Cathay Pacific and Oneworld passengers have a riot of choice when it comes to the Hong Kong loungescape, with seven airside lounges.
Although that tally will drop to six when The Cabin closes on April 30, the airline believes it has more than enough to go around, having studied how its travellers choose which lounge to use.
“Around July last year we did an in-depth ‘voice of customers’ survey to understand how customers choose their lounge,” explains Vivian Lo, Cathay Pacific’s Head of Customer Experience & Design.
“There are two particular patterns. Most customers goes to the nearest lounge to their departure gate. But another group always go back to the lounge that they prefer or the lounge that they've always gone to, it’s almost like default.”
Lo expects Cathay’s newest lounge, The Deck, will have strong appeal to both types of travellers.
“I think most people look for proximity to the gate and a lot of the Cathay Dragon flights still leave from this end, and you will also increasingly see a lot of the European flights that depart at night that might be from gates at this side as well,” Lo predicts.
“We try our best to get more flights (using gates) around our lounges, if we can, so that our customers can have less to walk.”
“But I also think that few of our customers that could choose The Wing might decide to come here because of the design and the unique feature of the verandah, which has a runway view and an impressive view of the sunset.
“A lot of our customers fly in and out every day, their life is pretty hectic. This is probably one of the few times where they can sit down and enjoy a sunset without being at home, maybe have five to ten minutes of zen before you're on your way.”
So what’s next for Hong Kong?
While Lo is wary of declaring Cathay’s Hong Kong lounge portfolio as being completed, she admits there’s little more to be done at the airline’s home hub for now.
There’s no intention to give The Wing a makeover to the new Ilse Crawford lounge design, for example.
“A lot of customers like The Wing very much. We will continue to look at how we improve the food and beverage, the experience, but there are no plans to redesign it into the Ilse Crawford template as yet.”
As for The Arrivals lounge, which has become the runt of the Hong Kong lounge litter, it all comes down to space being made available by the airport authority for the lounge to be expanded or relocated with a significantly larger footprint.
“There’s a finite amount of space, although with the expansion of the third runway programme Terminal 2 two will be rebuilt and basically everything depends on that overall airport plan,” Lo says. “We won't know whether there will be options open until that's been finalised.”
New lounges for Shanghai, Seoul
2019 could see new Cathay Pacific lounges at both Shanghai and Seoul, although both are in the earliest stages of planning. “We are still looking into options,” Lo says.
“Beijing was refurbished quite recently, so we are looking at Shanghai (first).”
Any new lounge for Shanghai “will be in the current space unless something new suddenly appears, which rarely happens,” Lo reflects. “But we’re always looking for where we can expand.”
Seoul will see an all-new lounge built at Terminal 1 once Cathay Pacific’s flights are relocated from the T1 satellite, Lo tells Australian Business Traveller.
“We are moving our operations back to the main terminal. For customers that's a great thing because they will have to walk a lot less.”
David Flynn travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of Cathay Pacific