James McEwan, managing director, PSI, highlights four key trends that will advance airport advertising over the coming year
Renovation and expansion of airports all over the world continue at a rapid pace as flyer demands grow and change. As a result, we’ve seen an increased drive for more integrated advertising within the airport environment, focused on reflecting passenger journeys and enhancing these through service provision.
Here are four factors enabling more engaging and timely advertising from operators throughout the travel sector:
(i) Data: As the collection, interpretation and simulation of data becomes ever more sophisticated, we can better respond to, and even anticipate, passenger traffic growth and volatility in response to real-world events. Our close partnership with travel expert ForwardKeys is giving us expansive global passenger data access, and enhanced interpretation and forecasting of this data has enabled us to create more targeted and relevant location-based communications throughout the entire passenger journey – something referred to by PSI as the Global Travel Corridor (GTC).
(ii) Personalization of experiences: Greater data access and sharing is aiding more enhanced personal experiences in terms of communicating with passengers, servicing passengers and retailing to passengers, the latter particularly driven in response to Generation Z’s purchase behaviors. Digital technology now enables advertisers to serve dynamic content to specific locations, in real time and in multiple local languages. Visa Bank of China recently took advantage of this capability to activate English and Mandarin content across a range of travel touchpoints including within the airport, downtown and in visitor hotel rooms.
(iii) Increased connectivity for travelers: Increased device connectivity will have a significant impact throughout the travel corridor, blending the offline and online worlds. A great example of this is FLIO’s app, which is currently connected to around 3,000 airports globally, providing wayfinding information, but also additional features such as lounge booking access, parking reservations, plus promotional vouchers for shop and restaurant use. FLIO has recently partnered with EasyJet, which will have a very positive impact on its passenger reach and penetration. JD Sport’s latest airport-based targeted campaign integrated tactical digital screen placements with location-based messaging on the FLIO app, delivering significant footfall increases and forecast-beating product sales.
Airports themselves are also increasingly investing in their own digital infrastructure to engage passengers before, during and after travel to improve the experience. Gatwick has installed 2,000 navigation beacons throughout its terminals to support its ‘App, App & Away’ service, which provides personalized, real-time flight updates, gate information, check-in and security queue times, plus shopping, eating and airport offers, all instantly redeemable from your phone.
(iv) Digital duty free: In Asia there is huge growth in downtown duty-free retail, which is fundamentally changing the travel purchase funnel and is a trend that will quickly reach other territories. Digital transformation is set to change this even further – a growing array of price comparison and customer advice platforms are entering the market and it’s been estimated that between 50-75% of Chinese travelers now plan shopping lists and locations ahead of travel. Here’s where on and offline begin to work in harmony in the travel corridor. Research has found that online touchpoints can increase the likelihood of visiting duty-free shops by 40% and the probability of making a purchase by over 100%.
Airlines are increasingly partnering with airports and duty-free operators to offer passengers a more diverse and personalized shopping experience – accessing this wherever and whenever they want to shop. Driven by the Asian market, many passengers can now pre-order purchases and arrange to pick these up at the airport or even have them delivered to their seats. Home and hotel delivery for such duty-free purchases is not far away.
Overall, the travel sector is becoming an increasingly complex commercial landscape for advertisers to navigate. With increased penetration of new technologies to assist passengers throughout their travel, and much wider duty-free influence on purchase funnels, it is important to understand how the power of all these different touchpoints and the data from them can be most effectively harnessed.
The focus for brands must now be on the end-to-end engagement of audiences throughout the entirety of their journey – it no longer begins and ends at the airport – and advertisers need to adopt a much more omnichannel approach. An effective campaign will need to communicate with travelers at numerous offline and online touchpoints across the GTC.