It’s been a busy year for lounge operator Plaza Premium after opening new facilities at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Siem Reap International Airport, Brisbane Airport and Phnom Penh International Airport, and an arrivals lounge at Rio de Janeiro–Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport all in 2016.
Plaza Premium, the largest independent airport lounge operator
The overarching objective for Plaza Premium lounges is to enhance a traveler’s experience, according to Edward Cheng, senior manager of corporate communications for the group. “We offer award-winning hospitality, state-of-the-art facilities and innovative ideas to help fill a gap that exists in airports,” he said. “At the same time, we like working proactively with airports that share our mindset of helping to improve the passenger experience and help them attract more traffic.”
Plaza Premium has seen some competition from the independent lounge segment grow with companies like The Club, Airspace, American Express’s Centurion Lounge and Manchester Airport Group’s Escape Lounge. “There has been growing demand with keen competition. Although there are competitors in the market, we are still seen as leaders by our clients and passengers,” said Cheng. We are the only player in the market to offer services to both airline and airport partners. We can do everything, including lounge concepts, design development, project management, procurement, quality control, operations and training.”
Plaza Premium Group offers one-stop shopping, said Cheng. “No other company can offer the capabilities and capacity that we have around the world.”
The Plaza Premium experience
The group also offers strong brand equity, said Cheng. “We have things like honeycomb seating to enhance customer privacy. We were also the first to offer hot-cooked meals, resting suites and VIP rooms,” he said. “Our lounge designs are chic and sophisticated, using granite and premium fabrics. We choose quality materials to make sure we have a wonderful ambience for our passengers. We are a game changer.”
Plaza Premium opened what it called its fifth-generation lounge in Vancouver International Airport in 2014. Since then, the company has added new elements to address passengers’ changing needs, said Cheng. “In recent years, guests want lounge experiences that not only focus on the design, but also on the details that make for a compelling travel experience,” he explained.
The company is always upgrading its lounges, said Cheng. “We are constantly reviewing the situations in our lounges and what they need. We do regular customer surveys,” he said. “We look at what passengers want and take those recommendations into consideration when we upgrade.”
Plaza Premium is adding more local cultural elements in its lounges, said Cheng. “In our Taipei lounge, our designer created art in the shape of the island of Taiwan embedded in the front wall, which passengers see when they arrive,” he said.
In the Brisbane lounge, the designers used rustic elements like local Victorian ash wood to create a relaxing ambience, said Cheng. “We also have 3D wall tiles from around Australia that represent local culture.”
Plaza Premium lounges also highlight local food and beverages, said Cheng. “In Singapore, we serve Hainan chicken and noodles and in Taipei, we have braised pork over rice and danzai noodle soup in the lounge,” he said. “In Hong Kong, we serve the famous fish ball noodles without MSG and in India we have dosa, all created to showcase local delicacies.”
“We want passengers to remember our lounges because they are the last place they see before they leave, so we want to promote a city’s culture and scenery,” said Cheng.
Plaza Premium sets ambitious growth plans
Looking through 2018, Plaza Premium will continue to work on its own brands, along with managing the lounges of airlines and other corporate clients, said Cheng.
In 2017, the company is looking at at least one more lounge in Europe, said Cheng. “We also recently signed a contract King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”
“By the end of 2018, we’re on track to have 200 locations according to our three-year plan.” said Cheng. Plaza premium is also introducing more facilities at London Heathrow Airport, he added.
“We’re adding a departure lounge in Terminal 2 and an arrivals lounge in Terminal 4,” said Cheng. “We’re also adding Aerotel, an 80-room airport transit hotel, at Heathrow by the end of 2017. This means that all of Heathrow’s terminals will have a Plaza Premium presence.”
So the future is very bright for Plaza Premium, said Cheng. “According to Airports Council International, there are 2,000 airports around the world and 1,000 of them are involved with transporting passengers,” he said. “As a group, we’re only in 35 international airports, so we’re only occupying three percent of market share. That means there are plenty of opportunities to expand and collaborate with airports around the world. We’re also focused on other parts of the business, like airport transit hotels.”
Plaza Premium joins the Arrture loyalty program
Plaza Premium has joined the Arrture Airport Travel Rewards program. Members receive a 15% discount on lounge visits, as well as 15% off spa treatments where available. Then, every twenty lounge visits, members earn a free three-hour visit at any participating location.
What makes the program noteworthy is that all visits count, including free ones. For example, members who use the popular Priority Pass global lounge access program also collect points towards a free entry. Free visit vouchers can be given to friends or family, or may be used when traveling with a companion.
Featured image: Plaza Premium Lounge – London Heathrow (LHR) Terminal 2