INTERNATIONAL. A strong correlation between employee and customer engagement has been detailed in Swiss research agency m1nd-set’s latest research.

The research focuses on employee engagement and the impact on customer engagement, satisfaction and spend levels, and is based on the agency’s Business 1ntelligence Service (B1S) analytics tool.

The three most important aspects for a good airport dining experience are fast service, healthy options and local flavours, according to the research

According to m1nd-set, the report shows that airport shops or restaurants with engaged employees have over 60% more satisfied customers and a higher spend rate among customers, underlining the importance of interaction between staff and customers.

“Engaged customers can generate up to 25% higher spend than customers who do not feel engaged,” m1nd-set commented. “In the duty free shops in particular travellers are far more likely to make a purchase when they interact with the store staff.”

M1nd-set highlighted the significance of employee engagement programmes as a means to drive growth in customer penetration and sales revenues.

Store visitors who are approached by staff are 9% more likely to convert into buyers while store visitors who approach the staff themselves are 32% more likely to convert into buyers, the report found.

The F&B research looks at the differences between various customer profiles

The new report features airport food & beverage outlets for the first time, with the aim of determining travellers’ perception of airport bars, coffee shops and restaurants across airports globally. The findings of this F&B research were first presented at The Moodie Davitt Report’s FAB Conference in Dallas last month.

Convenience and price are among the key drivers in choosing where to eat in airports, according to m1nd-set’s analysis. Fast service, healthy options and local flavours are the top three most important aspects for travellers’ airport dining experience. Discovering new dishes and flavours, the provision of children’s menus and known international brands are also among the main priorities for international travellers surveyed by m1nd-set.

The report also details which aspects of airport F&B travellers say they are satisfied and dissatisfied with, as well as the key reasons for visiting airport restaurants and coffee shops.

Commenting on the new report, m1nd-set Travel Retail Research Director Clara Susset said: “The research findings reveal the importance of employee engagement as a means to engage customers.

“The F&B customer experience is, as with the airport retail customer experience, inextricably linked to staff interaction and the experience with store or restaurant employees. The qualitative research we conducted around this theme demonstrates the impact of successful employee and customer engagement both on satisfaction levels and sales.

“It is essential to create and curate a unique culture to ensure customers enter, purchase, enjoy, share, praise and remain loyal,” said m1nd-set Travel Retail Research Director Clara Susset

“We also see higher levels of engagement on social media and viral marketing benefits where airport retail and F&B customers have had a positive experience.”

Susset noted that consumers are now more engaged than ever before and “want to participate in influencing how other consumers behave”. She said: “In a world where there is so much choice for consumers, whether in a high street, shopping mall, food court or airport, it is essential for consumer-facing businesses to create and curate their unique culture to ensure customers enter, purchase, enjoy, share, praise and remain loyal.”

m1nd-set said it was launching a quarterly newsletter on traveller behaviour at airport F&B outlets, with more information to be announced soon.