The Future of Self-Tagging

International airports are increasingly turning to self check-in machines as the number of passengers expands beyond available space. Future Airport Asia talks to Borry Vrieling, founder and managing director of Varilabel Europe – a leading global supplier of baggage-labelling solutions – about self-reliance, maximising terminal space and how self-tagging devices can make all the difference.

As passenger numbers grow all over the world, the prospect of even higher revenues has become apparent to airlines and airports. But on top of the opportunities, accommodating for expansion creates inevitable challenges. Existing terminals are difficult to expand and budgets have been stretched by rising fuel prices and increased competition.According to Borry Vrieling, founder and managing director of Varilabel Europe, improving these processes requires adapting to the technological age we live in. “Processing these rising numbers means using information technology,” he says. “It means simplifying the business and being smarter. ”The airline industry isn’t the only thing adapting to the information technology age. Modern communication technologies like the internet, SMS, mobile phone, WhatsApp and Facebook are all central to the lives of passengers. “We shop online without someone assisting us,” Vrieling says. “Of course, there are still products where assistance service is needed, like buying a house. But if we are able to buy a car online, we surely are capable of buying the commodities. And travel has become more and more a commodity that people love to be responsible for.

" With over five million passengers already using the system, the BagTag is proven to improve the passenger's percepton ofwhat an easy and comfortable baggage-handling can feel like."

Self-reliant consumption
That shift towards self-reliant consumption means more and more self-service initiatives have been introduced in the airport industry. Booking and checking in online or at a kiosk, self-service bag-drop points, e-gates and self boarding are just a few examples. “All these initiatives have one goal,” Vrieling says. “A positive end-to-end passenger experience that can get more capacity out of the existing terminals and create more revenue out of passengers. Take the self service bag-drop process; let’s assume that an airport invests in a high-end, one-step bag-drop unit, where passengers can check in themselves and several bags. A system that checks the weight and size of the luggage is able to accept your payment for excess luggage, and has all the necessary security features. In theory, a system like this is capable of getting the processing time for a passenger down by a significant amount and is therefore an important step in speeding up the end-to-end process. “But there is always the challenge of the weakest link and in many initiatives we have seen in the last few years, the practice does not live up to the theory. We cannot expect a modern bag-drop to pay off by using a system that was designed 40 years ago,” he adds.

No room for doubt
The trend towards self-service makes mistakes of this kind even more problematic. Without human assistance, the entire process needs to be more intuitive and less prone to error. Research shows that the bag-drop process is one of the most emotional moments in a passenger’s travel experience. That’s why so many manufacturers are putting time and money into developing simple and clear on-screen instructions that leave no room for doubt; making it clear for the passenger where to put the bag and how to scan a barcode. Even with this hardware technology and design the ‘self-tagging’ process remains difficult to control,” says Vrieling. “It’s a very new process where lot of things can go wrong. Passengers may not understand what to do and may look for assistance; they may think they know what to do, but then stick the BagTag the wrong way. Also, many passengers that don’t know what to do will be too proud to admit it. So it takes them a lot more time then calculated in the business model.

" Varilabel had designed the future of self-tagging. It's a 100% intuitive tagging device with a magic adhesive that only sticks to itsef and nothing else.

A unique solution
Varilabel’s self-tagging system is designed to rectify precisely this kind of problem. It’s a high-quality bag tag that has no backing to pull away and no parts that stick to clothes or bags. “Varilabel has designed the future of self-tagging,” Vrieling says. “It’s a 100% intuitive tagging device with a magic adhesive that only sticks to itself and to nothing else. We consider the BagTag a key component in the self-service bag-drop process and this magic tag makes every self-service bag-drop system live up to its expectations and creates happy passengers all over the world – as well as revenue for airports and airlines. At this moment in the process, an easy bag tag can overcome all of the problems discussed and make the bag-drop system technology really live up to its potential.” With over five million passengers already using the system, the BagTag is proven to improve the passenger’s perception of what an easy and comfortable baggage-handling experience can feel like. “Airport and airlines benefit as well, with happy passengers free to use the airport to shop and consume,” Vrieling says. “We are more than dedicated to this product and are already working with their future customers by jointly analysing specific needs where and when required.”
With passenger volumes expanding, products that allow people both independence and peace of mind will prove more and more important to the future of airport services.

Future Airport Asia |


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