Growing troubles, how to carry out marketing in small regional airports

Source: Civil Aviation Resource Net Expert Author: Ni Haiyun 2010-11-30 14:55:45 I have two sentences ( 0 )

[ professional classification ] airport operation [ Article ID ] 37-2010-0128

The general manager of Heilongjiang Airport Group Management Co., Ltd. once told reporters: "The overall development trend is very good, passenger throughput is growing rapidly, and the market is developing rapidly. But I think the difficulty is still a lot: the old feeder airport is mainly historically owed. The accounts are relatively large, and the infrastructure, personnel, and support capabilities are relatively backward. The new feeder airports now seem to have some problems.” At the time of construction, the local government regarded the feeder airport as a public utility, and after formal operation, it completely regarded it as a business; The lack of necessary support in the growth period of the feeder airport has made it difficult to survive. Today's regional airports are facing “growth troubles.” At present, all regional airports in Heilongjiang are at a loss, and it is difficult to reverse the difficult situation in the short term.

Most of the above problems stem from the lack of clear positioning of civil feeder airports. Among developed countries in Europe and America, public welfare airports represented by US airports and operational airports or airport organizations represented by the British Airport Management Corporation (BAA) have their own strengths. Among them, the United States has positioned the regional airport as a “public welfare undertaking”, and the airport management agencies are mostly business-oriented rather than corporate organizations. Governments at all levels and the Federal Aviation Administration provide financial subsidies for the construction and operation of airports. In contrast, the UK regards regional airports as operational assets, positioning managers as airport management specialists, and creating maximum profits through diversified management models and effective business practices.

For China, the regional airport has to turn losses into profits. In the final analysis, it is to increase revenue and reduce costs through open source and expenditure reduction. For example, through the development of the aviation market, increase the main income, and on the basis of the main aviation industry, develop non-aeronautical resources, increase the income of the auxiliary industry; use the scale effect brought by the overall management to reduce operating costs. Regional airports can also use synergies to achieve resource sharing with local, trunk airports and other regional airports. There is no doubt that all of this is inseparable from marketing.

First of all, we know very well – no matter how you define marketing, effective marketing activities are an integral part of the airport strategy for today's airports. For airports with different operating modes, the most common marketing pressure is the “universal” airport, followed by the feeder airport, and its business activities are not as dazzling as large hub airports. However, this type of airport must also let your customers (especially those potential customers) know what your strengths are. What are the advantages? If it is a small feeder airport, how to establish close cooperation with the local community? This is the key to the success of this type of airport. Undoubtedly, all of this is inseparable from marketing, and it’s awesome!

Marketing planning

Any good plan should be simple and clear. This will clearly convey the goals you want to achieve to all stakeholders, including local communities (governments, businesses, etc.).

The key lies in forward thinking, thinking determines the height and depth, and thinking determines the direct success or failure of planning. If the thinking strategy adopted by the airport is high during the planning process, this often means that it has already succeeded in half. However, in general, small airports usually lack the generals, and there may be only a handful of their own marketing staff. How to deal with this kind of relatively embarrassing environment?

For example, the Greeley-Weld County Airport in the United States is an airport based on general-purpose business. The annual number of take-off and landing operations has reached 145,000; a total of 220 aircraft are stationed. However, it does not have many people, and the annual market budget is not high. The reason why the airport established a formal marketing plan is: First, there is Ft.Collins-Loveland Airport 20 miles west, and both parties want to compete for market share. Secondly, the airport itself needs to establish appropriate communication channels with the public (the airport authorities are negotiating an agreement to develop oil and gas resources in the airport underground). In the past, the airport was internally developed and developed marketing plans, and now decided to use the "outside brain." To this end, the airport contacted the North Colorado Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Greeley City Public Information Office, and invited students from the Aviation Department of the Metropolitan State College in Denver as the outside brain. In fact, the marketing plan was completed by the students. .

At present, many airports adopt a “brainstorming” approach. By using unconstrained rules, people are able to think more freely and enter new areas of thought, resulting in many new ideas and solutions. The characteristic of brainstorming is to let the participants open their minds and make the various ideas enlighten their creative storms in the collision. This is a way to collectively develop creative thinking. In fact, many airports can use their brains to conduct brainstorming and develop marketing plans. The entire marketing plan actually answers the following six questions:

· The specific objectives of marketing?

· Who is the target group? Where is the target market?

· What kind of information does the airport need to deliver and what kind of image is it built?

· What is the channel for communicating with stakeholders?

· How do internal resources (including staffing, financial support, leadership recognition, etc.) support marketing activities?

· How to evaluate the success of marketing? Have performance assessment systems and mechanisms been established?

In general, the marketing plan will eventually reach all stakeholders in a written report. If this report answers the above six questions in detail and clearly, we should think that this plan has achieved the expected goals. The key point is how to implement it.

