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Marketing airport destinations with effective communications

23 Dec 2021
Sarah Marks

“Where can I travel to?” is the question on consumers’ lips. Now people are adjusting to the new normal, getting vaccinated and regaining their appetite for international travel, the competition to win their custom is on. And thanks to ecommerce integrations, airports have the opportunity to compete with booking sites and airlines to sell flights, hotels, holidays and other travel ancillaries directly from their websites, gaining valuable customer data in the process. But to be successful, airports must get their communications just right.

While global passenger traffic is not expected to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until 2024, there’s no time to sit around and wait for it to happen. Recovery starts at home, and now is the perfect opportunity for airports to increase their communications, connect with customers and market the destinations they serve.

Influencing travel decisions with airport marketing communications

Which destinations can I travel to? Are there any restrictions in place? Do I need a COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination? Will I need to wear a face mask? What can I do when I get there? Will I have a normal holiday?

When it comes to international travel, consumers have a lot of questions.

In a recent survey by PWC, almost 85% of respondents said their travel decisions hinge on the communications they receive. Consumers are hungry for information right now, so why not use this opportunity to get them to sign up for your airport communications?

Generating sign-ups for your airport marketing comms

Before marketing your airport destinations to customers, you need to get their permission to send them communications. The way to do it is by providing answers and valuable travel information. Use your expert destinations knowledge as the basis to gather sign-ups for personalised communications.

The more sign-ups for your email and SMS communications, the better, as ultimately, it will drive more potential customers into the sales funnel and lead to an increase in conversions.

We’ve shared some of the different ways you can gather sign-ups for your comms below, but the key is to make your sign up form visible everywhere and present your airport as a knowledgeable and trusted source of information.

Sign-ups checklist

  • Social media
  • Landing pages
  • Website and blog
  • Retargeting ads
  • QR codes

Social Media

An effective way to generate sign-ups for your airport email communications is through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Social media is one of the go-to sources for consumers looking for information about where they can travel and the type of experience they will have there, with 1 in 5 people using social media to research their trips. Capture their attention with visual, engaging destination images, video guides and even user-generated content gathered from previous customers.

Once you’ve captured their attention, encourage them to click-through to your airport destination landing page to get their questions answered.

Since every subscriber is worth money, you might want to consider boosting your social media content or creating paid promotions to reach a wider audience. Remember, the more people you get into the sales funnel, the more you’ll get out of it.

Landing Pages

If the purpose of your landing page is to generate sign-ups for your airport comms, you must gear everything on that page towards the visitor sharing their email address and checking that all-important consent box.

Entice them with attention-grabbing language with the promise of exclusive content, VIP offers and personalised travel support.

For example, you might want to create a landing page where users can check the travel restrictions for the destinations they wish to travel to (a little like the Green, Amber, Red list previously used by the UK Government). Encourage users to sign up to your communications for regular travel restriction updates and reminders about the destinations that interest them.

Website and blog

Add strong calls-to-action across your airport website to gather sign-ups. Everywhere from your homepage to your booking journey and blog posts should feature a CTA to sign up to your airport communications for exclusive destinations content and more.

Pop-up forms are particularly effective on websites and can be optimised to appear when a user first clicks on your homepage, when they’re about to click off or while they’re scrolling through your content. Be careful that your pop-ups aren’t too intrusive or block too much (or all) of the content on the page as this may affect your site’s user experience and search rankings. The simpler your pop-up form is, the better. Make it easy for customers to give you the information you want from them, and they’re more likely to do it.

Retargeting ads

If a visitor has left your airport website without signing up for your communications, you can use retargeting ads to draw them back in. A pixel is placed on their browser when they consent to your cookie policy. When they leave your site, the pixel will notify retargeting platforms to serve specific ads for your airport website, based on the pages the user visited. Draw visitors back to a relevant landing page with an incentive to sign up for your email communications. It’s an effective way to claw back missed opportunities.

QR codes

QR codes provide an easy way to encourage people to sign up for your communications, even when they’re not online. Consider placing QR codes around your airport for passengers to scan on their mobile phones. Once they do so, it should take them to a mobile-friendly landing page with a clear call to action. Be sure to include the basics of the offer or exclusive content next to the QR code and deliver it through your landing page to generate sign-ups.

Building highly targeted landing pages for you to market your airport destinations is easy with Rezcomm’s drag-and-drop landing page builder. What’s more, our Data Acquisition Form Builder simplifies the process of collecting customer information and marketing permissions. Build and publish forms on your landing pages and across your marketplace in just a few clicks.

Promoting destinations through engaging comms

Gathering sign-ups and getting customers into the sales funnel is only half the battle. The next stage is to use your comms to promote the destinations you serve and unlock revenue.

