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Interview: From ‘access control’ to Welcome

David Luken, CEO of SKIDATA, discusses the repositioning of the Austrian company’s key brand message – and what this means for its clients around the world.

Global access control group SKIDATA has recently defined a new purpose: “We change the World of welcoming people”. The new corporate mantra serves as a promise to turn its core business of access into a warm welcome, whatever the safety and operational requirements of its core markets: venues, parking and resorts.

David Luken, CEO, SKIDATA

On the back of the worldwide launch of the brand campaign, SKIDATA’s CEO David Luken has shared some views on how this new re-focusing of core message with help strengthen its position as the no. 1 access control partner and advisor for operators of parking facilities, mountain destinations, amusement parks and stadia.

Q. Why has SKIDATA launched the new brand campaign now?

Luken: SKIDATA is at the forefront of driving innovation in its core customer segments. We recognize that the world is changing rapidly, accelerated in many ways due to Covid-19, and therefore our customers’ needs are changing. As the global leader in access and revenue management solutions, we aim to stay at the forefront of this change. Since it is key for our customers, our organization and employees to all have a common understanding of purpose, we asked ourselves the question: Why are we doing this? The answer we came up with is, ‘We change the world of welcoming people’. This perfectly encompasses both our longstanding commitment to innovation while emphasizing our increased focus on the end-customer experience.

A friendly welcome is the first step to a successful customer journey. For example, the perfect ski day starts without waiting in line because you already booked your ski pass on the go allowing you to head straight to the lift with your ski pass on your phone. We strive to achieve these perfect ‘welcomes’ by partnering with our customers to assure skiers, fans, families and parkers have a fantastic start to their experience. To live up to this promise SKIDATA is becoming a more agile, globally connected organization giving us the ability to adapt to dynamic market environments.

Q. What is the meaning of “We change the world of welcoming people”?

Luken: Our company purpose summarizes SKIDATA’s DNA and represents the reason why the company and we, as the SKIDATA family, exist: We are more than a technology company, we strive to understand the needs of customers’ customer – and we satisfy these needs with an agile approach.

For us the meaning of ‘we’ is important. ‘We’ does not mean SKIDATA alone. ‘We’ means the combined effort of our customers, our strategic partners and SKIDATA as an organization – working together – to transform ‘access’ into a ‘warm welcome’. It is this collective effort which truly improves end-customer value. As the world’s leading provider of access and revenue management solutions, we serve nearly 100 countries working towards our local customer’s goals. This presence enables us to reinforce our customers’ trust by providing world-class on-site service.

With our consultative approach and our leading cloud-based infrastructure, we are changing the way innovative solutions are delivered to our customers. We are customer-focused and human-centered advisors offering our customers complete solutions in co-operation with best of breed partners through a comprehensive range of interfaces and integrations.

Q. How do your business customers – the operators of parking facilities, mountain destinations, amusement parks or stadia – benefit from your new purpose?

Luken: What is the best way to say “welcome”?

Over the past few years, demand for web-based, safe access in parking facilities, skiing destinations and event venues has increased – and Covid-19 has accelerated this trend. SKIDATA provides solutions for future customer requirements derived from relevant industry trends such as transition to the cloud, sustainability and increased security. By offering turnkey, integrated solutions for our customers, we establish a seamless experience to welcome end users to the respective facility. By welcoming every user, we help increase recurring visits and grow business for operators which is how we ultimately deliver true value in the eyes of our customers.

Q. How do the end customers benefit from your solutions?

Luken: The end customer’s behavior is the intrinsic driver of our innovations. That’s why we literally take the driver’s seat: What is important for the end customers? What is convenient for them? Everybody wants to feel welcome. Everybody wants transactions to be convenient. And everybody wants to feel safe. Our solutions exactly fulfill these needs. From purchasing your ticket online, to getting seamless access into a venue, to having the possibility to recharge one’s EV during a city tour, to using a smartphone to pay for your parking; all these contribute to convenience and feeling welcome and safe.

Q. How does SKIDATA manage the transformation to the purpose “We change the world of welcoming people”?

Luken: There are multiple examples where we’ve already innovated with the end customers in mind. From creating the first hands-free access for skiing resorts more than 40 years ago to touch free parking experiences and the world’s first NFC-ticket access to stadiums.

So, in many ways we’ve been living this purpose for as long as we’ve been around. Going forward we’ll continue to transform our processes so that we’re better positioned to further improve the way people are welcomed. We already have a variety of new ways to enhance the entry experience in the pipeline. For example, we’re revolutionizing the ski-experience with the world’s first mobile access solution which allows skiers purchase their lift ticket and access the ski resort using just their smartphone.

We manage complex projects throughout the world, aiming to increase our end-customers’ convenience and safety and optimize operators’ revenues. We work on a global and broad scope, but the motivation and collective mindset of all colleagues at SKIDATA is to change the world of welcoming people – every day.