The connected airport: an opportunity for advertisers

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James McEwan, deputy managing director of out-of-home media firm PSI, speaks to Passenger Terminal World about how developments in global air travel are giving rise to new opportunities for brands and retailers to reach travelers

The aviation industry, like so many, has not been immune to the momentum of the digital revolution and has benefitted from the increasing prevalence of technology in all aspects of travelers’ daily lives. In the airport environment, in particular, this technology presence is giving rise to a wealth of exciting new opportunities for advertisers to reach travelers in more tailored and useful ways as they move through terminals.

The success of online check-in has removed some of the waiting time associated with air travel and handed more control to the passenger, while experiences such as passenger security and baggage handling are set to become far more streamlined thanks to new technological innovations.

So if the passenger can avoid much of the check-in process and speed straight through security, they are inevitably going to be more relaxed and willing to engage with retail, entertainment and advertising experiences that will enhance and personalize their travel experience.

From an advertising perspective,

we are already reaping the benefits of technology in the airport environment.

It is of course providing the applications and programs that are improving the air traveler’s experience. It is also enabling access to a much richer degree of data – allowing us to tailor advertising experiences to these individual travelers, delivering content that is relevant to them, at the right times and in the right locations.

A great example of what’s already possible is a campaign we deployed last October at Gatwick Airport, to promote O2’s international SIM card. The campaign used a combination of flight arrival data, dwell time data and baggage reclaim data to trigger dynamic messaging not only to the appropriate individual carousels, screens and locations, but also in the native language of flights from Poland, Ireland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.

We are seeing a growing number of dynamic campaigns such as this one, plugging into real-time passenger, airport and airline data feeds. However, despite recent research by our sister agency Posterscope revealing that ad-serving relevant content to the appropriate audience at the right time can increase campaign effectiveness by at least 15%, these campaigns still remain the few rather than the many.

Left: O2’s international SIM card campaign at Gatwick Airport

Technology, data and connectivity are giving rise to new media and brand partnership opportunities and the future will see more seamless forms of direct and indirect advertising in the airport environment. ‘Traditional’ touchpoints will become more personalized, and the ability to understand where the traveler is on their journey, and identify typical behaviors at specific points in the journey, will enable retailers and advertisers the opportunity to target these travelers with even more relevant and useful marketing activity at the most appropriate point during their journey.

What’s happening today gives us a hint of the new and innovative ways we’ll be able to reach travelers in the future. I’m certain this will inspire new advertisers to embark on the journey with us.

April 27, 2017

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