We’re ten precent of the way into the 2020s, and for those in the travel and tourism industry, there’s only one way the rest of the decade can go. It’s important to remember that travel will come back. Maybe not today, maybe not early in 2021, but terminals will once again be packed, airplanes will be full, and the airport will once again see the hustle and bustle it did in 2019.
Recovery is Coming… But When?
It took about six years for airlines to recover capacity after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a time in which the fallout resulted in 62,000 airline jobs lost. But unlike the 2020s, the 2000s were a series of unfortunate events. Before 9/11, the dot-com bubble burst left business travel waning. After it, travel had to mitigate the damage of the SARS outbreak, the Avian Flu outbreak, and the global financial crisis.
Though COVID-19 resulted in faster, deeper, and more significant cuts—some believe that the return to some semblance of normal might come sooner rather than later. Despite IATA data highlighting that it generally takes at least five years for the industry to recover after a short-term upheaval, four in ten believe that recovery could come in as little as 18 months.
Whether it’s cautious predictions of the mid-20s or something a bit more optimistic, those in charge of terminals need to be ready for whatever the coming decade throws at them.
While we can expect the new normal to feature the proliferation of PPE, temperature checks at the TSA, and new cleaning procedures in cabins, leadership teams at terminals need to remember that adaptation is different from resilience.
Adaptation isn’t Resilience
Adaptation is simple—follow the rules. Terminal leadership likely added thermal scanners, required masks, laid down social distancing markers on the floor, and taped off seats.
Resilience is different. Resilient businesses didn’t simply change procedures, they were three steps ahead of the downturn and will be five steps ahead of the recovery.
It all comes down to the simple mantra, “if you can’t clean your room, don’t try to change the world.”
The path to recovery is going to be a wild ride. Expect a few more false restarts followed by rising cases and consequent shutdowns. Resilience is seeing the different outcomes and staying ahead of them. Normal will come, but until then, you’re going to have to weather the uncertainty—something that’s not easy to do when you’re trying to find out when to pull the trigger on hiring.
Building Momentum on the Road to Recovery
The recovery process is going to be unique to each airport. In fact, it’s going to be unique at each terminal. International terminals are going to be a lot different than domestic, and even domestic routes are going to differ from region to region. Planning for recovery requires you to take a step back to shore up your own business. But how?
Over the past few months, we’ve been writing a lot on the challenges and opportunities for terminal management on the road to recovery, looking at the market trends, challenges that exist in both times of few and times of plenty, and the ways that a terminal management solution can help you deice your business processes.
Look at Your People, Processes, and Technology
People, processes, and technology each play a role in your business. Humans are absolutely vital to your company—but there are some situations in which humans are inefficient (and often quite inaccurate). Data entry is one of these areas. As much insight as a person can deliver by applying insight on a computer output, input is a different beast.
The problem is that it’s not just the inefficiency, it’s the repetition. People are much more valuable when they actually use their brains instead of simply using their fingers. Something we discussed in our first article in the series, manual entry was one of the biggest challenges that our client JFK Terminal One Faced—and was able to address. This helped them build resilience and ensured their billing was completed before the borders were closed.
Understand Your Challenges
For those in the terminal space, delivering support services, passenger processing, and facility management to both airlines and travelers, you’re likely going to be the first to recover. But this won’t be without some kind of challenge.
The problem is that you likely won’t just be facing recovery challenges, you’ll be facing the same challenges you faced before the virus hit. Billing will ramp up, airlines will need more services, and vendors will reopen. If your experience is anything like JFK Terminal One Group, trying to keep organized is near impossible when relying on manual processes.
But as things ramp up, you might not have the full staff available. Computation will be replaced with a cleaning crew, and without the right technology in place, the issues we discussed in our article on the four most common terminal management challenges will be even more of a concern for you.
Take Steps to Change When It’s Easy
It pays to start small—and if there’s one silver lining to shutdowns, it’s that you have finally caught up on the backlog. As a company that’s been in the ERP business for three decades, we know that it’s much easier to work with clean data than disparate sources. In fact, there are few times better than now to make the move to a new business management solution.
The shock of an ERP implementation won’t be as severe, the workload for your staff won’t be as heavy, and this all combines to provide you with less risk and higher satisfaction.
We helped one of the busiest terminals at one of the busiest airports to make the move to better terminal management—in one of the busiest years for air travel. We got the job done with minimal risk and got them up and running in less than half a year. Get to know how we helped them deice their business processes here.
Three to Six Months Away from Terminal Velocity: MIBAR Terminal Management
Able to be implemented within three to six months, MIBAR’s Terminal Management for NetSuite was specifically designed with the airport terminal manager in mind. We spent three years developing this industry-specific extension of NetSuite’s ERP that delivers a unified experience for terminal managers.
This product is able to improve operational efficiency by up to 30%, incorporating contract escalation processes, third-party application extensions for workflows and various other customized elements that an airport terminal manager may need.