DFW Airport Multilanguage Concierge Program
DFW Airport serves over 200+ international destinations. To help support foreign travelers, the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport created a concierge program that provides assistance to individuals arriving out of Customs. At the program’s inception, the airport was seeking a promotional partner who could provide brand ambassadors fluent in a select group of languages to assist travelers with connections or provide general information regarding airport facilities. They sought an agency who would assign a project manager to supervise and manage all ambassadors and serve as the primary liaison with the DFW lead personnel. Four teams were envisioned in the initial plans including Brazilian, Mandarin, Japanese and English. In addition to providing support to travelers, the team members would be encouraged to promote the dining and shopping amenities at the airport in an effort to persuade travelers to take advantage of these premiere services. The Brazilian program was the first team to be on-boarded. It began in 2013 and ended in September of 2017 after the economy in Brazil began to adversely affect traveler numbers. The Mandarin program was conceived in 2014 followed by the English program in 2016. Beginning in October of 2017, the Japanese team will be set to start.
Fluency in each of the languages was a must. Individuals had to be approachable, professional and possess high-energy. Positive engagement with travelers was required and leaving a favorable impression of the staff and facilities at DFW Airport was a definite goal. The challenges of a language barrier when visiting a foreign country could be eased by hiring staff that could read verbal and non-verbal cues to sense a passenger’s disposition and communicate with these individuals in their native tongue. Each program is supported with one to three team members located in Terminal D. Each team member must become a DFW Airport specialist after a mandatory training class provided by the airport. Background checks for each team member are required in order to receive security clearance. Team members were required to be available 7 days a week for 3-4 hours per day. Additional time would be required for terminal entrance and airport security checkpoints. The partner agency would also have to provide an affirmative action plan and/or diversity and inclusion policy statement relative to hiring staff for the proposed project. Companies with an SBE certification were strongly encouraged to participate in the solicitation of services.
The team of brand ambassadors would report to the project manager at the promotional agency. All staffing and supervision of the team members would be handled by the lead at the agency.
Requirements of the Project Manager:
- Scheduling and coordination with promotions team
- Assets management including storage and distribution, brochure pick up and replenishment, parking pass coordination, badge processing as well general troubleshooting
- Recap conference calls with the DFW Airport
- Quarterly in-person meetings between the Project Manager, DFW lead and available team members
TBS Promotions provided bilingual team members that met all qualifications as outlined by DFW scope of work. A project manager was assigned to supervise and manage all personnel involved with the concierge program as well as provided on-going communication and recaps to the DFW lead. As an SBE certified business, TBS was uniquely qualified to participate in the solicitation process. With our deep pool of brand ambassadors, we were able to provide the required number of team members for each language requested.
Ambassadors, fluent in multiple languages including Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese were interviewed and selected based on their professionalism and fluency. Each member was tasked with greeting arriving travelers on daily flight and serving as a concierge to passengers with language barriers. In addition, ambassadors were assigned to help with questions regarding connecting flights while also encouraging individuals to frequent the concessions, shops, loungers and other travel amenities at the airport. Team members also assisted travelers in need of translation for US Customs as well as various airlines. TBS provided weekly recaps with interaction and collateral reporting. And, they also provided monthly recaps to the DFW Airport with data comparison year over year and month over month.
Between January 2015 and July 2017, the Brazilian team has assisted over 162,000 travelers. The Mandarin team has assisted over 249,000 travelers as of July 2017. In 2017, DFW Airport was recognized as the #1 Airport in Customer Satisfaction in North America by Airports Council International. Reactions of both international travelers as well as lead personnel at DFW Airport has been enthusiastically positive. Many passengers have affirmed the program with rave reviews over the inclusion of fluent personnel to assist with their travel needs. Foreign travelers who log thousands of miles each year have recognized the Chinese concierge in particular for assisting them with their questions and concerns. In several cases, it was cited by passengers as this being their first encounter with a Chinese translator at an American airport. The program continues to garner high marks for TBS owing to both the leadership in place as well as the efficient and professional staff assigned to each team.