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106 Guidebook for Conducting Airport User Surveys 5.6 Measures to Obtain Adequate Response Clearly, getting people to respond to a survey is an important component of project success. If there are no respondents, there is effectively no survey. In addition, if the response rate is not high enough, it is questionable whether the results should be generalized to the population of interest. Airline passengers are almost by definition in a hurry and stressed. If they are leaving home, they have all the emotions associated with that. If they are returning home, they may be rested and exhilarated from a wonderful vacation or exhausted from a difficult business trip. Regardless, departing passengers have to stand in what are often long lines, deal with security, remember the latest rules or instructions, worry about getting to the gate on time, and actually find the gate. Actually departing passengers are generally inclined to participate in surveys despite the hurry and the stress (at least in part because they usually don't have anything better to do while stand- ing in line or waiting for their boarding call), but there are still several things the survey plan- ning team can do to maximize the response: Limit the length of the survey to the number of questions necessary to obtain genuinely needed information. Make sure that potential respondents understand that the survey is sponsored or sanctioned by the airport, both by the way the interviewers are dressed (perhaps in identifying clothing) and by the content of the introduction. Emphasize the survey purpose in the introduction, and explain why the information is needed. Ensure that the questions are clear, comprehensible, and sensitive to concerns about personal information and confidentiality. Hire interviewers (or people to hand out questionnaires) who are intelligent, personable, and not afraid to approach a wide variety of strangers. Make sure the interviewers smile as they approach people. Pay interviewers enough to attract capable people and to ensure they stay for the duration of the project. Aside from the difficulty of replacing interviewers, the longer interviewers stay, the more competent they tend to become. Provide a thorough and comprehensive training session. Ensure that interviewers are supervised, monitored, and coached as needed. Provide retraining as needed. Utilize positive feedback and incentives to maximize interviewer retention. Establish and enforce appropriate standards of dress, grooming, and conduct. Make sure all respondents are sincerely thanked. One other issue that is often raised in this context is the use of incentives for survey respon- dents. Those who have tried respondent incentives are inclined to think they are not worth the cost or the challenge of hauling them around and accounting for them. As noted previously, most air passengers are inclined to participate in airport-sponsored surveys anyway; all airports really need to do to ensure high response rates is make it pleasant for them to do so. 5.7 Location-Specific Guidelines Every airport is different. This section discusses some of these differences and how they can affect air passenger surveys. 5.7.1 Multi-Airport Cities A metropolitan area served by a number of airports presents a problem in determining the characteristics of air passengers with respect to the entire metropolitan area. Analysis at this level