The parent company that owns Priority Pass, the airport lounge and experience group, is investing in new technology to facilitate mobile food orders at the airport.
The investment by Collinson Group, announced on Tuesday morning, is in a company called Grab, which builds an app that facilitates meal ordering via a mobile device in airport terminals.
Collinson Group’s investment is particularly significant in light of news that Priority Pass is expanding its partnerships into new frontiers in airport experiences. Asked about these plans by Skift earlier this year, Christopher Evans, Joint CEO of Collinson, confirmed that Priority Pass is aggressively expanding its portfolio of partner properties outside of traditional airport lounges. Through 2018 and 2019, the group expects a higher percentage of restaurants, minute-suite and other alternative experiences to be added to its portfolio.
Travelers, in turn, should end up seeing more utility out of the Priority Pass program beyond the traditional lounge experience. At the American Tap Room at Washington National (DCA), for example, travelers are permitted $28 in dining credit per visit. At the Minute Suites in Charlotte, travelers are given a block of free time.
By adding Grab to its portfolio, the Collinson Group appears to be preparing to create better interface among travelers, Priority Pass and restaurant partners. Right now, travelers visiting a Priority Pass lounge or restaurant need to present a membership card and swipe through a special terminal. But if that process could be automated through an app, there would be fewer points of possible failure in the transaction. On top of that, mobile orders could be placed ahead of time through the app, cutting down on congestion and transaction time at restaurants.
Grab, for its part, already has a head start on integrating with airport restaurants. Right now the app, which is available on Android and iOS, is already working with over 250 outlets at around 30 airports between the United States and the UK. Users can currently log in and pre-order anything from coffee to full meals with the technology, all while skipping often-long and time consuming lines.
Collinson’s investment in the group suggests that Priority Pass will eventually be used in many of those transactions, but for now, the news is simply centered around the cash injection. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.