Simplilyfing (and tripchi) calls “experiential marketing” – and airports and airlines alike are jumping on board. Besides Gatwick, Emirates Airline has also made a preview available of their first class experience on their A380. Now you can feel like you’re in the first-class cabin before even booking your flight – providing you with even more information in your buying decision.

But is all proliferation on the airport side a wise decision? We think not. Imagine if every airport had its own airport app? How many apps would we have to download, and remember that we had, to enjoy our airport experiences? If you’re like me, you’re not just traveling one route your entire life. Your home airport may change, and your destination airport certainly changes. What we’re seeing today is a highly fragmented market when it comes to airport mobile solutions, which are developed in stovepipes, and are therefore reliant on a huge marketing budget to remind customers to use the app.

Secondly, an airport’s core competency is not app development (whether it’s web or mobile) – it’s delivering safe and efficient air travel to a traveler. It’s true that many airports are beginning to focus more on the customer experience, and that the quality of the interaction with the customer and content that is offered, while still providing safe and efficient air travel, is growing in importance. This is a good thing. But an airport should never stray too far from the core mission of safety and efficiency, because these are the foundation that everything else (customer experience) can be built upon. My recommendation to airports is to partner with vendors (like tripchi) that specialize in delivering mobile customer experiences and can optimize traveler interaction with the airport and airport brands to create additional revenue streams, and make this content available under an umbrella app framework in order to capitalize on brand awareness and engagement.

If an airport is dead-set on controlling their own offering and brand, and not buying in to the “umbrella app” schema that we favor, we still recommend partnering with a vendor like tripchi to deliver this solution. We have an airport white-label product which an airport can customize with its own branding, messages, and content, and still take advantage of the framework for customer interaction and usability that we have established. In other words, why reinvent the wheel?

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Chandra is passionate about travel and technology….

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