First and foremost, our world today is more connected than ever before. Over the last decade – especially the last five years – this connectedness has been most influenced due to the proliferation of the Internet, the immense popularity of social networks and the rapid rise in smartphone usage. This hassled to the rise of a new kind of traveler who is not only increasingly connected to thousands of people in his/her virtual networks, but also uses these networks to find recommendations, share reviews, and photographs as well as to complain when brands make a mistake. All while hopping between airports.
At the same time, airport marketing today is not just a function of communications. Instead, airports are increasingly competing to attract passengers from nearby airports as well as simultaneously improving their route network. This has led to a number of airports investing in innovative products and service initiatives in order to differentiate the airport experience and, ultimately become a preferred airport of choice to passengers. Due to all these developments, airport marketing has dramatically evolved.
Airport marketing is undergoing a transformation and finally waking up to the immense opportunities in the age of the connected traveler. Airports are not just engaging travelers and providing customer service online, but also gaining real-time, location-specific customer intelligence, while driving revenues.
Airport marketers are seeking to engage passengers with innovative campaigns, both online and offline. Apart from investing in experiential marketing campaigns, many airports around the world are equipping themselves with the tools and know-how to leverage the digital marketing revolution, experimenting with social platforms and launching mobile campaigns that link the online and the offline world.
The digital and mobile revolution has extraordinary implications for every airport, as the connected traveler expects airports to be accessible in their “pockets”, whilst receiving excellent customer service on the go, as well as a more tailored airport experience resulting from improved customer insights.
The real and virtual worlds are fast merging. A more connected world as implications for the offline marketing space as well. Increasingly, airports are realizing that a powerfully executed offline campaign will inevitably result in online advocacy. Indeed, for many airports, “real-world” campaigns are tuned to drive maximum buzz online and have a digital component. For instance, a number of offline campaigns are leveraging mobile technologies such as QR Codes to ultimately drive revenue.
Types of Social Media & Usage
Over the last several years, the variety of social media platforms have grown exponentially, whether it is for career goals or connecting with friends. Many airports, oftentimes larger, international airports have utilized these networks for promotion of their brands and creation of new brand communities. In 2011, the business advertising expenditure of building, maintaining, and continued presence in social networking is estimated to have reached US$6 billion. The method of advertising between one airport and another differs greatly based on their set goals. For example, if an airport wishes to view the customer feedback on programs offered or new, more efficient methods of serving customers, Twitter would be the preferable option as it sports a much simpler open blogging layout rather than it’s competitor, Facebook. Although passengers are typically the focus group, airports also use social networking websites to connect to stakeholders, travel trade, and airlines. There are multiple categories social network websites in which airports utilize to reach their desired group. In a blogging format, the information within a blog is updated regularly and provides for commentary, as well as sometimes photos and videos. These are usually own by airports on their