A recent survey of passenger satisfaction with airport facilities listed cleanliness and efficiency of restrooms as a top concern for most travelers. Several airports around the United States have turned to technology within the last year for help with keeping their bathroom stalls clean and lines moving.
If you are like most passengers surveyed by the Aiports Council International in a recent study on traveler satisfaction, clean and efficient terminal bathrooms matter to you. A lot. The organization published a report earlier this year that rated terminal cleanliness and restroom cleanliness as being more important to overall passenger satisfaction than any other aspect of airport infrastructure.
Jason Clampet, founder of Skift, a travel research company, tells the New York Times he isn’t surprised by these findings. “Bathrooms are the first sign if an airport is run well. I’ve never been to a well-operated airport that has dirty bathrooms, and anything that an airport can do to prevent bad bathrooms encounters is great for fliers.”
Seven airports in the United States have taken note, turning to the TRAX SmartRestroom software system to help them keep lines moving and stalls clean in their terminal bathrooms. The software was developed in a joint collaboration between Infax, Avius, and Tooshlight, and it is customizable depending on an airport’s needs.
How do the features work?
For one, SmartRestroom can track how many people enter and exit a bathroom, and then send an alert to custodial services for cleaning once that number has reached a certain threshold. The system also makes it easy to see which stalls are occupied, using red or green lights on stall doors to indicate availability and thus cutting down on wait times. There is also a feature for immediate passenger feedback that allows travelers to rate the bathroom as “exceptional,” “average,” or “poor.” When the third option is chosen, the passenger is immediately prompted to select one of six reasons for the rating, and that information is then sent to custodial services to be addressed.
With time, metadata captured by such technology could be used for larger purposes than alerting janitors about messy bathrooms. For example, data about which bathrooms get the most traffic could be useful when designing terminals or assigning gates in order to create better flow of traffic.
Even if they do not capitalize on those uses, it is clear that airports are getting the memo that passengers want cleaner bathrooms. The New York Times reports that multiple airports are looking to integrate or expand their use of restroom technology in the coming months.