airport wayfinding signage

How Fresh Airport Wayfinding Signage Boosts Customer Experiences—and Your Bottom Line

Published on: June 18, 2019

These days, travelers not only have a choice of which airline to take but they also more frequently have options of which airport to use—and a pleasantly-branded wayfinding experience can make all the difference in whether they choose yours.

Today’s airports are so much more than simple transit facilities, and airport wayfinding signage provides a unique opportunity to shape the experience of those who pass through. These mixed-use destinations aren’t just a means of getting from point A to point B anymore. They are gateways that establish the brand of a community. For California cities that are driven by tourism, a positive first impression is critical to bringing in travelers—and revenue.

Using Airport Wayfinding Signage to Improve Customer Experiences

airport wayfinding signs

There are a lot of opportunities to boost your bottom line by using more effective airport wayfinding signage. With a clear, relevant, and easy to follow wayfinding program, your facility can better direct foot traffic and save money by reducing stress on staff resources. Strong airport wayfinding signage ensures that staff members spend less time directing travelers as those travelers can confidently find their way on their own without asking directions. And, when travelers can get to their destination without hassle, staff will field fewer complaints, too.

Differentiating types of information is key. Separating critical path pass-through from amenities and luxuries through design does this. The more travelers feel in control of their timing, the more inclined they are to spend time engaging with various amenities and retail opportunities along the way.

The top three ways that an effective airport wayfinding program boosts both customer experiences and revenue are:

1. Reducing entryway congestion.

The airport parking lot and front entryways are opportunities to get travelers off on the right foot. With clear, easy to understand ‘curb to cabin’ wayfinding signage, congestion at portals is minimized as travelers know exactly where to go the minute they arrive.

2. Minimizing security checkpoint frustration.

With well-defined signage that communicates what amenities are available before and after the security checkpoint, foot traffic and congestion in this area are significantly reduced. Enabling passengers to more effectively plan their pre-flight journey leads to less security congestion, better overall customer experiences, and an improved perception of the airport.

3. Getting people to flights sooner.

Even a small delay in airline travel can create a domino effect that impacts entire flight plans, not just at one airport, but at airports all over the world. Late passengers are often a result of individuals being unable to find their terminal gate due to confusing or inadequate wayfinding signage. Better signage ensures this happens less often, so flights can leave on schedule—and travelers are not left behind with a litany of complaints.

airport wayfinding signage

Travelers absorb many layers of information as they enter or exit an airport, whether that information is related to regulations, wayfinding, retail, or amenities. By establishing a wayfinding program that’s intuitive, you can reduce excess costs related to providing a pleasant experience.

Incorporating Branding in Airport Wayfinding Signage

While airport wayfinding signage streamlines the travel experience, it can also work to establish a branded identity that communicates the spirit of the community. Branding creates a sense of place for visitors. It provides a sense of familiarity that makes it easier for consumers to instantly orient themselves to an unfamiliar location.

Dallas Love Field used such a strategy to get travelers to see the airport as more than just a stop on their route. Instead, the environmental graphics and wayfinding design draw an intuitive connection to the heart of the city, which is only 7 miles away, rendering it a gateway to the city. Travelers are immediately immersed in lively colors and graphics that make them feel welcome and carry over as they take transport to the business district. This branded experience is critical for developing revenue as, not only is the airport owned by the City of Dallas itself, but it is a major contributor to the local tax base.

Like Dallas Love Field, Juan Santamaria International Airport serves an important financial role in their region. The local community holds events at the airport, like concerts and fundraisers, enabling travelers to experience local cultures and get familiar with the communities even before they step out onto the street level. The airport also unified its sign standard program with clear, easy to read signs with Sans-serif fonts and English translations to make the trip through their airport less stressful. Branded signage elements help underscore the message that the community is safe, approachable and modern.

airport wayfinding signs

Updating airport wayfinding signage is a major undertaking with a lot of regulations and components to consider—but the results can provide returns you may have only dreamed of. Working with a firm familiar with the ins and outs of these complex environmental graphics and wayfinding projects can make that dream of enhancing the traveler’s experience—and your revenue—come within reach.


GNU Group has worked with many airport facilities to create intelligent and human-centric airport wayfinding signage that enhances the branded experience for travelers. For more information on our airport signage programs, connect with our team.