Studies Show Value, Missed Opportunities in Reaching Air Travelers

Air travelers are a highly desirable audience for advertisers, but airports don’t always make it easy to reach them. That’s the message I take away from two separate studies on air travelers and out-of-home advertising -- one conducted by Scarborough for Clear Channel Airports, the other by Opinion Research Corporation for NCR Corp., a provider of airline and airport self-service, retail, wayfinding and mobile solutions.

First the good news: Scarborough’s survey of roughly 2,000 adults ages 18+ found that business frequent fliers, defined as adults who have taken three or more business-related flights in the last year, are 83% more likely than the average American adult to be the first to try or buy a new product or service. Meanwhile regular frequent fliers, defined as adults who have taken three or more flights in the last year, are 56% more likely than the average American to self-identify as an early adopter. What’s more, frequent fliers of both persuasions (who together comprise 36% of all fliers) boast an average household income of $125,000 -- and roughly three-quarters said they remember noticing airport advertising and reading the messages.

Now for the bad news: Many airports and airport retailers aren’t doing an optimal job of communicating their own services to travelers, resulting in missed opportunities for more revenue. That finding is based on an online survey of about 4,000 travelers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany by Opinion Research Corp.

The OPR survey found that 35% of U.S. travelers said they find it difficult to find stores, restaurants, and other kinds of retail in airports -- a sentiment echoed by 34% of survey respondents from the U.K., 30% in France, and 23% in Germany. Travelers mentioned a number of potential improvements which might induce them to spend more money in airport retail, including mobile coupons delivered within the airport, self-checkouts to speed up retail transactions, and interactive kiosks that allow the shopper to browse other products besides those available in the store, then make purchases for home delivery.

These new findings on airport travelers and marketing come just as the airport out-of-home advertising marketplace in the U.S. is heating up. Earlier this month Titan announced that it is launching a new division, Titan Air, which will compete with Clear Channel Airports and JC Decaux Airport, Inc.

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