Destination marketing


Advertising in airports is a big business. Companies like ClearChannel and JC Decaux sell millions of dollars worth of ads on wall-mounted billboards, digital signs, and other airport media. But one thing has always puzzled me: Why don’t they tailor the advertising at each gate to match where the plane is going?

Granted, only a limited number of airports have electronic displays that can be changed on-the-fly. Without this technology, they’d have to change out the ad panels for every flight, which is obviously impractical. But even in the airports that use flat screen displays to show the flight info at each gate, the messages usually consist of airline branding and maybe some ads for businesses in the departure city. Rarely do you see anything about the place that you’re traveling to.

What I envision is a combination of destination info, like the weather forecast, along with ads for restaurants, cab services, and other things that a traveler might want to learn about for the place they’re going. And this doesn’t have to be limited to displays at the gate area. For airlines that have TVs in the seat backs, that’s another obvious place for destination-based ads. You could even take this online, offering people coupons and promotions for their destination as soon as they book their airline ticket, hotel room, or rental car. Either way, this seems like an obvious way to improve ad targeting while delivering more value to travelers.