Throughout this discussion, I will examine several best practice examples of the use of web 2.0 applications at airports. International Digital Marketers, Abaar.net, in their review of the world’s best airports use of social media, indicate it is important to have a good mix of content in social media, and recommend 40% informative, 30% news, 20% fun and entertainment and 10% user generated content.
Savvy airports utilise social media to promote themselves as destinations. Facebook. Twitter and YouTube are the most commonly used web 2.0 applications. One such savvy airport is Changi Airport in Singapore, and they were recently awarded a SimpliFlying Award in Social Media Excellence for their “Be a Changi Millionaire’ promotion.
The video was shared across facebook, twitter, youtube, youku, blogs, news sites and campaign microsites. The result of the campaign: concession sales grew by 18%, 4415 entries were received per day, concession sales increased by 13% yearly, sales of over $500 per transaction increased by 20% yearly and 2.8 times its target of US$1 403 605 in PR value!
It is not just the world’s largest international airports that are utilising social media. Akron Canton airport in the USA embraces the use of web 2.0 applications. They were the first blogging airport in the US and launched their blog site in 2005. The blog site was designed due to its impact on SEO and brand affirmation. The airport also engages the online community with the use of Facebook. Flikr, You Tube and Twitter.
The social media microsite for Minneapolis -St Paul International Airport provides travelers with interactive information. For example, the microsite’s “Eat, Shop, Relax” tab directs you to coupons that can be printed or displayed on your smartphone and used at most retail shop and food and beverage outlets at the airport. MSP airport has over 1080 twitter followers and almost 900 facebook fans and they keep incoming and outgoing passengers informed about airline deals, and where to park.
As well as harnessing social media for revenue-producing opportunities, social media can be effective to assist with crisis management, which was recently demonstrated by Yeager Airport. In 2010, a jet overshot the runway. Messages about the incident and updates were posted on the airport’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as the contact details for the airport’s media representatives. By placing factual information on Facebook and Twitter in a timely manner, media sensationalism, rumours and fictitious reporting through media channels was prevented.
So how do Australian airports measure up? In April 2012, BAC and QUT announced the appointment of Associate Professor Alexander Dreiling as the Airport Chair of Innovation. The major challenge faced with the use of web 2.0 applications in an airport environment is the management of large-scale, multi-stakeholder, multi-jurisdictional, and socio-technical systems. To address these complexities it is important to implement holistic digital strategies meet a diverse range of stakeholder needs and preferences. In order to address these issues, the project involves the design of a whole-of-airport digital strategy using social media and mobile devices to communicate with passengers, visitors, business partners, contractors, employees, communities, media and government.
Brisbane Airport has also led the way in the use of social media, as it was the first airport to join online pin board, Pinterest. While BAP’s other social media platforms, facebook and twitter are focused on the sharing of vital information, the focus of pinterest is a bit more light-hearted and entertaining. As Brisbane Airport Corporation’s head of Corporate Relations, Rachel Crowley has stated “We think people will enjoy a place to ‘pin’ their happy memories of past holidays and trips and share their latest plane spotting milestones. It’s a fun site that celebrates airports, aviation and our city, Brisbane”.
I hope this blog has shed some light on how airports, both domestically and internationally, are utilising social media for the provision of important information to stakeholders and to generate revenue through the creative use of social media platforms.