Through this blog, we will take a look at different airline companies and see how they are utilizing social media. What better place to start than by looking at the Airline industry as a whole, and seeing how airports are using social media to reach fliers. With more and more fliers connecting to social media airports as well as airlines need to be connected. Due to an increase of fliers using smart phones and being constantly connected to a wireless network, Airports need to be able to recognize these trends and capitalize on them; however, as David McMullen finds in his “Harness the Power of Social Media“ article that only 14.8% of airports are committing 100-150 man-hours per month towards social media. The norm is fewer than 50 hours per month.
It appears that unlike airlines, airports are lagging behind in terms of social media usage and effectiveness. The exception being London Gatwick Airport, whose digital communications manager, Mandie Armstrong began to put it into practice. SimpliFlying takes a look at Gatwick Airport and how they are using social media to redefine themselves as a more family focused airport.
The aim of their reinvention is to be an easier airport to fly in and out of if you have a big family with little children. In order to take stress away from the parents, Gatwick teamed up with SoundCloud, a music and audiobook streaming website, to use stories written by unpublished children’s authors. These stories were then uploaded to SoundCloud and were available for free download while in the airport. The airport went even further to make a channel on SoundCloud dedicated to these books called the Gatwick Fairytales. These downloads took the form of QR codes, that once scanned, they would take the viewer to a recorded story.
These signs were placed in key ‘line spot’ such as baggage check and claim and boarding party waiting rooms. Then they recorded the downloads. 70 authors contributed work and the most popular stories were downloaded more than 200 times. Gatwick didn’t stop there; after this in order to gauge the effectiveness of the project even more they asked for feedback on their official twitter account. They also hosted a FAQ through their twitter account in which followers could ask any question they liked about the airport and the CEO Stewart Wingate would answer. Since the first of three FAQ segments, their official twitter page has 109,000 followers.