There are three main ways you can use your comms:

  • To inspire
  • To inform
  • To sell

You’ll find that different communications lend themselves better to some than others. For example, airports can use email communications to:

  • Inspire – with visual destination guides, and seasonal-based destination content
  • Inform – with travel restrictions info for a particular destination
  • Sell -upsells and cross-sells for things like COVID-19 and Security Fast Track tickets

On the other hand, SMS communications better inform customers with travel restrictions info, pre-travel reminders and in-airport offerings (such as for your retail stores).

The type of communication you send to promote your destinations will also depend on where your customers are in the buyer lifecycle.

Subscribers that haven’t booked yet

The communications with people that haven’t booked with your airport yet need to inspire them to do so. Share visual travel guides, destination videos and exclusive offers across your social media and drive users to optimised landing pages for each of your destinations, revealing even more in-depth information.

Tailor your email communications to your customers. Create personalised content based on the destination pages they’ve interacted with on your airport website.

All of your communications at this stage should be geared towards getting customers to book their flights (and other travel services/products) through your airport website.

Customers that have made a purchase

You’ve already inspired your customers to make a booking at this stage, but you still need to keep in touch to ensure they have the best possible experience with your airport. Use SMS and email communications to:

  • Keep customers up to date with travel information (and any restrictions) about the destination they’re visiting.
  • Remind them of anything they need to do before they travel, for example, booking a COVID-19 test and having their Covid Pass ready.
  • Share what they can do when they visit your destination – get them excited for their trip and share any exclusive offers from partnering businesses.

Use Rezcomm’s email sending service to deliver hyper-personalised emails at scale in sub 2 seconds and benefit from a host of powerful tracking tools to increase visibility and drive revenue from your email communications.

It’s also the optimal time to use your SMS and email communications to sell to customers. For example, an upsell for parking that gets them closer to the airport, a cross-sell for COVID-19 testing or security fast track tickets that will get them through your airport quicker and safer.

Rezcomm’s SMS messaging platform supports airports in sending bulk messages, booking reminders and personalised incentives to keep customers engaged post-booking.

Passengers at your airport

Airports must continue to serve passengers with valuable content, even once they’re standing in their terminals. Use SMS messages to inform and reassure passengers with information, such as flight times, delays, and expectations once they board the plane.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to sell in-airport products from your retail and food and beverage outlets. Consider sending an SMS message to customers with an offer or using QR codes within your airport that passengers can scan for special offers at the airport.

Customers that have returned home

Once your customers have returned home, it’s a pivotal time to communicate with them. Gather feedback and get them into your loyalty programme to generate brand advocates. Rezcomm has a dedicated loyalty and reward scheme module to support you in creating specific reward workflows tailored to your airport.

Don’t forget to contact your customers via email with any relevant offers on the destination they visited previously and suggestions of similar destinations they may want to book. For example, if they holidayed at a sunny beach destination, consider communicating the other beach destinations your airport serves. Or if they went on a romantic holiday to Paris, why not share a travel guide featuring the most romantic cities in Europe?

It’s also worth checking in with your customers on important dates. Consider sending an email communication on the year anniversary of their previous booking with you. Remind them of their wonderful experience at the destination and incentivise them with inspiring content to make another booking.

Benefits of using personalised comms to promote airport destinations

This brings us nicely onto the final topic of personalised communications and their value in promoting your airport destinations.

Did you know that 72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages customised to their specific interests and 40% are more likely to view recommended items based on information they’ve shared with the brand?

Rezcomm’s intuitive, centralised customer information management system gathers data from every customer touchpoint, enabling airports to build detailed profiles of their customers. They can then use this valuable data to inform personalised communications, ensuring they feature the destinations customers prefer and offer, up-sells and cross-sells based on customers’ previous purchases.

Promoting airport destinations with a marketing comms checklist

Ready to get started? Here’s a quick reminder of the actions you can take to promote destinations through your airport comms:

  • Identify the type of information about destinations consumers are looking for.
  • Showcase your airport as an authoritative source of information and gain sign-ups to your comms.
  • Deliver inspirational and informative destination content via social media, landing pages, email communications and SMS.
  • Use comms to support customers through the entire buyer lifecycle – not forgetting to upsell and cross-sell at critical points.
  • Use customer data stored in your CCIM system to create personalised destination communications tailored to your customers’ preferences and previous bookings.

Take your airport comms to the next level with Rezcomm

Now you’ve got the know-how, it’s time to secure the tech. Our plug-and-play marketing and business modules comprise everything your airport needs to create personalised communications delivered at scale. Connect with your customers, build trust and unlock revenue with Rezcomm. Get in touch to find out more about our marketing and business solutions.