Parent company Collinson Group is leveraging its well-honed competence across travel, and financial services to lead the recovery of the sector from the devastating impact of the pandemic.
Priority Pass, the leading global airport lounge programme, has announced that it will add over 150 new luxury airport lounges across the world in 2021. Alongside 100 new premium dining and relaxation experiences and railway and seaport lounges, this represents a 20 per cent growth for the network. This announcement coincides with signs that travel is set to return, with encouraging growth in domestic travel in the US, China, and Russia, as well as recent announcements around the relaxing of border closures for vaccinated travellers.
The lounge programme has already added 59 new airport lounges this year – including three in India and 14 in China – as well as revealing that nine No.1 Lounges have re-entered its programme. In addition to increasing its lounge footprint, the company is focusing on quality, premium dining, and spa experiences, with 17 new locations added in 2021.
The Priority Pass network is a mix of partnerships as well as lounges owned by its sister company, Airport Dimensions, both owned by Collinson Group. Airport Dimensions has continued opening new lounges and sleep and rest experiences during the pandemic and is positioned to achieve a 483 per cent growth in locations since 2015.
The programme provides frequent travellers access to over 1,300 lounges and airport experiences in over 650 airports across 148 locations, including a growing number of airport dining and spa offerings worldwide that can be accessed in the same way as lounges. Using the Priority Pass app for iOS and Android, members can quickly and easily discover locations welcoming Priority Pass, instantly check their visit entitlement, and use their Digital Membership Card to access airport lounges and experiences.
Airport Dimensions designs, builds and operates airport spaces for lounge and other experiences. It has a network of 28 airport lounges and experiences at major airports across the US, United Kingdom and Middle East. In 2020, it expanded its physical offering for travellers with the acquisition of ONGROUND Hospitality and the Sleep Lounge brand sleep ’n fly, and enhanced its digital experiences with the launch of e-commerce and relationship management platform Connecta.
Under its brands The Club (US), Club Aspire (UK) and sleep ’n fly (Middle East), Airport Dimensions provides hospitality services tailored to the specific needs of passengers. It also develops value-added airport experiences for over 50 airport and airline partners, including Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Lufthansa and Air China.
With a customer base of more than 50 million global travellers, Collinson has leveraged its unique insights into consumer expectations to support the travel industry. Most recently, this has taken the form of new research The Return Journey, which analyses and compares data collected from 18.5k global travellers in late 2019 (pre-pandemic) with data collected from 12.6k travellers in late 2020 (during the pandemic), providing guidance on the path that airline, airport and premium credit card brands can take to meet the changing traveller expectations.
Over the last 12 months, Collinson has adapted its offerings to cater to COVID-influenced traveller needs. Collinson’s ‘Ready to Order’ food and drinks technology (in partnership with Grab) launched across select Priority Pass lounges in India, including Kochi, Pune, and Mumbai, enables lounge guests to order complimentary food and drink through their mobile phones. While achieving a contactless F&B service, the offering also supports social distancing and reduces food waste.
Collinson – a global end-to-end travel experiences, airport services and travel medical company – has been working with airlines, airports and other members of the travel ecosystem as well as governments around the world to restart travel safely. Collinson has also used its travel medical resources to become the world’s leading COVID travel testing company, with partnerships with more than 30 airlines, airports and health passport providers.
David Evans, Joint CEO at Collinson, says, “Our investment in Priority Pass is a clear reflection of our confidence in the travel recovery, which our research has shown will also include an increased appetite for premium spaces and experiences while travelling. But the strong growth of our Priority Pass network is only one facet of the work Collinson has done in the past year to restart travel. As a family company with a more than 30-year history sitting at the intersection of travel and financial services, we know the damage that COVID has done to travel, international commerce and trade, and is why we’re committed to efforts such as rolling out testing and working with governments and the travel industry to build and roll out new solutions. And now, with a network growing to include over 1,500 lounges and premium experiences available, we look forward to welcoming travellers back to our Priority Pass programme as they return to travel.”
“India continues to be a core growth-driver for our clients and their customers, and as such, we have a strategic, long-term – and most of all, exciting – growth plan that supports our clients’ objectives, while delivering an enhanced experience for their customers,” says Priyanka Lakhani, Commercial Director Middle East & Africa and Director South Asia, Collinson, Priority Pass’s parent company. “We’re aware that travellers are wary of returning to the skies, with a recent study by Collinson revealing that 41 per cent of Indian travellers are specifically looking for visible health and hygiene measures when during their next trip, as well as socially-distanced spaces to ‘de-stress’ and ‘relax away from the crowds.”
The extra mile
Apart from airport lounges, experiences programme and Priority Pass, Collinson also offers travel insurance, identity assistance, flight delay, international health, and travel risk management solutions. Collinson has over 2,000 employees operating out of 17 locations globally. Its travel medical and security assistance business unit has more than 55 years’ experience in the delivery of international medical assistance and emergency care, including the handling of pandemics such as Ebola, Zika and the coronavirus. Last year alone, Collinson responded to over 95,000 emergency calls, managed over 40,000 medical cases, and conducted over 3,000 aero-medical evacuations across the 170 countries it serves.