A focus on non-aeronautical operations and revenue growth is crucial for airports today.
Developing this area of airport operations has become even more important during economically challenging times. In the majority of cases, an airport's revenue streams depend on the number of passengers an airport serves; lower traffic equals lower income. Nevertheless, there are some areas of an airport's non-aeronautical operations that can still generate a high percentage of earnings, despite a decline in traffic figures.
Airports drive revenues from number of activities, one of which is sales of advertising spaces inside and outside of terminals. Passing through an airport of any size and located anywhere in the world, it's mpossible not to notice some kind of advertising at one point or another.
Advertisers have come up with several new, innovative ways to creatively use available space to communicate specific messages to those who utilize airports.
Lately, we are getting exposed to more sophisticated methods of brand promotion. Airports are getting keen on allowing companies to showcase their products and services to prospective buyers in more creative ways. Rather than using more or less traditional, static or digital media formats, companies are interested in providing passengers with a chance to experience and interact with a product or a service. Nonetheless, it seems that a major part of smaller, regional airports cannot see the potential of such strategy when it comes to offering their terminal spaces to advertisers.
It is obvious that expanding media offer, investing new opportunities, but technology can be overwhelming.
Special events, branded spaces, and sponsored areas amenities not only drive non-aeronautical revenues, but also give airports a chance to create a social buzz, reduce cost, improve passenger experience, and provide entertainment in a highly stressful environment.
At the same time advertisers can experience exclusive opportunities that make them stand out from a crowd of not always appealing airport ads.
Changing the way airports think about terminal space intended for advertisement seems crucial. A relatively small number of airports have changed their relationships with advertisers and decided to go a step further; creating meaningful and valuable partnerships with brands can help airports in number of ways.
From the airport perspective, this approach to airport advertising seems to be the most interesting and attractive. Airports try to reduce their operating cost to meet their budgets. At the same time, passengers expect services that sometimes cannot be provided due to the lack of resources. By passing some of the costs on external companies, airport operators have a chance to provide passengers with improved services, or services that would not be available otherwise.
Airports such as Zurich, Frankfurt International, and Dubai International have teamed up with well known tobacco companies to provide millions of smokers that pass through their terminals each year with exceptional services.
Smoking lounges do not seem to be the necessity for most of the passengers. However, there is a large group of travelers that appreciate an amenity that not many airports provide. Investing in a new facility that may require a significant amount of money and caters only to a small percentage of passengers does not seem to be cost-effective for most airports. That is the reason why finding the right partner, which can partially or even fully absorb the cost.
Improving the customer experience is a critical issue for any airport. In today's fast moving world, passengers look for experiences that make them feel special. A service that differentiates the airport from its competitors can greatly improve the loyalty and satisfaction amongst it's travelers.