The San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP) has won a first-place award for its terminal opening outreach in 2017. Recognized by leading industry organization Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA), the airport topped the Special Events category for “excellence in planning and executing unique special events in pursuit of the airport’s mission.”
The coveted Excellence in Airport Marketing, Communications, and Customer Service Awards recognize quality and creativity within airport marketing and public relations programs during the previous year. In 2018, ACI-NA’s contest received more than 300 entries in 20 categories.
SBP’s first-place win in Special Events was due largely to the fact that the airport took the same collaborative, thoughtful approach to opening the new terminal as it did to constructing the facility. In order to both celebrate the important development and also educate travelers on how to use the new terminal, the outreach team designed several events aimed at different audiences. Through a series of events in October and November, including free public tours, a media tour, first-flight ribbon cutting and a private reception, the San Luis Obispo community, stakeholders and visitors had a chance to experience all of the effort and consideration that the airport had poured into its new home.
To ensure enough resources were available to coordinate the events, the airport partnered with Perceive Communications, Inc. As a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business specializing in strategic outreach for airports and public agencies, Perceive Communications was able to guide the overall strategy for the opening and provide management services for the reception and media tour.
“It was essential for the airport that we take the time to properly introduce the community to its new terminal,” said Kevin Bumen, director of airports. “Through a variety of successful events, we were able to share years of work with the public, our stakeholders and the media. We’re grateful to our friends at Perceive Communications, Q&D Construction, Visit SLO CAL, the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce and so many others who helped us celebrate this major airport milestone.”
“This award is a joyful conclusion to hundreds of hours of planning and execution,” said Katie Franco, director of strategic outreach for Perceive Communications, and manager of the SBP terminal outreach events. “The airport cared very deeply about sharing the new terminal with its community and was involved in every step of the process, from developing fact sheets to leading public tours. It’s wonderful to have everyone’s efforts recognized.”
The airport was recognized at ACI-NA’s annual Marketing and Communications conference in Ottawa earlier this month. Chicago O’Hare International Airport received the Special Events honorable mention.
“Our industry’s ability to tell the dynamic and compelling story of airports is extremely important to helping us advance as an industry,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “Airports like San Luis Obispo are going above and beyond in connecting with their passengers and amplifying their message about the airport’s essential role in their local communities. ACI-NA is delighted to applaud the innovative work and the talented individuals who are telling our industry’s story.”
The airport has won additional awards for the construction and development of the new terminal. In October, the airport was named Best Airport/Transit Project in Southern California and Hawaii by Engineering News-Record, and in May, the development team won the John L. Martin Partnered Project of the Year Award from the International Partnering Institute.