Airport Marketing: Not Exactly a Piece of Cake

Airport marketing is hard. If you’ve ever written a marketing plan, made calls to members of your business community, or even fielded a call from a disgruntled passenger, you’ve had a taste of the challenges. And they don’t taste like cake, that’s for sure. (Unless you hate cake, in which case maybe they do taste like that.)

So what makes airport marketing so difficult?

Cake PicFor one, you—the airport—don’t control the core product, which is the airline schedule. You don’t control the pricing or the delivery of the core product, and, as is the case in most airports, you can’t control the passenger experience as they move through security, concessions, and even boarding the aircraft.

And yet, when you tell that person you just met at a business-after-hours event that you work for the airport, you’re held accountable for that horrible customer service experience they had last Wednesday (and they still haven’t gotten their bags!). This is usually a good time to excuse yourself so you can grab a piece of that cake on the food bar.

The truth is, you—the airport, and sometimes you the individual—are held accountable for engendering loyalty from your community. You are responsible for growing the air service. Heck, a lot of people even hold you accountable for late flights, TSA pat-downs and high fares.

But when it comes to airport marketing, you do have some control.

Over what, you ask? Your brand. Your communication about the importance of air service to economic development and quality of life. You also have the ability (and a responsibility) to advocate on behalf of your community with the airlines, to develop and tell the community’s story in order to improve air service. (You also get to order the cake when you launch that hard-earned new service.)

And though you don’t have control over that core product, you do have the opportunity to exert influence over its delivery, and you can spearhead efforts to offset airline operating costs by generating non-aeronautical revenue, thereby lowering cost per enplanement and encouraging new service.

Come to think of it, there’s a lot an airport can do, both on the air service development side, and on the marketing side. From customer service to community engagement, your airport has many opportunities to influence public perception and utilization of your airport. Perhaps your marketing is strong in social media or events, or maybe your strength is public relations or your creative advertising campaign. But you might also have a nagging feeling that you’re not quite nailing it in one area or another, and sometimes what you need is just a little push in the right direction, a fresh idea, or a clear plan to get the ball rolling.

Turning to your peers can be a great way to learn how other airports have succeeded, and reading books about marketing just might spur some great ideas. But if you’re short on time, or you’ve already overturned those stones, we can help. The Quotient Group team has years of experience in airport marketing. We’ve been there and done that. We would love to use that experience to support you in serving your community. And we’ll even bring you cake.

Comments are closed.