Going to the dark side, it seems, has its advantages.
An airport recently discovered that by installing ‘smart glass’ at its departure gates that automatically filters out the sun, passengers linger longer in a nearby burger joint – and spend more money there.
After the dynamic self-tinting glass was installed at gate A28 at Dallas Fort Worth airport and at the adjacent Twisted Root burger joint, sales rocketed by 102 per cent year-on-year.
The bar at Dallas Fort Worth airport after the dynamic glass was fitted, making the area cooler and reducing glare, which in turn increased sales
The glass, produced by California-based company View, was installed on a trial basis and the uplift in sales came as an unexpected benefit for the airport.
Before the glass was fitted last autumn, customers would regularly have to endure sitting in the path of the hot Texan sun while they ate and drank at Twisted Root.
But now the glare and heat has been reduced passengers are more tempted to linger – and put more money in the till.
At the gate area, the study revealed passenger dwell time increased by 83 per cent, with the dynamic glass reducing surface temperatures by 10 to 15 degrees on seats, carpets, passenger clothing and skin compared to gates with conventional glass.
Before the glass was fitted, customers at the bar would often have to sit in the path of the hot Texan sun
View claims that its glass can provide a more comfortable environment for passengers and airport employees while also enabling airports to reduce their carbon footprint.
Sean Donohue, CEO at Dall Fort Worth Airport, said: ‘DFW is the world’s largest carbon neutral airport, and we are constantly evaluating new technologies and solutions throughout the airport to identify improvements for customer experience and sustainability.
‘The results of this study confirm that dynamic glass can reduce cooling costs and support DFW’s commitment to minimize our carbon footprint.
‘We were very pleased to see the positive effect on the customer experience and how the glass changed customer behavior with less glare and cooler temperatures.’
Dallas Fort Worth’s gate A28, where the glass was also installed. The study also found this meant passengers would linger at the gate for longer
Dr Rao Mulpuri, CEO of View, added: ‘Every airport is now investing in facilities that enhance the passenger experience.
‘All modern designs incorporate multi-story glass facades that bring more natural light and provide dramatic views; however, this very feature is also creating significant passenger discomfort through increased glare and heat.’
View has also installed dynamic glass at several other airports including Boston Logan, Charlotte-Douglas, San Francisco International and Seattle-Tacoma.
Meanwhile at gate A25, which does not have dynamic glass, hardly any passengers linger
However, smart glass isn’t the only way passengers can be encouraged to splash the cash.
It has also been revealed that travellers are being secretly enticed into spending money at Britain’s biggest airport by so-called Passenger Ambassadors, who are supposed to be there to help people find their way through the terminals.
An undercover investigation into the ambassadors at Heathrow has revealed that they are paid to promote special offers and promotions across the airport.
They are set targets of up to £4,000-worth of sales a day, earned by directing passengers into shops – rented by brands that include Burberry, Cartier and Prada – and are paid bonuses for hitting the targets.