The number of airports across the country is increasing by leaps and bounds. According to the United States Department of Transportation, the total number of public and private airports in the US grew by 29% between 1980 and 2017.
Thanks in part to increased marketing efforts – and selling points – airports are no longer viewed as a place to be endured during the traveler journey, but rather, a destination in their own right. From an investment in ambiance (e.g. aquariums and yoga rooms), to increased flexibility and affordability, airports are improving their tactics to attract travelers.
With this influx of amenities and increasingly competitive fares, how can airport marketers appeal to travelers and stand out against their competition? Below, we explore how two airports, Appleton International Airport and Auckland Airport, did just that.
Appleton International Airport
Located between Green Bay and Milwaukee in central Wisconsin, Appleton International Airport (ATW) had recently rebranded and added several new routes. Despite the changes, they had not received the anticipated volume of bookings for both their established and new routes.
To drive more flight bookings, we worked with ATW to create a campaign promoting new routes to already popular destinations and highlight rates that were more cost-effective in comparison to other, nearby airports. ATW believed that showcasing these routes could ultimately drive demand for the airport and raise its brand awareness.
ATW connected with their audience by timing their campaign based on proprietary search and booking data. Knowing that the airport had regional appeal, their strategy targeted shoppers located in Appleton, Green Bay, Wausau-Rhinelander, and the Milwaukee metropolitan area. The campaign also targeted shoppers who were either currently searching for or had recently searched for popular spring break destinations such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa/St. Petersburg, or Phoenix.
ATW wanted to reach customers at all phases of the path to purchase—from inspiration to booking. To achieve this, they:
- Placed ads on multiple pages across Expedia.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, and CheapTickets.
- Used marquee ads on Expedia.com to increase awareness.
- Highlighted cost-effective fares in comparison to other airports in the surrounding area.
- Showed ads on the search results pages to shoppers who were ready to book.
- Featured routes to the above-mentioned cities so that shoppers could consider these routes even if they didn’t appear on the search results page.
A 40% year over year increase in demand for air tickets. “Expedia brands have become a core component of our marketing program,” said Patrick Tracey, Marketing Director, Appleton International Airport. “The dramatic increase in airline sales was beyond our expectations and helped to drive our best year in history.”
Flight sponsored listings can also help increase demand for airlines. This solution secures a more prominent placement in search listings for airlines, which in turn increases visibility and demand.
Auckland Airport + Hawaiian Airlines
Award-winning Hawaiian Airlines sought to increase market share of booked flights from its US hubs to Auckland. They collaborated with Auckland Airport and MasterCard on a campaign.
Hawaiian Airlines had recently opened new routes to Auckland, New Zealand which the Auckland Airport wanted to promote. With these new routes, Hawaiian Airlines saw an opportunity to increase market share and Auckland Airport saw an opportunity to increase passengers.
Hawaiian Airlines, MasterCard, and Auckland Airport worked with us to create an integrated advertising campaign that targeted US shoppers across all Expedia Group US points of sale. The campaign incorporated display advertising, email marketing, and Passport Ads, a form of audience extension.
Using both Expedia Group’s first-party data and Hawaiian Airline’s data, the campaign developed a targeting strategy which included:
- Route targeting for on-site display ads. This allowed Auckland Airport and Hawaiian Airlines to get in front of travelers searching for specific airline routes.
- IP targeting for offsite, Passport ads, which focused on travelers in specific regions and were looking for airfare originating from Hawaiian Airlines’ major hubs.
Between August and March, the campaign generated more than a twenty percent increase in passenger demand for routes between Hawaii and Auckland and nearly a forty percent increase in demand for routes between the U.S. and Auckland.
These are just two of the many success stories from airports that have connected with more passengers and driven tangible results by leveraging digital advertising campaigns.