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News | How Airport Concessions Can Win With Social Media Ads

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How Airport Concessions Can Win With Social Media Ads

249 Views / News Story by Advert On Click / 1 November 2023
How Airport Concessions Can Win With Social Media Ads

Concessions such as food, beverage and retail offerings account for up to 50% of airport revenue. As such, maximizing this non-aeronautical revenue is critical for airports across the globe.

Having been closely involved in marketing airport concessions for over a decade now, I know how stiff the competition is. While some airports offer a joint marketing fund, this does not create an equal playing field for all concessionaires. In my experience, it is vital for airport concessionaires to invest in novel strategies to capture time-strapped travelers’ attention and earn their business.

Social media advertising represents a major opportunity for concessionaires to promote their products and services to the right consumer at the right time and in the right place. 

Why Social Media Ads?

Travelers are generally advised to arrive at least two hours before their flight. On average, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes to go through security. That leaves approximately 90 minutes to kill before takeoff. So what do most people do? They pull out their phones.

Just about every person who enters an airport has a smartphone. (In the United States, there are almost as many smartphones as there are people.) Once they’re through security and make it to the gate, many passengers will while away time scrolling through social media apps.

Airport advertising is usually controlled by massive companies that charge a premium to run ads. Smaller concessions may find billboards, signage and other advertising options prohibitively expensive. Fortunately, you can run social media advertising campaigns for a fraction of the cost.

In addition to being cheaper than out-of-home advertising, advertisers are only charged when social media users view their ads. This makes campaigns extremely cost-effective for businesses of all sizes.

5 Tips For Marketing Airport Concessions On Social Media
Here are five tips to help you advertise your airport concession effectively on social media and maximize your ROI:

1. Hone Your Geotargeting
Airports are massive facilities. Denver International Airport, for example, is 53 square miles, which is more than double the size of Manhattan. Major airports are divided into multiple terminals or concourses, each containing different concessions.

The first step of a successful social media advertising strategy for airport concessionaires is defining the exact geographical area where you want to serve ads to potential customers. Proximity is key, as no one is going to trudge to the other side of the terminal for a newspaper and a cup of coffee.

Social media platforms like Facebook allow advertisers to create geotargeting areas as small as 1 mile. By keeping the area where ads are served very small, you will ensure that only people in the immediate vicinity will see the ad. This keeps the cost of social media ads low and improves the likelihood of a conversion (i.e., a traveler visiting your location and making a purchase).

2. Set Up A Beacon
A beacon is a small device that delivers location-based information to mobile phones with Bluetooth and/or GPS functions enabled. You can use beacons at strategically placed locations within the airport (such as maps, billboards, etc.) to deliver push notification ads to people nearby.

Beacons are a great way to capitalize on heavy foot traffic within a confined space (such as an airport) to serve ads to prospective customers. Their accuracy is unbeatable, as only people within a certain distance from the beacon will receive your ad. This ensures maximum relevance to the consumer.

3. Identify Your Target Customer
Knowing the demographics of your target customers (such as age, income, etc.) and the social media platforms they use is essential for creating successful social media ads.

In addition to robust geotargeting, social media apps provide advertisers with a wealth of information about their users. You can create custom and look-alike audiences based on your target customers’ characteristics, then run ads designed to engage customers meeting those criteria.

4. Emphasize Limited-Time Offers
With social media ads, a strong call to action is a must. One of the most effective strategies for driving business is the limited-time offer.

Travelers already spend a relatively short amount of time in the airport. Make sure your ads convey urgency to ensure that your ad translates into a sale.

5. Optimize Ad Copy
As a concessionaire, you serve very particular needs. No matter your offering—food and drink, magazines, luggage, duty-free items, etc.—it is important to create ad copy that resonates with your customers.

Advertising on social media to a user’s smartphone is a more intimate experience than, say, billboard advertisements. Make sure your ad copy is individualized to the customer’s needs. Are they hungry? Do they need to buy something last minute before the flight?

Once you know their needs and how you can meet them, create ad copy that offers an incentive. This could be as simple as “Hot Coffee Now. $1 Off. No Line, No Wait. Right Next to [Gate #].”

As a concessionaire, you should be empowered to spend advertising dollars in a way that keeps costs low while providing the greatest opportunity to land suitable customers. Social media advertising provides a decisive advantage over other forms of ads in terms of relevance, personalization and affordability.

Most people don’t put their phones on airplane mode until it’s time to board. With targeted social media ads, you can drive more revenue by giving travelers the push they need to take advantage of an airport’s food, beverage and retail offerings.