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Mastering the Art of Celebrating Your Airport’s Milestones

15 Jul 2020
Marc Ive

When your airport achieves significant milestones it’s time to celebrate. Whether you’ve reached a notable anniversary or are approaching your one-millionth customer, these successes are worth sharing, not just for the sake of boosting your own business morale, but for the marketing benefits your achievements can bring.

Three reasons to celebrate your airport’s achievements:

  1. It’s a chance to improve employee morale.
    When your airport meets a target or reaches a major milestone in customer service, it’s important to celebrate this with team members who have contributed to the landmark. Paying attention to big moments creates a positive culture within the company, with everyone striving for success.

There are lots of ways in which you can show your appreciation to employees, not least by publicising the milestone to customers, associates and stakeholders. By acknowledging the contributions of staff you create a team who feel valued and strongly connected with your airport’s business goals. Consider hosting a party for employees or arranging a retreat or event to celebrate their achievements.

  1. It demonstrates your proven track record to customers.
    When your airport achieves something great it is important to share it with existing and potential customers. Company milestones demonstrate your position as an industry-leader and show that you can be trusted. You can publicise your milestones as part of your marketing strategy in the following ways:
  • Publish a press release explaining the milestone, why it is important and how it benefits your customers.
  • Send an email campaign telling your customers about your news, and sharing any special events that surround your milestone. If you’re having a celebration or ribbon cutting ceremony at the airport, send out an invite so people can be involved.
  • Offer loyal customers or loyalty-scheme members personalised rewards or discounts for helping you to get where you are today.
  • Share about your achievement on social media. If you have reached a significant anniversary, consider posting a video showing ‘then and now’ images and notable moments in the history of the airport. If you have reached your millionth customer, can you find your first customer and get a photo of them together?

In 2018, Springfield Airport celebrated by giving a commemorative ‘Thanks a Million’ pin to every passenger on the flight that transported its millionth passenger. The flight, entirely by coincidence, also carried a frequent business traveller who had flown on the airport’s first flight. As well as the lapel pins, the occasion was celebrated with water cannons as the plane landed, and in the terminal passengers were met with balloons, food and speeches by community leaders. One Springfield resident who on the flight, said flight attendants had informed passengers that there would be festivities.

“It was really exciting,” she said. “It’s nice, during this environment, to have something positive to celebrate.”

More ideas:

  • If you’re nearing an important goal, like serving one million passengers, share a competition in which the millionth customer will win flights or another prize of value. Create a hashtag for this contest and use it to attract user-generated content, catch customer data and build a buzz around your airport’s activities, routes and destinations.
  • Advertise your achievements in the terminal too, so that passengers travelling through your airport are aware of your milestones. This information goes a long way towards building customer trust and brand credibility, and to giving passengers the sense that their experience in the airport is ‘something special’.
  • Make sure to add the information to your website, whether in the form of an updated logo, a banner image or a pop up window. You might like to add a page explaining how you achieved your goal and including strong images and video to highlight your special occasion.
  1. It’s a chance to reflect on success and business goals and build strategies for the future.
    While your airport will be working towards goals and KPIs on an ongoing basis, milestone moments are a useful time to reflect on the steps you took to get to where you are. This allows you to consider where there is still room for improvement, to highlight the steps or changes that led to your current achievements, and to look for points to improve in the customer journey.

There are several questions you can ask:

  • How can you continue to build momentum long term, both from a business perspective and in developing customer relationships?
  • Do you need to make any changes to your business model now this milestone has been reached?
  • How does the milestone help to identify your airport as a brand?
  • Looking back, what, if anything, would you have done differently?
  • What changes did you make to your marketing and sales processes to achieve your goals?
  • Did you need to make any sacrifices in order to reach your milestone?
  • Have you reviewed your business plan and set strong business goals for the future?

When your airport reaches a major milestone, it is important to mark the occasion with valued employees and customers, building more moments to celebrate long into the future.

Milestones are a marketing tool that can help lift flat sales, build relationships and generate excitement and attention around your airport’s products and services. While some occasions present an obvious cause for celebration, you can also create your own reasons to fly the flag for what your airport is doing:

Share good news

Your airport won a local business award or partnered with a new local supplier, let people know.

Remember anniversaries

It may be your anniversary, or your customer’s. Personalise customer experience by acknowledging important dates such as birthdays and wedding anniversaries, or the anniversary of their first booking or flight with you. Honour these milestones with anniversary cards, discounts or free gifts to say thank you and acknowledge their value as loyal customers. With Rezcomm’s email marketing tools, this task can be automated for every customer in your database, making sure you never miss an anniversary.

Company anniversaries can also be a powerful way to reinforce brand stability and reliability. If you’re celebrating 50 years flying, this ramps up your credibility as a world-class provider. It’s also a chance to make special anniversary offers to both loyal and prospective customers, simultaneously promoting your achievements in the past and your goals in the future.

Welcome new customers

A customer’s first contact or booking with your airport is an important milestone in the customer journey. When someone signs up to your mailing list, make sure this triggers an automated ‘welcome’ email. Celebrate new customers and clients, and offer them incentives to make a second booking. It is much more difficult and expensive to attract new customers than it is to retain established buyers, and a true customer relationship is established by repeat purchase, so a first-time purchase really is a significant event.

Share new routes, destinations, airport concessions or products

New routes, products and services deserve attention. Your customers want to know about relevant products that will improve their journey, and will appreciate an email letting them know what’s new. Don’t forget to add a human element by celebrating the people, technology and customer input that contributed to making this happen.

Make the most of milestones

Make the most of your big moments by weaving them into all your customer communications, including your social media, website, and even booking confirmation messages. People love to be involved in happy occasions and to feel included and important. Celebrations are uplifting, positive reasons to stay in touch with your customers and clients, and can build engagement and brand advocacy. Use them to your advantage within your marketing strategy.

In June 2018, London Gatwick Airport celebrated the 60th anniversary of its opening. Gatwick used the milestone to underpin its reputation as an airport at the forefront of innovation, investing billions over the years and constantly pushing the boundaries to deliver the best possible experience for passengers.

In 2017, Exeter Airport marked 80 years of flying with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the terminal building. Exeter operated throughout WW2 and now serves over 40 destinations, handling more than 40,000 aircraft movements every year. The airport, which originally consisted of a tented terminal and a grass airstrip marked with a 100-foot diameter chalk circle with the word ‘Exeter’ written in 16-foot high letters, is now one of the fastest growing airports in the UK, with more than 900,000 passengers in 2017. It supports around 3,000 local jobs and contributes £150 million a year to the local economy. It used the anniversary to promise ongoing choice and growth to its leisure and business passengers.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. By thinking critically about the process leading up to your milestones, you can ensure that you can create more reasons to celebrate and ultimately grow your airport business long into the future.

Rezcomm is the partner of choice for airports worldwide. The team are experts in supporting airport sales and marketing through smart, intuitive tech. If you have any questions about how you can use our integrated platform to engage customer loyalty and build your brand, contact us for a chat.