March 11, 2021

The Role of Airport Advertising for Returning Travellers

In our recent blog The Return of International Travel we looked at what the Prime Minister’s recent roadmap meant for the aviation and travel industry, as well as consumers and advertisers.

We discussed how airlines and operators have adapted to more flexible offerings, the rapid surge in travel bookings following government announcements, and GWI’s (Global Web Index) latest Coronavirus multi-market study which revealed that those in the UK were 108% more likely to take a foreign vacation in the next year. All figures which are sure to increase as time goes by and consumer confidence continues to grow.

These recovery proof points are further supported by a forecast from London Heathrow Airport which shows an expected passenger retention of between 64-89% from May until the end of 2021. Alongside the growth we would naturally expect to see across the summer months, the airport reaching a retention rate of between 71-89% across October-December is a sign that many are planning to take their trips later in the year, meaning advertisers need to consider their campaign phasing in this environment accordingly.

At Plexus, we have strived to keep our clients regularly updated throughout the pandemic as restrictions change almost daily across the aviation sector, as well as within each market itself. For advertisers, the past few weeks have marked a shift in confidence. The beginning of 2021 has already seen a number of long-term holdings renew and inventory sell out for Q4, alongside a renewed interest in Q2 and Q3 campaigns. The past month has seen a change in tide with a resurgence in advertiser interest in recovering markets, and now Airports are a feasible media option once again, they should form a key touchpoint in any media plan moving forward in order for advertisers to reach their audience throughout the entire consumer journey.

The airport is a unique environment, reaching consumers in a mind-set unparalleled to any other environment. Brands that advertise within this environment are considered prestigious and luxurious – a survey carried out by JCDecaux and ResearchBods comparing the perception of brands across 5 environments showed that those advertising within the airport are perceived to have a higher value, with the audience expecting to pay almost 7% more for a product they see in the airport, compared to the average price they’d expect to pay across the 4 other environments measured; Print, Online Display, Social and TV.

With many having not been able to travel for up to a year now, the sense of excitement and optimism whilst in the airport is expected to reach a peak as passengers return in significant numbers. Digital inventory allows advertisers maximum flexibility as they return to the environment, providing the ability for advertisers to react to short-term travel bookings and activate campaigns with smart scheduling, whether that is by time of day or week, or based on the arrivals and departures of flights to and from certain destinations. We have also seen the development of new inventory such as branded hand sanitiser stations in some airports and it will be interesting to see how advertisers harness this opportunity in the future.

As consumers return in abundance to the airport and with confidence at an all-time high since prior to the pandemic, there is no better time for advertisers to harness the unique benefits, consumer mindset and flexibility enjoyed in the airport space. 

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