- Passengers (consumers);
- Air carriers;
- General aviation users;
- The airport organisation;
- Investors and bond-holders;
- Concessionaires (operate passenger services in terminal buildings);
- Service providers;
- Federal government (bill payer, operator and regulator);
- Local government (some airports are not privately owned);
- Communities that are affected by airport operations;
- Non-governmental organisations;
- Business, commerce, tourism, arts, sports and education organisations (their clients arrive through the airport or they are direct users of the airport);
- Parking operators and ground transport providers; and
- Airport suppliers.
Each of the airport stakeholders have different goals to meet, which in turn reflect the airport’s performance as a whole. For example passengers would like to be provided access to low fares and to be able to move quickly and conveniently; whereas concessionaires aim to maximize passenger volumes and minimize the fees paid. Evidently, there are many areas of the airport business that can discussed; however for the purpose of this blog post I am going to focus on the Airport’s passenger group.
So what do airports have to do with social media? Firstly, airports were the selected organisation for undergraduate students to research and write a business improvement proposal about; although the organisation is extremely interesting to research in regards to the many ways social media can be incorporated. Secondly, airports in Australia do not appear to have adopted social media to help achieve their goals – particularly with passengers. Airlines and concessionaires have both implemented many social media strategies to improve communication with this stakeholder group, such as the Malaysia Airlines MHbuddy service or even My Starbucks Idea (discussed last week); however Australian airports are a little behind compared to their stakeholders. As Andrew Dreiling (2012) suggests, airports should be using social media to promote the areas their passengers are traveling to. One airport in London for example, uses social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Qype, Foursquare, mobile barcodes and Soundcloud to be built into every stage of a passenger’s journey.
Gatwick airport reach their customers at different stages of their journey such as trip planning and pre-departure; at the airport; and once the passengers have returned. Gatwick’s social media stradegy allows their passengers to learn about new routes and also take part in competitions on their Facebook page. Gatwick airport successfully integrated the use of multiple social media platforms to give their customers a great experience whilst they travel through their airport in London. So what does this have to do with the assessment piece?
Gatwick airport’s case study has given us many possible ideas on how social media can be integrated into the organisation to achieve the goals relating to a particular stakeholder group. If Brisbane international airport, for example, integrated a Facebook app to post on a passenger’s behalf when they have landed in their destination area, the passenger’s family members will know when their loved ones have landed immediately rather than having to wait until they are contacted. The airport could then possibly integrate Twitter into their customer service side, where passengers are able to tweet their experiences on the airport’s page and also read the airport’s Concessionaire’s posts about specials and promotions in the one place. The airport could use a linked Facebook page and Twitter account to post statuses/tweets about the weather in destination areas, alert passengers of delays and even just an informal communication tool. This form of micro-blogging allows the passengers to have the airport’s tweets and posts automatically streamed into their news feed, even after their holiday. YouTube could also be incorporated to support the micro-blogging strategy, publishing promotional videos or even funny airport security footage to the airports passengers/fan-base.