How to Create a Clear Airport Communications Plan

Nov. 22, 2021
RK Ventures
Bold signage with clear messaging is important for communications with travelers.
Bold signage with clear messaging is important for communications with travelers.

Airport communications with passengers can be a challenge. Getting a message to travelers and the community presents a lot of hurdles, especially when you’re undergoing an improvement project which can upend how passengers pass through and use your facilities.

RK Ventures is leading the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) communications efforts through the $15 billion modernization of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) while simultaneously rebranding the facility.

Richard Kuhn, owner and executive creative director of RK Venture and Art Director/Senior Designer Becky Hahs shared some of these key takeaways from the project, which can give airports of all sizes some guidance when forming their own communications plans.

Consistent Style is Important

Hahs said they established a nice brand platform for LAX, utilizing a look and feel with a California style. Style of the messaging remained the same throughout the transformation of the airport. Even has renderings were replaced with photographs of improvements, the style remained the same. This shows its one cohesive body of work with the same voice while establishing the airport as one brand.

“We approached (graphics) as if they were billboards. People need to seem them from a distance and clarity of the message was very important,” Hahs said. “It also needed to be presented in a way that’s engaging, but with bright colors and beautiful illustrations.”

Kuhn said rebranding needs to work hand-in-hand with airport improvements. You need to determine what the brand is, what the brand experience is and what the objective of the brand will be. “We created a visual voice for LAX through the graphics and the brand is the entire package,” he said “The brand and the logo and those other elements all work together and complement each other.

Keep Messaging Simple

Kuhn stressed the importance of a simple message when educating travelers. They examined what message needed to be conveyed to travelers and made sure to keep it as simple as possible via calm and clear messaging.

“You have to keep at it. You can’t drift away and introduce something different or go in a different direction,” he said. “You have to keep pounding it over and over again so people will get it.”

The firm turned to digital signage and airline partners for messaging to arriving passengers. They provided airlines with a script about changes and information that arriving travelers would need to know and once the deplaned, the digital signage would guide them to areas like the LAX-it lot, a dedicated pickup area for catching taxis or App rides using eye catching graphics and animations.

Hone Social Media and Print Advertisements

The firm leaned on social media advertising and print advertising to reach the local LA market. Social media allowed them to stress the importance of arriving early to the airport, informing travelers of changes and promoting new amenities, such as prebooking a parking spot to alleviate some of the stress of travel.

“Print ad placement went into community newspapers fairly close to LAX, targeting residents who are close enough to drive and not taking Uber of Lyft,” Hahs said. “We wanted them to know that there’s a big, new great place to park.”

Plan for Holiday Travel

The firm undertook a safe travel messaging campaign in summer. Kuhn said the traveling public is conscious of hygienic travel, so they created a safe travel portal on the LAX website dedicated to information. Site statistics showed it had the highest numbers of visitors clicking through for the information, showing how important this was to the public.

As we transition into the holiday season, they will see if it remains high on travelers minds.

“At LAX, we’re constantly emphasizing arriving early,” Kuhn said. 

About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

[email protected]


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