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What is the Redefining Airports project and why has it been introduced?
Airports are fundamentally changing and the Redefining Airports project places Eye Airports at the forefront of this evolution. Aviation audience numbers are at an all-time high. We are redefining how brands can capitalize on this audience who are in an alert and engaged mindset. We believe that the best way to help clients realize this opportunity is through digital signage. 

This has led to an unprecedented £8m [US$12m] investment in advertising media and technology across the Eye Airports network, spanning London Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted and many regional airports. It is the largest UK airport advertising investment this decade and a real opportunity to reach the biggest domestic airport audience with these new benefits. Digital allows advertisers to turbo-charge creativity, relevance, immediacy and engagement on a scale we have not seen before in out-of-home (OOH) advertising.

What are the main challenges of introducing digital screens into airports and how do you overcome them?
There really isn’t much of a challenge because the installation of large-scale projects is always after hours. We’re fortunate to have great partners and suppliers who we work closely with such as ADXBA, Daktronics, NEC and GDS. Our airport partners are also fantastic and understand the importance of collaborating closely. We recently worked with architects remodeling London Stansted to ensure that digital signage is intrinsic to the passenger experience and this will continue.

Why are airports adopting digital signage? What do airports want from their digital screens?
Digital signage adds to the revenue stream and improves the airport environment for passengers. High-quality digital adds a world-class and unique element to the airport experience. Consumers have a choice of where they fly from and anything that positively adds to their experience will influence that choice.

What are the benefits in terms of revenue?
Digital will grow revenue for airports as it unlocks new advertisers and budgets in the airport space. Advertisers can create impact through full-animation creative, they can supply real-time creative and they can capitalize on real-time data to fuel their content. This is just the tip of the iceberg for what we can do in the airport space for the right people at the right time, which will ultimately bring new revenue.

How are passenger demands changing and informing the marketing strategies of airports?
Airports are now marketing themselves as brands and they’re investing and striving to constantly improve. We know that travelers now expect their holiday to begin in the airport. They demand a smoother check-in with a more relaxing experience, mobile ticketing, more rounded retail experiences with greater choice, purchase prompts and big-ticket item consideration. Everyday mobile use doesn’t stop in the airport. Airports are some of the most common places for people to ‘check in’ on Facebook, so social media, along with real-time travel information, is crucial. Mobile presents an opportunity to serve audiences relevant and effective advertising.

How can this technology be future-proofed to ensure a good ROI for airport operators?
It’s interesting that Skyscanner’s recent white paper on the future of airports suggested that the relaxed, open atmosphere in airports makes them a good testbed for future technology. With this in mind, Eye Airports remains up to date on new advertising formats such as touchscreen and beacon technology to offer both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ engagement through mobile. This will continue advancing while digital OOH will continue to act as a prompt to mobile as, arguably, mobile content cannot do this alone.

With our airport partners we strive to constantly maintain our state-of-the-art screen technology. We need to future-proof this investment so that we have best-in-class hardware and software delivery. This is important as we expect to see rapid changes in the next few years with the explosion of real-time ad serving and programmatic trading. We are well placed to deliver against this exciting future.

For more information on digital signage opportunities in airports, read Seen on screen in the March issue of Passenger Terminal World.

March 5, 2015



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