As for any other services the consumers’ decision in their choice of airport is based of course on the convenience of the location, on the number of destinations available or on airlines companies that operates here, but also on the level of awareness of the airport brand as well as from its word of mouth reputation. Airports are therefore as eligible as any other brands to use social media to:
- Improve their customer services
- Handle crisis
- Build relationships
- Increase commercial activity
- Entertain and provide a positive and enjoyable experience to their customers
Here are 2 examples of how airports are successfully using social media to achieve one of the previously listed objectives:
San Francisco Airport – in partnership with Virgin Airlines – uses Foursquare to generate non-aeronautical revenue in its Terminal 2
Foursquare is a location-based social networking app that allows registered users to post their location at a venue (“check-in”) and connect with friends. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues and special badges can be collected when a specific objective has been unlocked (e.g. Check in 5 different beaches). San Francisco Airport created a Foursquare challenge for passengers travelling through Terminal 2, by encouraging them to check in at different retailers of the Terminal to win unique badges and enjoy specific check-in offers.
How can this have a positive impact for the airport?
- Customers entertainment and satisfaction: Passengers who often have to wait for a long time before embarking are provided with a fun and informative game that help them kill time and get information on the different retailers available in the Terminal.
- Drive non-aeronautical revenues: Retailer specific check-in offers represent an incentive to purchase.
Foursquare added value is that users can connect their Foursquare accounts to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which can update when a check in is registered. Each time someone does it, they announce to their friends on these social networks that they are at that particular retailer. They can even leave a comment about their experience in the shop to share with the community.
London Gatwick Airport uses Twitter to service their customers and handle their requests
LGW Twitter account is both used as passenger support, and as a means of contact with the airport. Twitter is obviously a useful tool to provide accurate and timely information about delayed or cancelled flights but also to respond to passengers enquiries or comments. Gatwick Airport excel in the latter matter by running 24/7 Twitter customer service support. Using the #askgatwick hashtag, customers can be sure that no matter what time of the day or night, Gatwick can respond and address immediately their enquiries. Thanks to this campaign the airport is the first UK airport to be listed as a trusted source of information.
Using Twitter as customer support might be seen as common but the real innovation with Gatwick Airport is that they display their Tweet feeds on a big screen in the middle of the airport , allowing customers to see both other passengers tweets that need attention and the airport’s responses and their timeliness.
I think LGW Airport could even go further and build stronger relationship with its customers on Twitter by providing passengers with duty-free special offers or touristic information of what to see in London. Any other ideas?
Here is a useful article with a lot of statistics and examples about the use of social media in airports: Airport world: Listening and Learning
I hope you will find my article helpful. Good luck with your assignment!