The following table is the basic marketing planning framework: this is a process that evolves in order and cannot be reversed.

first step Market Environment Analysis
  1. Analysis of airport SWOT
  2. What are the main services provided by the airport? Who is the user?
  3. What is the future development or trend of the airport?
  4. The development trend of the aviation industry in the region (the region, the country and the world); the development trend of the airport?
  5. Competitive Analysis - SWOT Analysis of Competitors
  6. What are the problems at the airport?
  7. Where are the opportunities in the future?
Second step Marketing planning objectives
  1. First, you should use the target SMART principle to determine the marketing goals, and the goal is not to be too much.
  2. Be clear in each specific indicator – target market, competitive advantage, and specific measures to take action.
third step Action plan
  1. Based on the specific targets for this year, specific activity plans are identified, and the order of activities is considered in advance.
  2. Seriously study the internal and external resources required (mainly personnel, budget, materials, etc.); advance budget funds, do not hang on the shack.
  3. Strict management process, this is the process of strict implementation, while assessing the effectiveness of the plan in a timely manner, to avoid the embarrassing situation of “calculating the general ledger” at the end of the year.

The SWOT analysis and the target SMART principles mentioned in this table are very important concepts in management. SWOT analysis is a comprehensive analysis method of “strong and weak machine”, which is a method of analyzing the competitive situation of enterprises. By evaluating the advantages of enterprises (Strengths), disadvantages (Weaknesses), opportunities in competitive markets (Opportunities) and threats (Threats), It is used to conduct in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the enterprise and the positioning of competitive advantage before formulating the enterprise development strategy.

The so-called SMART principle is that the goal must be specific; the goal must be measurable; the target metric must be attainable; the goal is tangible, provable and realistic (realistic); Must have a clear deadline (Time-based). Whether it is to set the team's work goals or the employee's performance goals must meet the above principles, the five principles are indispensable.

These two management tools can be fully utilized in the marketing of the airport, mainly to avoid the process of “slap the brain and shoot the ass”.

Marketing planning steps

Here is a 7-step framework for the preparation and implementation of marketing plans introduced by the US Transportation Research Council. These 7 steps are mainly for small regional airports.

step details
1 Goal development: Brainstorming or historical data (statistical methods) can be used to set goals for this year, such as attracting new customers, increasing hangar rental income, and so on. In fact, this is the “hope” or “short-term vision” at the highest level of the airport.
2 SWOT analysis: At the same time taking into account the airport's own internal resources, such as the development of a grand blueprint, but in the end found that the lack of people and less money, simply can not be implemented, it will only take time and consumables. A good assessment of your internal capabilities is one of the key factors in the success of marketing planning.
3 Redefining goals: Based on SWOT analysis results (can be introduced into the help of the consulting agency); and a reasonable assessment of their internal resources, and finally correcting the goals set by the original "wish", the purpose is to make the goals more realistic and achievable.
4 Target Market/Action: Identify the target market. The airport cannot serve everyone and choose the most suitable service target (airline, tenant, agent, etc.). At the same time, develop appropriate marketing actions, including communication strategies with the community.
5 Marketing Tools: Choose the right marketing tool to pass your airport information to the target market: for example, choose the Internet? TV advertisement? Billboard? Or is it a form of radio broadcast? It is also a classic 4P combination in marketing – delivered to the right target customers at the right price through the right path and the right promotion.
6 Perform marketing planning: Execution is both the easiest and the hardest! Many airport leaders will think that there is no need to worry about the details of actual operations. In this view, the leader can be said to be quite enjoyable: you stand on the top of the mountain, think about strategic issues, and motivate subordinates with a variety of good visions, and some troublesome things are left to the manager. But in terms of implementation, what kind of leadership is there. After all, Li Shimin, who has taken history as a guide, has Wei Zheng who has committed Yan Zhizhen.
7 Monitoring and evaluation: All planning, regardless of how carefully deployed in advance, will be more or less biased in the implementation process, so the airport must establish the necessary monitoring and evaluation marketing planning. The most important one should be “quantitative monitoring”. Maybe we can find out whether the marketing plan can be implemented smoothly in one sentence – have we reached the goal set by the marketing plan?

Marketing goal

In this article, the author wants to focus on the process of formulating the marketing objectives of the airport. Peter Drucker, the American management guru, first proposed the concept of goal management in his masterpiece "Management Practices" in 1954, and then he put forward the idea of ​​goal management and self-control. The master of management believes that it is not the job that has the goal, but the opposite, the goal is to determine the work of everyone. Therefore, "the mission and tasks of the enterprise must be translated into goals." If there is no goal in a field, the work in this field must be neglected. Therefore, the manager should manage the lower level through the target. When the top management of the organization determines the organizational goal, it must be effectively decomposed and transformed into the divisional goals of each department and each individual. The lower level conducts assessment, evaluation and rewards and punishments. This shows the importance of goal management.

For the airport, if you want to succeed in marketing, there is no doubt that setting the right and the right goal is the “first step” on the road to success.

For example, the US Yuba County Airport is a general-purpose airport located in the north-central part of California. The following four objectives have been set in the Airport Marketing Plan 2008:

· Strengthen the image of the airport and integrate the role of the airport in the local community;

· Support the economic development of local communities;

· Develop policies to improve the financial status of the airport;

· Incentives for public and private companies to invest in airports and industrial parks.

