Airport Business

JUN-JUL 2018

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14 airportbusiness June/July 2018 MARKETING By Benét Wilson Create Your Airport's Market Take a comprehensive approach to marketing your airport to build business and attract more travelers. In the olden days, airports operated under the maxim "if you build it, they will come." Most felt there wasn't a need to publicize and market their facilities and amenities. But fast-forward to 2018, where travelers are spending record amounts of time — and money — in terminals across the country. And in most of the major cities, there are also airports competing for passengers. So we're seeing airports step up their game in putting the best face on their terminals and amenities. Nerissa Sugars is manager, air service development, customer experience and branding at Hollywood Burbank Airport in Southern California, where travelers have their choice of five airports. "Of course, we want them to choose Hollywood Burbank. To do that, we need to reach them with a strategic marketing plan," she said. The most significant marketing development is the name change in 2016, from Bob Hope Airport to Hollywood Burbank Airport, said Sugars. "In 2014, the airport contracted an external agency, Anyone Collective in South Pasadena, to help us rebrand. The primary goal was to help attract new passengers, especially those east of the Rockies who are unaware Burbank is a viable option for traveling to and from Southern California," she said. The heart of the rebrand is the new name that also serves as a geographic identifier, said Sugars. "Research showed most people outside of California didn't know where "Bob Hope Airport" is, so the need for a geographic identifier was critical," she noted. "When the name first changed, we focused the bulk of our marketing efforts on general awareness – telling people who we are, where we are, and why Hollywood Burbank Airport is the best, most convenient way to fly in and out of the Los Angeles area. So far, marketing the name change and new brand seems to be working, said Sugars. "Besides, of course, getting buy-in from the community and potential travelers, we really want to make sure the airlines are on board with the changes," she said. "We've spoken to representatives from the carriers that service us and we're consistently hearing they like the change because it helps clarify where we are." The next phase of the airport's marketing strategy concentrates on calls-to-action and engagements with new potential customers, said Sugars. "We're creating custom-targeted messaging across a larger base of target demographics," she said. Hollywood Burbank Airport works very closely with its marketing agency to determine what to highlight, said Sugars. "Again, we're touting convenience. So whatever we promote has to be in line with that. The product or service has to help make the airport experience safe, pleasant and comfortable for our busy travelers," she said. Social media plays a very important role as part of Hollywood Burbank Airport's marketing efforts, said Sugars. "We do have a budget for media buys on all the major social media outlets, along with print publications," she said. "But of course, our in-house social media specialist is able to promote airport amenities services and certain destinations where the main cost is her staff time. Having social media as a marketing tool that's generally free and having someone dedicated to the upkeep of that social media presence is valuable," she said All this is done with three staffers whose workload includes marketing responsibilities, said Sugars. "We also have generous access to the staff at Anyone Collective, our external marketing agency," she said. With bigger airports come bigger challenges — and opportunities. Tina Williams is the manager, business development, partnerships and advertising for Toronto Pearson International Airport, which served nearly 50 million passengers in 2017. "Marketing our terminals is what assists in giving our passengers an experience beyond travel," said Williams. "We approach every decision with a passenger-first mindset and being able to add excitement and new experiences to a passenger's journey is made possible through marketing the unique qualities of Toronto Pearson." "It's by offering unique brands and experiences that we show passengers that Toronto Pearson has an offering for all travelers," said Williams. The airport is constantly looking to push the envelope and bring better offerings to its passengers, said Williams. "Dylan's Candy Bar recently opened a 1,100 square-foot location with more than 500 different items, including a wide variety of candies, a chocolate station

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