The Value Of Sleep

We’re More Exhausted Than Ever - How Can Airports Help?

As we become more conscious of our physical and mental well-being, Errol McGlothan, President of Airport Dimensions for EMEA & APAC, explores the increasing value of sleep options at the airport.

Sleep is an essential part of everyone’s life - each individual spends on average a third of their lives asleep. It is essential to maintaining positive mental and physical health and helps to restore the damage caused by the stresses we all experience in our everyday lives. However, according to Mental Health UK 1 in 5 people aren’t getting enough sleep with an average of 5.91 hours sleep a night vs the 8 hours that medical professionals recommend.

This trend is even more prevalent in airports due to the disruption travelling can cause to sleep cycles. At the best of times it can render us a little grumpy or overly sensitive, but at its worst it can have more serious health implications. Indeed, for regular travellers who frequently find themselves on long-haul journeys with layovers, facilities which allow them to maintain consistent sleeping habits can be vital, allowing them to recharge and refresh. Moreover, airports facilitating the transit of long-haul passengers whilst failing to provide sleep services such as suites or pods could be leaving revenue growth options on the table.

Airport Dimensions’ latest round of annual research, entitled ‘AX24: The Age of the Airport Experience’, surveyed 9,000 global passengers across 16 different countries about their attitudes to all aspects of the airport experience. Our findings show that 9% of passengers are now actively looking to purchase access to sleep suites and pods. At Airport Dimensions, our ambitions reflect the findings of our research as we aim to pioneer airport lounge sleeping concepts to drive greater passenger satisfaction and experiences around the world.

The growing importance of sleep propositions and how airports can respond

Proper rest and rejuvenation is paramount for every traveller, regardless of their motive for travel. Business travellers need to arrive at their destination with brain and body optimised in order to perform at their best. When travelling for leisure or to visit family and friends, travellers want to arrive energised and ready to explore their destination or enjoy the company of loved ones.

Our AX24 research tells us that there is a desire from global travellers for access to sleep suites or pods to enhance their journey - and they are willing to pay for it. This is particularly the case for younger travellers as 9% of millennials and 11% of Gen Z travellers say they could be persuaded to spend more on sleep suites and pods. Furthermore, 9% of Gen Z and 6% of millennials report spending the most time at the airport using sleep pods and suites. These findings highlight both the importance of sleep for younger travellers and the future revenue opportunities for the airports facilitating long-haul travel.

In key markets where extended layovers are often required, such as the Middle East, we have already seen this trend come to life. At Airport Dimensions we have acquired and now manage sleep ‘n fly Sleep Lounges, the pioneers of dedicated airport sleep lounges in order to provide the space for travellers to unwind, sleep and relax away from the terminal. We already have six established sleep ’n fly Sleep Lounges at locations such as Dubai International and Doha Hamad International. From a couple of hours of sleep through to an all-night stay with solutions to suit solo travellers and family groups alike, facilities like this provide a levelling up to the personal space that travellers want to in order to rest and recuperate during their airport transit.

The growth of international travel and non-aeronautical revenues

Our AX24 research shows that from the 9,000 travellers surveyed, international travel is expected to grow by 8% over the next 12 months. In tandem with this will come the need to transfer passenger traffic away from the busiest thoroughfares, creating the perfect opportunity to invest in lounge/sleep solution areas.

Today, 10% of travellers say they are interested in paying for private sleep facilities, as the desire for privacy grows, and demand will only increase as travel environments continue to get busier. Many airports facilitating international travel have empty spaces which are going unutilised, impacting on their ability to generate further incomes. Propositions such as sleep ’n fly Sleep Lounges offer a real opportunity for airports to utilise previously ‘dead’ space to drive commercial value and revenues.

Of course, there are a number of global nuances influencing the demand for sleep suites and pods. For instance in more established markets such as the UK (4%) and US (7%) travellers are less likely to spend on sleeping facilities than in emerging markets such as Brazil (14%) and Peru (13%). It is vital that airport decision makers are conscious of these micro-trends in localised markets when developing their proposition, matching supply to demand.

Clearly, there is global demand for high quality sleeping facilities at airports facilitating long haul and transit flights - and we have the data to prove it. Passenger expectations have shifted, they now want to feel refreshed and recharged in their own personal oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the main concourse. The airports who are quick to respond to this can reap the rewards in both passenger satisfaction and increased revenues.

sleeping lounge, double bed with grey and blue bedding, wooden sliding door, bedside table
White hallway, reclinable chair in room

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