Airport OOH insights: high flyers to premium professionals

18 Apr 2019  |  Steve Bernard 
Airport OOH insights: high flyers to premium professionals

Credit: Primesight

The largest ever consumer survey to take place in UK airports reveals some fascinating insights, writes Primesight's Steve Bernard

Between 2017 and 2018 UK airport passenger numbers increased by 2.4% to a total of 291 million, and increased 3.6% in Primesight’s airports alone (CAA Dec 19). With more people travelling through airports on an increasingly frequent basis, the environment is becoming ever more attractive to advertisers.

It’s right, therefore, to ask how much we know about airport audiences. After all, with millions of visits to airports undertaken in every part of the UK each year, there is no single type of ‘airport traveller’. It’s not even realistic to believe in the conventional ‘business’ or ‘leisure’ flyer.

Instead, there is a myriad of different types of airport visitor, all with different mindsets, travelling for different purposes, and each with a different perception of the airport environment. This means that advertisers have the opportunity to connect with specific types of people, moods and behaviour in each individual airport.

Crucially, these differences are not picked up through conventional demographics, so we have recently completed a study to further uncover who these people are and how they behave. Fortuitously we were not the only ones interested in such an endeavour. Out-of-home media agency Kinetic were also looking to study airport behaviour, and so we combined our efforts.

Working alongside YouGov, both Primesight and Kinetic have spent the past six months undertaking the largest ever consumer insight survey to take place in UK airports. In June 2018, YouGov surveyed over 2,100 respondents who had all departed from one of the 20 busiest UK airports within the previous 12 months — and this sample size enabled us to carry out a robust segmentation analysis.

Even before we examine the segments themselves, we now have a wealth of information about airport travellers. We have confirmed that people are most likely to be in a positive mood within the airport environment; 53% describe their mood as ‘happy’, and 31% are ‘open to new things’.

23% of respondents agreed that they like to treat themselves in the airport environment, and amongst those who describe their mood as ‘happy’ within the environment this increases to 29%, and 31% amongst those who describe their mood as ‘excited’.

The airport is a unique and, for most, an unfamiliar environment perhaps visited only 2-3 times a year. We have concluded that their behaviour will therefore differ from the norm and means that there will be a heightened chance of purchase.

Our strong sample size means we can look in detail at each of the busiest half-dozen airports in the UK. Therefore, messages can be specifically tailored in each airport based on the differences in mindsets, behaviour and purchasing habits found in each.

After careful analysis, we created seven segments from the results of the study, primarily built from the range of different behaviours, moods and attitudes on display within the airport environment, backed up with demographic data, flight length, propensity to spend etc. These seven segments offer advertisers a vision of the diversity of the UK airport traveller and flesh out what types of people these are and how best for brands to communicate with them.

For example, the way in which you talk with a ‘High Flyer’ (frequent business traveller) will differ greatly from someone in the ‘On The Up’ segment (25-44 year-old, less frequent leisure traveller), as the frequent traveller is unlikely to consider the airport to be a unique environment and will therefore be less likely to feel the need to make extravagant purchases, in contrast to a less frequent visitor.

The range of segments opens the doors of airports to a whole raft of different advertisers, many of whom may not have previously recognised a natural fit with airport environments.

The data enables advertisers to identify which airports best profile for their desired target audiences. Conventional demographic analysis will already tell us that the profile of London Gatwick will differ to East Midlands, for example, but now we can dig deeper and profile each airport based on which key segments visit each airport. Above all this means a more efficient means of targeting within the airport environment.

The airport segmentation study is a strong example of collaboration in the OOH industry, enabling greater efficiency for advertisers. After much consultation with other OOH specialist agencies and key stakeholders at each of Primesight’s network of airports, we plan on another wave of research later in the year which will continue to glean more insight into this diverse, affluent, and valuable audience.


Steve Bernard is senior research & insight manager at Primesight

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