5 Ways to Surprise and Delight Your Passengers this Fall

A quick search on Google Trends shows that interest in the concept of surprise and delight is growing over time. This isn’t surprising considering that the concept of customer service is also a hot topic, and surprising and delighting your customers can be a key component for keeping them happy and increasing loyalty.

Today, we’re exploring a few great ideas to help you surprise and delight your passengers or riders this fall. If you have other ideas, please share them with us by commenting on this post!


1. Eat, Drink and Be Merry

I don’t know about you but stepping foot in an airport or just thinking about going on a trip makes me hungry. Food and drinks can go a long way in bringing smiles to travelers faces — and are one of the easiest ways to surprise and delight weary travelers.

A few ideas:

  • Donuts and cider
  • Cupcakes and coffee
  • Cookies and punch

Fun examples:

  • Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) recently partnered with Bojangles to send boxes of chicken to travelers waiting for their luggage to arrive in bag claim. Check out the video from AVL
  • A handful of airports, including Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), have welcomed food trucks to the airport! For AUS, it was part of the plan with their new South Terminal that opened in 2017 — read more >
  • For our transit agency friends, beverages on a bus can be a little tricky, but we’ve heard of several transit systems that provide candy treats to their passengers on holidays like Halloween and Valentine’s Day


2. Pop-Up Events

What’s more surprising and delightful than a pop-up event? It’s like finding a free ticket to a show or stumbling across an unexpected festival. Any kind of pop up event that helps people relax and pass the time can be a great way to surprise passengers with a fun, novel experience.

A few ideas:

  • Set up a “pop-up theater” in an underutilized space or quiet gate area
  • Invite a community theater group to perform short plays
  • Bring in local musicians to perform family-friendly and calming tunes
  • Face-painters, magicians, crafters and puppet shows are perfect for your younger travelers — and if the kids are happy, so are the parents

Fun example:

  • It’s not a pop-up event, but we love this dedicated theater concept by the Hollywood Theater at PDX
  • In Appleton, WI, Valley Transit participates in the local artisan music festival called “Mile of Music” with mini-concerts on a specially-wrapped bus


3. Hip Swag

There’s something about free stuff that really grabs people’s attention and makes them happy — especially if it’s the latest, coolest thing that they don’t have yet. Order some swag, set up a table, and just say thanks to the people who are traveling through!

A few ideas:

  • Pop Sockets or Phone Loops
  • Got Millennials? Get fanny packs (or, as they’re now being called, “Waist Bags” — not to be confused with “waste bags”)
  • Cord taco – because organizing cords is more fun when it’s got “taco” in the name


4. Social Media Surprise

Are you keeping an eye on Twitter? Is someone actively tweeting something while in your airport? Use the opportunity to locate them (tweet back at them, or — if you want to go ultra stealthy, look at their profile pic and locate them in the terminal) and give them a little swag bag – just because you can. Adding some context can be helpful – something like, “Hey, I’m with the marketing department and we saw your tweet. We just wanted to say thanks for choosing our airport, and here’s a little gift for you. Have a great trip!”


5. Leverage Your Partnerships

Business travelers are a high-value target audience for many companies. Partner with businesses in your region to provide a great surprise and delight experience for your passengers. Whether your partner contributes food, drinks, swag, or ponies up to pay the band, providing a platform for sponsored “passenger experiences” can be a win-win-win situation.


Looking for more ideas that are customized to your unique needs? We’d love to help! Contact us today to get started.

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