Reaching The Airline Traveler Through Digital Displays

June 15, 2016

It’s unlikely that anyone looks forward to going to an airport anymore. From this summer of excruciatingly long security lines, to being packed like sardines into ever-shrinking airplane seats, to the myriad flight delays, cancellations and snafus, air travel for most people is no longer fun. In fact, it’s a pain. And, unfortunately for airports, much of this pain is beyond their control. They can’t mandate that the TSA employ more security workers. Airports can’t force the airlines to make seats wide enough to fit the average-sized modern human. And, they can’t control air traffic control or the weather. So much of what we hate about travel is beyond an airport’s control.

To offset these pain points, airports are upping their games, trying to make what could be an unpleasant situation for the air traveler as pleasant as possible. One of the ways airports are improving the in-airport experience and increasing revenue at the same time, is by implementing digital applications throughout their facilities. According to Airport Business, many airports are looking to signage for improving their marketing.

From adding signage that can better guide passengers to emergency messaging to promoting an airport’s array of bars and restaurants, there are good reasons to put time and effort into improving digital displays. J.D. Power and Associates reports that happy passengers spend an average of 45 percent more than grumpy ones or $20.55 versus $14.12 on airport retail purchases in shops and eateries.

For advertisers, airports offer a captive audience of sorts, particularly with passengers who have layovers or are stuck after a flight was delayed. With a large and steady amount of traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are plenty of opportunities to engage with airline travelers. Advancing technologies in the digital display space are making it easier than ever to reach customers while they are traveling. And these same digital displays give advertisers the freedom and flexibility they have long craved. Typos and errors can be fixed in a nanosecond. Messaging can be swapped out at the click of a mouse. The flexibility and responsiveness in the digital space is liberating for many advertisers, where companies today are able to communicate one-to-many, rather than business-to-business.

Another advantage of playing in the display space for advertisers is the ability to buy remnant media slots. Demand-side platforms let advertisers of all sizes and budgets have a seat at the advertising table. And, the results can be tracked. The inability to truly track and validate results of ad spend has been the bane of many advertisers’ existences for years. They’ve typically been held hostage to what ads a media company says ran. There was no true “proof of play.” But in the digital display space, ad runs can be validated. Proof of play tracking is being built into digital display technology, and this is a huge boost to advertising.

Digital display technology gets more sophisticated by the day in figuring out what a specific customer wants to see. It is now possible to embed artificial intelligence like hyper-targeting and customer sensing (knowing who a person is when he approaches a display) into the display to enhance customer experience.

Digital display signage is expected to surpass traditional signage by 2017. And as more digital signage becomes available, advertising costs for this platform will decline. This is a good thing for advertisers. But, the digital display is only as good as the messaging it is displaying. So, while the display is an incredibly helpful tool in reaching customers, advertisers can back themselves into a corner if they haven’t fully considered the impact they are trying to have through messaging. In a sense, that’s what so exciting about digital displays. The opportunities for messaging are limitless – there is so much that can be done to make messaging via digital relevant and personal to the consumer.

Deborah Fisher is the vice president of global marketing for Nanolumens.