Some airports have developed marketing plans specifically for aviation services. For example, the United States Chattanooga Airport launched the Strategic Plan for Enhancing Commercial Aviation Services in its 2010 Challenge document. Among them, five goals have been set: to consider fares in service products; to improve airline services; to improve customer service; to actively carry out marketing; and to establish emergency funds.

Many airports are prone to subtleties when setting goals and specific indicators. In fact, the goals should be simple and straightforward.

The most common target type of marketing
  1. Market expansion: The most common goal. For example, attract new customers, provide new services, develop new products, and so on. It is best to have existing destination airlines add new destinations because they have a better understanding of the existing landscape and market conditions. The airport should be aware that if a new airline is introduced and the existing airline competes directly on the original route, this will adversely affect the entire market.
  2. Market attention and segmentation: no specific market or customer base, no more widespread network; in fact, this is the differentiation strategy. For example, Houma-Terrebonne Airport in Louisiana, USA has always been the main helicopter base in the United States for coastal oil drilling. The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has further highlighted the role of the airport.
  3. Cost leadership: the minimum fee will also become a competitive advantage. On the one hand, due to limited competition in regional airports, the price level is generally high. On the other hand, if a small airport attracts low-cost airlines through its competitive overall price, it will often help the airport lower its price level. Many low-cost airlines operate at second-tier airports because of the overall cost competitiveness.
  4. Quality Assurance: Provide better quality products and services than competitors. For example, due to the limited number of flights at small airports, in the event of flight cancellation or delay, there is a limited number of sign-off services, which ultimately leads to dissatisfaction. If the regional airport can provide good reliability, it can often be a step ahead in the competition.

With the goal in place, the airport is undoubtedly the next step in developing a specific indicator system and action plan. If there is no support for the action plan, then any goal is spent in the water mirror. For example, Chattanooga Airport has formulated a specific indicator system for the fourth goal: through active publicity, the airport has become a convenient, reliable and cost-competitive regional airport in the public's mind; eliminating past mistakes and enhancing public recognition of the airport. Degree; re-establish partnerships with travel agents to meet future challenges; and connect with local media.

For the first target, Yuba County Airport has developed the following action plan:

aims Specific indicators Action plan
Strengthen the image of the airport and integrate the role of the airport in the local community Raise public awareness of the airport
  1. Regional air show
  2. Update the airport page and announce your own strategic plan
  3. Innovation airport sign
  4. Announce marketing brochure

The key to goal management is management. In the process of airport target management, the slightest slack and laissez-faire can be enormous. As an airport manager, it is necessary to keep track of the progress of each goal (the key is to monitor the action plan), find problems in a timely manner, and take correct remedial measures in time to ensure that the target is running in the right direction and progressing smoothly. Similarly, the achievement of any goal and the completion of the project must have a rigorous assessment.


In the late summer and early autumn of 2009, Singapore Kairui Management Consulting Co., Ltd. announced China's first national airport marketing report, “2009 China Airport Route Marketing Status Survey Report”. The survey results show that most of the airports have insufficient marketing expertise: for example, the professionalism of marketing is not strong, and the experience is insufficient. In terms of concept, market segmentation, market target, market positioning, and product service, it is still slightly behind. The specific reasons are as follows: First, the lack of experience leads to weak professional analysis ability, and there is a lack of theoretical and professional skills in marketing. Second, the airport is seriously inadequate in exploiting and utilizing potential markets. Third, the airport generally lacks awareness of branding and public image, and related work has not yet begun. Fourth, the design of service products has not been included in the scope of work, and the airport and airlines have not yet established a close cooperative relationship. At present, the airport cannot consciously provide differentiated customized services for airlines, which cannot meet the individualized needs of airlines under fierce competition.

This shows the urgency of airport marketing.

In 2004, China's civil aviation management system reform was fully completed, and civil aviation realized the separation of government and enterprises. Most of the airports were decentralized to local government management, and the breadth and depth of reforms were unprecedented. After the airport was decentralized, the former civil aviation provincial bureau was revoked, and most of the company models were established to implement enterprise management. The civil aviation system reform has created a good external environment for civil aviation airport enterprises, which has brought profound changes to the airport management and operation model. The formation of a new civil aviation management system is both an opportunity and a challenge for airport operators.

It is foreseeable that with the continuous deepening of civil aviation system reform, marketing management is becoming more and more important in airport enterprises as an independent market entity to participate in market competition. "In the future, some airports will become airports without fees, and even give airlines money." Ni Lu, deputy general manager of Gaiand Company in China, boldly predicted. I don't know if this sentence can be described as "vibrating and screaming". How many people can really understand it at the top of the airport?

The relationship between supply and demand in the market is constantly changing. The air transport market has changed from the seller's market to the buyer's market, making the application of marketing management inevitable. The continuous influx of high-speed rail into the market has made every airport enterprise must pay attention to marketing management and use. Marketing ideas to identify the opportunities and challenges that evaluations face. It can be seen that China's airports have a long journey on the road of marketing, and there is a long way to go. What's more, small-scale regional airports have no strong development strength. Therefore, they need to be cautious and strive for excellence in marketing planning so that they can be invincible.

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