Airports from Houston to Brisbane Are Maximizing Revenues Thanks to MAGO on AWS
Nonaeronautical revenue from vendors is an airport’s bread and butter. However, airports have been slow to adopt modern technology that could both enhance the traveler experience and increase revenue. To address this challenge, commercial services and travel software company MAGO developed a range of products and services built exclusively on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The company’s complete software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution on AWS digitizes and centralizes fragmented airport data sources, increasing revenue earning potential, improving the traveler experience, and strengthening airports’ resiliency.
Because it’s all infrastructure as code, we can deploy into any region. AWS has global reach that’s aligned with our global ambition.”
Vice President of Airport Services, MAG USA
Enabling Innovation in Airports
In 2017 Manchester Airports Group (MAG) established MAGO to increase business-to-consumer airport revenues. Now MAGO operates as a stand-alone company, along with its counterpart MAG USA. MAGO’s technology stack includes GOairport, a solution for online parking and hospitality reservations that is now used by more than 10 airports globally; GOretail, a multimerchant retail solution used to preorder and collect purchases during travel; GOtravel, a global ground transportation reservation system; and services for revenue management, trading, digital marketing, and distribution. MAGO initially built GOairport using third-party services, but adding capabilities was slow and expensive. To gain the agility to innovate at pace, MAGO decided to rearchitect GOairport, choosing to go all in on AWS.
While working with US airports as MAG USA, MAGO saw that mixed governmental and private ownership prioritizes risk mitigation over innovation. This lack of commercial emphasis diminishes the traveler experience and results in financial loss. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded that loss for many airports. Building on AWS enables MAGO to help global airports modernize and boost revenue.
By adopting a serverless-first approach, MAGO can focus on developing new digital products without the need to maintain infrastructure. Now it makes multiple production releases per day across all teams. “We’re continuously updating the SaaS solution, which gives us customer insights. These enable us to commercialize new revenue streams,” says John Wildman, vice president of airport services at MAG USA. “Many upsell and cross-sell opportunities come from these updates.”
Gaining Resiliency and Agility
At the core of MAGO’s innovation is its ability to spin up proofs of concept using AWS Lambda, a serverless compute service for running code without provisioning or managing servers, and Amazon DynamoDB, a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale. MAGO has scaled its SaaS solution to US, European, and Australian airports, and it can now implement services at an airport within 1 month. Automated deployments provide consistency across MAGO’s 40 AWS accounts. MAGO uses AWS CloudFormation to ensure consistency and speed up cloud provisioning with infrastructure as code.
MAGO has adopted a message-based architecture in which all upstream applications—like GOairport, GOretail, and GOtravel—send booking events to an event broker backed by Amazon Kinesis Data Streams, a massively scalable and durable real-time data streaming service. That event broker forwards the events to MAGO’s data management solution on Amazon Redshift, a fast cloud data warehouse. “If one of our business-to-business partners wants data access,” explains Wildman, “we don’t provide a direct connection to the database. We provide a feed off the event broker or a webhook, which the partner uses to take that data into its environment.”
To securely manage access to AWS services and resources, MAGO uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM), which centralizes access to its AWS environment. The AWS Shared Responsibility Model, which relieves the operational burden as AWS operates, manages, and controls security components, facilitates MAGO’s security posture. “The AWS Shared Responsibility Model works well for us,” says Ian Armitage, technology director at MAGO. “This enables us to focus on securing our applications and data without worrying about maintaining and securing physical infrastructure.”
To manage multiple production accounts, MAGO has adopted AWS Security Hub, which provides a single-pane view of its security posture across all AWS accounts. MAGO strengthens disaster recovery using backups from Amazon DynamoDB and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it easy to operate a relational database in the cloud. “We have a highly scalable, secure, and resilient architecture on AWS,” says Wildman.
Improving Business for Airports
For 3 years, MAGO has deployed its SaaS solution at Ontario International Airport in California, now the fastest-growing US airport based on per-passenger revenue. In 2019 it increased parking revenue by 30 percent, average transaction value by 50 percent, and its average long-term parking stay from 2–3 days to 6–7 days. MAGO’s SaaS solution has been adopted at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas. Two airports in Los Angeles that did not have an online parking reservation system implemented GOairport and saw unprecedented growth. “Overnight, these airports go from nothing to having a solution that enables them to foster customer relationships and generate new revenue streams,” says Anna-Karin Patel, head of international development at MAGO.
MAGO launched GOairport at Brisbane Airport in Australia, which saw a 2 percent increase in conversion and a 3 percent decrease in bounce rate compared to its previous reservations system. “GOairport has exceeded our expectations,” says Martin Ryan, executive general manager of commercial for Brisbane Airport Corporation. “We are excited about our ongoing collaboration with MAGO because of its deep industry knowledge, forward-thinking development road map, and commitment to evolving in step with this unique and dynamic space.”
MAGO has improved operational efficiency through automation. For example, MAGO’s SaaS solution enables travelers to prebook a 15-minute security slot ahead of their travel date. Airports can use this data to inform the staffing and the opening of security lanes—which was useful during the COVID-19 pandemic. “That was key to understanding passenger arrival times and demand during peak periods,” says Patel. “Any historical data we had was no longer accurate.”
Deploying to New Regions
Looking forward, MAGO plans to expand. “Because it’s all infrastructure as code, we can deploy into any region,” says Wildman. “AWS has global reach that’s aligned with our global ambition.” Currently, MAGO is using AWS machine learning and artificial intelligence solutions to build a loyalty program that will help airports better understand traveler behavior.
On AWS, MAGO built a SaaS solution that helps airports overcome longstanding obstacles to innovation. “We have the tools to compete with other innovators,” Wildman says. “Our vision is to enable travelers to book all parts of their customer journey in a single basket. That will result in a seamless, pain-free customer experience and increase nonaeronautical revenues.”
Part of Manchester Airports Group, MAGO provides commercial technology, products, and services to global airports, helping increase their nonaeronautical revenues, such as parking and retail revenue, and improve the travel experience.
Benefits of AWS
- Increased Ontario International Airport’s parking revenue by 30% in 2019
- Boosted Ontario International Airport’s average transaction value by 50%
- Implements services within 1 month
- Deploys multiple production releases daily to all teams
- Increased an airport’s average long-term parking stay from 2–3 days to 6–7 days
- Enhances the travel experience
- Deploys in any region
AWS Services Used
AWS Lambda is a serverless compute service that lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers, creating workload-aware cluster scaling logic, maintaining event integrations, or managing runtimes.
Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale.
AWS CloudFormation provides a common language for you to describe and provision all the infrastructure resources in your cloud environment.
AWS Security Hub
AWS Security Hub gives you a comprehensive view of your security alerts and security posture across your AWS accounts.
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