Alex Hunter, Former Global Head of Digital, Virgin Group, lifts the lid on himself and the importance of the customer. Read our exclusive interview with Alex to find out what he said when he was in the hot seat recently.Airports have gone a long way from being a confined "box" to facilitate a series of processes to get people from point A to B, but how can they progress on to a full experience that is complementary to the customers' travelling journey?
What is the main challenge for airlines and airports today?
I see the main challenge for airlines and airports is consistency. You make a promise to the travelling public, you need to keep it in mind whether it’s at security, at the check-in desk, throughout the passenger journey. The environment is very different in each airport so this can be tricky. We need to reconstruct the experience. As an airline, our experience is much more than the inside of the airport.
We need to create an experience for our customers. We may rely on a product or service too much or expect services to be popular. There are so many other things to think for that loyalty to exist. As a customer, you have to feel something towards the brand and we’re not always good at that. The question is what is going to get me coming back? How does a product or service fit into your life?
It's important to create a good customer experience. What does this look like in reality?
There needs to be an understanding of the relationship between the customer and brand. We need to make sure that people are interacting with the customer. They need to understand the relationship, how it can change the dynamic and how you can realise what they’re passionate about. You need to optimise and invest in the relationship above the transaction. That is how I define a great customer experience.
I went to Japan recently to film my travel show. It was the first time we experienced real Japan. Every journey and meal were unforgettable, I won’t forget that time in a hurry!
You are a part of the team that founded Virgin America – how was it?
We wanted the US market to have something different. Curating the whole experience was worth it. Flying in the US was finally good.
Thinking forward to GAD World in Hamburg next month - any comments?
I love travel, I can’t live without it. I definitely prefer flying to taking the train. I’m curious and am always looking for new experiences. I’m looking forward to sharing more stories at GAD World and discussing how airports can realise the power of the connected customer.