Airport MarketingLatest Thinking on Gaining a Competitive Edge

Launched June 2009 Updated August 2009 9 lectures
Dr. Anne Graham
University of Westminster, UK

In recent years, the airport sector has moved from an industry characterized by public sector ownership and national requirements, to a new era of management dominated by the private sector and global players. Airports are now complex enterprises that require a wide range of business competencies and skills in order... read moreto meet the needs of their users. Moreover deregulation of air transport markets, in Europe and elsewhere, has made the airport sector much more competitive and has given airports greater incentives to develop innovative, proactive and aggressive marketing strategies. New types of airline models, such as low cost carriers, have also emerged as a result of deregulation. In many cases these require a completely new approach to be adopted by airport marketers and a further deviation from past practice. The traveling public is also becoming more experienced and is generally placing greater demands on the airport operators at a time when more stringent controls, especially as regards security, have been introduced.

Whilst marketing is now as fundamental to the success of the airport sector as to any other business, airport marketing is also considered increasingly important due to the impact it can have on the economic and social development of the surrounding area. This is particularly the case when tourism or cargo traffic is being considered. For this reason, airport marketing undertaken by publicly owned airports may often have wider objectives rather than to just enhance the success of the airport operator. Due to these wider implications collaboration with other interested stakeholders such as tourism and regional development agencies is more commonplace within airport marketing than in many other industries.

As airports have become more proactive and innovative in their approach to marketing, they have become more sophisticated in their segmentation of the market. This involves more effective and detailed market research and more focused product design and marketing campaigns for target market segments. The branding of an airport with a distinctive name is a growing trend.

It is the aim of this series of talks to explore these recent developments and to give insights into best marketing practice. This is done by dividing the talks into two broad themes. The first theme focuses on current thinking related to various aspects of an airport’s marketing strategy. The second looks at a range of different marketing techniques which have been developed for different market segments which are particularly relevant to today’s airport business world.