All small to midsized airports go up against the same challenge: time versus cost. The local population is willing to endure long drive times to major airport hubs because of the perceived notion of lower prices on airfare.
Many times the smaller airports try to combat this price issue by stressing convenience or by pointing out the additional costs of gas, parking, hotel and travel time.
Over time, this message can become stale. Local airports have many more qualities to offer besides convenience. Here are nine ways airports can promote themselves without relying on the same ol’ messaging.
- Customer Experience
Traveling through larger hubs can bring thoughts of traffic, long lines and running to the gate to catch a flight. Smaller airports can offer a stress-free alternative.
Try a campaign that highlights the beauty of your terminal or one that captures the quiet moments. Sometimes you have to remind travelers that the airport experience can be enjoyable again.
- Personalized Service
Like the local supermarket, smaller airports have the opportunity to get to know their audience on a first name basis while providing personalized service. This level of service requires a unified understanding of what’s expected from each airport employee.
Once this standard is met, let the public know about it. This way, they can help you make sure the level of service is maintained.
- Be Business-Friendly
Studies show that business travelers make up over 65% of traffic at midsized and regional airports. It’s no wonder, since driving to major hubs can eat up valuable billable hours.
Make the majority feel like a priority by setting up business centers and making outlets plentiful and easy to find. Also, free Wi-Fi is a must. You can reward business travellers for their repeat business through perks like the ones you find in the Thanks Again program.
- Develop Community Support
When people feel ownership, they are more likely to support their local airport. However, people don’t necessarily buy (or fly) local just because they should.
Point out the impact your airport has on the community, both through the economy and quality-of-life. Be visibly active at community events and discussions to let people know that you are more than just a building and a runway.
Then, if you want others to buy local, you should do so as well. Bring local products and services into the terminal, not only for support, but to allow visitors to take home a bit of your community.
- Internal Promotions
Keep things fresh by bringing in unique offerings. Whether it’s a new drink on the menu or a new snow plow for the runway, use your social media outlets to get the word out.
Lifting up the curtain a bit will give people the inside scoop and allow them to feel like a part of your airport family.
Who doesn’t like to get something for free? At Swim, our experience shows that the best engagement happens when people have a chance to win something.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be a large travel package. Perhaps tickets to a local event or local products from your gift shop. This is an outstanding way to generate a little buzz on your social media outlets. It is also a useful tool to entice people to fill out a survey so you can get answers to those questions you have about your customers.
- Travel Inspiration
Anyone else out there use Instagram or Pinterest to search for travel ideas? Showing off beautiful pictures of your terminal or airplanes on these outlets is a great way to boost your visibility.
You can take these outlets to the next level by releasing travel pics from around the world and just down the road. Give your audience the itch to travel, then give them a reason to use your airport as the starting point of their next adventure.
Bring as many community events into your terminal as possible. For example, chamber networking events are a great way to bring in the business community.
Another idea would be to stage small concerts and exhibitions for local music or artists. Perhaps even host a taste of the airport by local culinary artists. No matter your idea, making your airport the community’s airport can go a long way.
- Have a Little Fun
Traveling should be enjoyable. Allow yourself to loosen up a bit and have some fun with your brand. Even handing out cookies and milk during the holidays can create a little PR buzz.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. We would love to hear some unique ways you have promoted your airport.