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Cardiff Airport

Managing Capacity & Online Booking for the Executive Lounge

The Intro

Cardiff Airport is one of the UK's fastest growing regional airports offering flights to many different destinations across Europe and around the world. As part of its ongoing expansion plans, in 2017 the airport announced the launch of several new routes including a new daily flight to Doha with Qatar Airways and a £4million investment in upgrading its terminal and parking facilities.



Their Needs 

As part of its ambitious expansion plans and to deal effectively with the increase in passenger numbers, Cardiff Airport required a new online booking solution for its Executive Lounge, which allowed members, non-members and agents to quickly and easily book online.

More importantly, the system needed to allow the Operations team to be able to monitor and control the capacity of the Executive Lounge by providing enhanced back-end features and functionality. Another amazing was to significantly decrease the amount of manual admin tasks which were taking a lot of the team's time each month. This included compiling daily guest lists and management reporting.


Our Challenge

  • Provide a new, fully responsive booking platform to improve the customer booking experience
  • Design a system to match Cardiff Airport's brand guidelines so that customers didn't feel they were booking on a third party website
  • Allow the operations team to be able to control the capacity of the lounge by having full visibility of all bookings at all times
  • Decrease manual admin tasks and improve reporting
  • Manage direct bookings made through the Cardiff Airport Website and over the phone
  • Have the ability to charge different fees for Executive Lounge Members and Non-Members
  • Cut down time spent dealing with agent bookings to book
  • Manage access to the lounge for Premier airline customers and airline members
  • Manage bookings via third parties including Priority Pass and Dragon Pass
  • Allow staff to book-in on the day 'walk-ups' at the reception desk with specific pricing
  • Provide real-time reporting for supplier billing and management information 


The Work


A discovery workshop was held with Cardiff Airport to allow us to fully understand the current booking process and to confirm the required functionality. Using our findings, our Head of UX then produced wireframes then produced wireframes which set out the new, enhanced booking journey. This included working with the airport's team to determine the best way to split up and display availability.

The Work


Once the wireframes had been approved by the team at Cardiff Airport, our web design team then applied Cardiff Airport’s branding to the main Executive Lounge landing page and throughout the full booking journey. This means that the customer completes the full booking within what appears to be the same website rather than a third party booking website.


The Solution

  • A bespoke, scalable online booking system capable of handling thousands of bookings each day.
  • An automatic registration process means that customers can book-in to the lounge for the first time and an account is automatically created for them.
  • Back-office tools allow airport staff to set variable pricing according to membership type and to download lounge booking lists in real-time.
  • Staff can allocate the necessary guaranteed capacity for premier airline customers, block out specific dates/times or reduce capacity levels.
  • A feed of Dragon and Priority Pass member bookings can be uploaded into the system at any time during the day by the airport’s staff. This is recorded against capacity
  • Staff can upload a list of the different types of airline members, which automatically creates the bookings in the system and reduces the associated capacity of the lounge.
  • Ability for staff to retrospectively download a spreadsheet listing all passengers who used the lounge, which can then be supplied to the airline.
  • A separate agent’s web application provides each agent with their own unique login and associated bookings. The booking confirmation is sent directly to the agent’s customer with a reporting tool allowing the airport’s Finance team to generate a booking report in order to invoice commissions.
  • Telephone bookings can be taken over the phone with branded confirmation and receipts automatically emailed to the customer.
  • Executive Lounge staff can quickly look up customer details on a smart phone or tablet and book-in passengers who turn up on the day without a booking. The lounge occupancy is instantly adjusted in real-time.
  • An Executive dashboard provides the airport’s Operations and Management team with the ability to monitor bookings, revenue and occupancy 24/7 on any device.


The Outcome

Key results since the launch of the site have included:

21024Passengers Number of passengers to use the lounges in 1st 6 months
1535Bookings Number of new bookings made via the website in 1st 6 months
564 Admin BookingsBookings made by admin team in 1st 6 months


Cardiff Airport 2
"We are very happy with the thinkBooker system as it now means that not only can our guests book the Executive lounge quickly and easily online on any device, but it has also saved our operations and finance teams a considerable amount of time completing admin and reporting tasks each month." Stacey Andrews,
Executive Lounge Manager