Airport Runs: Perfecting the Process
Airport transfers are common for most taxi firms, but they can also be problematic if the process is mishandled. Customers get nervous about missing flights and drivers can waste hours waiting for delayed flights to arrive. With stories of drivers
travelling to airports only to find that their booking has
jumped into another cab, it’s important that the airport transfer process is managed properly to help you save time and money, and to give your customers peace of mind.
Customers get nervous. When travelling to an airport they worry you may not turn up or that you may be late. When arriving, they worry that you won’t be there waiting for them. It’s important to provide booking confirmations and to follow-up, not least because it may save you time if they decide to cancel. Some firms have automatic booking systems that send out SMS text messages, push notifications and emails, but even as an individual taxi driver you should follow-up to ensure your customers are happy. It’s advised that you follow-up after the booking is made with an email or text message, something tangible that confirms the booking, rather than just a verbal acknowledgement over the phone.
The collection time and place should be confirmed the day before, whether via a phone call or by automation, along with confirmation of baggage and people in case this has changed. This gives the customer assurance they have not been forgotten and your will have a car waiting for them at the agreed time. It’s important to obtain a flight number. By checking the flight for delays, you can save yourself and the customer wasted time. If a flight is delayed or cancelled, call the customer to discuss how they wish to proceed.
When dealing with arrivals, it’s important to track flight delays to avoid waiting around for hours. When flights are cancelled, you should try to contact your customers. When they arrive, you should make it clear to your customers how you intend to meet them, whether with a name card, or by collecting from an agreed area.
Different firms have different payment policies. Whilst you should do whatever works for you, there are certainly some steps you can take to avoid late cancellations and non-payment. For example, taking a deposit or payment in advance when the booking is made will reduce the probability that your customers will cancel their booking. This is
particularly common for airport collections, when customers may have booked your services, but jump into another taxi when they arrive. Advance payment may involve extra admin, but may be worth the hassle. It’s not uncommon that customers arriving back into the country have run out of cash, so this may also avoid late payments too.
We recently surveyed the taxi firms of a town near Luton airport to get transfer quotes. They all came back with the same price. Knowing your market is important. Many airport customers are one-off customers looking for the best price. You must charge what you feel appropriate, but you must also be competitive. You should factor in any airport waiting charges (it’s £3 at Luton) and consider whether you are losing customers because of your pricing.