Airport Mobility is a $70 billion untapped opportunity for the travel industry

by | Aug 1, 2022 | Airports, News

Global Airport Mobility – comprising journeys taken to and from the airport by consumers – is a $60-70 billion opportunity for the travel industry that is largely untapped, according to a recent report by CarTrawler.

The survey, which looked at the consumer behaviour of over 11,500 people in five markets, was undertaken to understand exactly how consumers get to and from the airport beyond car rental, and uncovered many insights on consumer wants and needs, how the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviour, the scope of the opportunity for the travel industry, and how to optimise for it.

While there is already comprehensive data on the existing car rental landscape, the broader airport mobility opportunity has been largely overlooked, so a global survey of this nature was essential to both understand the existing situation and provide insight into how the travel industry can optimise it now and into the future.


What is the Airport Mobility opportunity?

The ‘Broader Airport Transfer’ mobility opportunity – which includes taxi, shuttle, private transfer and ride-hailing (or ‘on-demand’)- is comparable in worth to car rental at $19-23 billion but the shape of the opportunity is very different, with broader airport transfer offering seven times higher booking volumes. Whereas on-airport car rental accounts for 65-80 million journeys, broader airport transfer accounts for 460-555 million journeys – which offsets the lower average booking values.

CarTrawler’s Airport Mobility Opportunity report - Global Bookings Volumes


Differing markets have different needs

While the volume of booking journeys in North America and Europe are similar at ~1 billion in each geography, there are significant differences in the breakdown of transport methods. In North America, where a car-centric culture is more prevalent, 46% of airport journeys are made by private car, compared to 31% in Europe. The most significant difference between the two is the amount of bus and rail journeys – which comprise 20% in Europe, but only 8% in North America.

Travel Volumes Graph

Consumer needs and behaviour – and pent-up demand

The report shows that there is significant pent-up consumer demand to book airport transfer with their flight or travel vendor, but that either the vendor doesn’t provide the offering, or they don’t make the consumer aware that it’s available.

Where flight vendors offer airport mobility, the customer journey tends to be longer than that of car rental, with more touchpoints and opportunities for the travel vendor to make the consumer aware of their offering. The customer journey to purchasing airport mobility is also omnichannel and with desktop, mobile web, mobile app and offline methods of booking all popular.

Global Airport Mobility Opportunity

By CarTrawler

To read the full report and find out much more detail about consumer journeys and behaviour, the key blockers that prevent consumers from booking airport transfers, and how flight vendors can optimise the customer journey to seize the opportunity, read CarTrawler’s Airport Mobility Opportunity here.