I’m going to be blessed with the presence of many smart folks at the upcoming Airport Social Media Summit. The attendee list boasts marketing and communications pros from a variety of airports large and small. (Want a taste? How about BGM, CLE, CMH, CRW, CVG, DAB, DFW, LAX, MEM, PIT, TOL, YQB, YYZ…and that’s just a sample.)

We’ve also got some very bright folks from the agency world, including Paul Roetzer, founder of Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency PR 20/20, who happens to be our keynote speaker. Paul knows a bit about how to build a marketing agency, which, while quite interesting to me, may or may not be relevant to airport folks. However, that knowledge gives him pretty deep insight on how to pick a marketing agency,  and I’m pretty sure that’s very relevant to everyone who will be in Akron later this month.

Here’s Paul’s guest post,  7 Keys to Choosing an Effective Modern Marketing Agency, published today on the HubSpot Internet marketing blog.

Got questions for Paul? Bring them to Akron. We’re saving plenty of time for Q&A.


‘Tis been a while between posts. No excuses. So let’s just get back on the horse, shall we?

This is a pretty cool idea from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International (MSY)–a Facebook profile pic contest in which folks enter by uploading pics and tag the airport’s page. The resulting album is user-generated content that is (hopefully) relevant to the brand, and a tactic that gets the public thinking about you and your services. And one lucky photog gets to say she took the pic that is representing MSY on Facebook.

Good stuff.

As the October 23-25 Airport Social Media Summit moves closer, we’ve asked some of the speakers to share why they’ve agreed to be part of the event, and what participants will get out of it. This post is from Kristie Van Auken (@CAKristie) the senior VP and chief marketing officer at Akron-Canton Airport, which is both hosting the event and still celebrating the best traffic month in its 64-year history, not to mention eclipsing 30,000 Facebook likes.

Social media is so red hot, right? Well, “red hot” may be a bit of an overstatement. SoMe was so hot last year. Things change quickly in the communications biz, particularly at airports. While many airports were formulating their social media procedures and policies, big brands busted into the space with their top notch campaigns and big budgets.  Most of us eventually got into the game too, often dragging law departments and suspicious CEOs who were certain that there just wasn’t time for this “flash in the pan” strategy.

How can airports find and maintain their share of voice in what is now a very competitive arena? It is going to be tougher moving forward, that’s for sure. Welcome to the real (connected, me-centered) world. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and the like have fundamentally changed the way we communicate and it has opened a one-to-one portal with our customers. How amazing is that? And more importantly, what are you going to do about that?

The SoMe space continues to evolve as customer preferences evolve. CAK has been actively involved in social media for years, building on strong content and engagement strategy. We still have more to learn though. That’s why we are hosting the Airport Social Media Summit. We are gathering a bunch of experts in ROE (return on expression), best practices for crisis communications, and leading strategists…so basically, the people we learn from.

I am absolutely certain that you will be a stronger communicator after our power packed day-and-a-half of intense, deep-dive social media training.  This isn’t for the faint of heart…it is for the diehards who believe, as I do, that engagement is critical to customer conversion.  Those who attend will add more Likes, will measure your influence more accurately and will be a greater asset to your airport and community as a result.

Can you afford to miss it?

Join me. You won’t regret it.

Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport has revamped its website. One notable addition: a social media hub that includes a live Twitter board. Very sweet indeed.

We’re less than eight weeks out from the 2011 Airport Social Media Summit, and while the agenda is pretty well sketched out, the content can be as fluid as our attendees make it. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to use this blog, Twitter, and maybe a few other outlets to engage with folks coming to (or thinking about coming to) the meeting, and asking for input on specific sessions. I’ll make sure our speakers are checking in, so they can take the feedback that comes and see if it can be incorporated. At the very least, they’ll be ready for the Q&A!

For now, attendees, you have a homework assignment. Everyone will be attending the Monday PM workshops on content creation and engagement. We’re splitting everyone into two groups and running session twice to maximize time with the facilitators. We picked the word facilitator on purpose–these won’t be passive presentations. Rather, the group will be working on real-world challenges that the attendees bring to the table.

So, got an event or a milestone coming up that you want to put some social media tactics behind? Did you have an exchange with a Facebook page friend that didn’t go so well? Bring the basics to Akron and the group will sink its collective teeth into it during the workshops.

While you’re focusing on that assignment, be thinking about the other agenda topics, too–legalese, working with airlines and other partners, putting it all together with your existing marcom efforts, and the rest–and be ready to answer the question posed so eloquently by the fine fellas below. ‘Cause I’m gonna be asking.




By now, many in the airports world have seen Glacier Park International Airport’s (FCA) creative use of its TSA checkpoint video to help convey a fun message from the airport.

What’s brilliant about this besides the content itself (the shot starting at :22 is priceless) is that it uses an existing outlet to send a simple yet important message (“Thank you for flying Glacier Park”) to its audience in a fun, engaging way.

Many airports have these videos, and most of them consist of the informative yet month’s-worth-of-rain dreary stuff contained in the three-minute stretch that starts at 1:48. By changing the delivery, FCA has turned a mundane task (explaining to passengers how to get through the checkpoint) into a PR piece for the airport–and that’s before factoring in the mini-viral nature of the video itself, which has entertained more than 50,000 viewers via several postings on YouTube.

Talk about a stellar example of integrated marketing/communications….

Well, that was fun.

Now back to the important stuff–like blogging about airport marketing and planning #CAKSoMe.

Today’s mobile marketing campaign announcement by Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport is the perfect way to get AirportIMC (not to mention Facebookville and Foursquare nation) fired up.

Now, I’m not much of a checker-iner, unless I’m getting a seat for my troubles. But put me in a confined space with competing retail outlets and some time to kill (those TSA checkpoints are getting more efficient, right?) and I’d jump all over opening myself (or at least my smartphone) up to some good old-fashioned push marketing, and I bet I’m not alone.

For the airport, this is a textbook win-win. Tenants get help marketing their businesses, and passengers feel like they gain a bit more control over what can often be a pretty dismal process. (Hey, I love airports and all, but come on….)

DFW is definitely helping set the pace, and they’re not alone at the front of the pack. Earlier this year, SITA Labs and Copenhagen announced an augmented reality app that does more than pitch deals from adjacent retailers–it actually shows travelers what’s nearby. It uses W-iFi to help with the triangulation that’s needed to pinpoint exact locations.

With airlines shifting to a la carte service offerings (read: no freebies unless you’re flying up front), in-airport concessions become even more palatable for passengers, and profitable for airports. Efforts like DFW’s stand to put the fast-forward on that track.