Wichita’s known as the Air Capital, but for years our community struggled to attract and retain low-fare carriers, offer a good selection of nonstop flights and keep fares competitive with other markets (i.e. so people wouldn’t drive to and fly out of Kansas City or Oklahoma City). Today, taking to the skies from Wichita has never been better. We’re leveraging Eisenhower National Airport’s gleaming new terminal and roster of legacy and low-fare carriers. As agency of record for the state’s largest airport, we do all we can to keep flights full and people aware of new routes and offers. We cannot let up. We take advantage of new digital tools to engage the flying public. A major goal: drive grassroots efforts to educate travelers about great new connections. Travel creates experiences to embrace and share.
Good things are happening at the airport. Our marketing’s a big part of that.VICTOR WHITE
Wichita Airport Authority
AIR alludes to the airport and airplanes. But also to the sky’s uplifting, limitless possibilities. More than 80 percent of readers enjoy AIR on their mobile devices, easily navigating through the varied articles. A dynamic masthead keeps each issue fresh and teases season-appropriate content. We share stories about people, the places they go and adventures they have. We crowdsource stories by running contests, reaching out through digital channels or hitting the phones. We provide updates about new connections, amenities and travel tips. To reach new audiences, we work social media channels and run Facebook and Google banner ads. Social sharing icons encourage readers to spread articles and make the airport even more vital. Like a deep, clean breath of air. In the first four issues, AIR generated close to 33,000 readers with an open rate of 13 percent, well above the 3 percent industry average. People spend twice as long with AIR than any other section on flywichita.com. Readers have come from 49 of the 50 states. The Web Marketing Association named Eisenhower AIR Best Travel Online Magazine in its 2017 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards.
Contests have generated a 45 percent increase in website traffic.
The arrival of Alaska Airlines at Eisenhower National Airport meant big changes for Wichita travelers. Direct flights to Seattle, easy access to the west coast and service by the No. 1 airline in annual quality rankings. We helped Eisenhower get the message out before Alaska’s arrival. TV spots, banner ads and digital billboards gave Wichitans reasons to “Catch the Nonstop to Seattle.” A landing page on Eisenhower’s website and email blast informed passengers. A fall feature in Eisenhower AIR, gave Seattle trip ideas well before launch. Our #SightsOnSEA contest offered a chance to win a free trip and a way to share the news socially. By the time the first Alaska plane landed in April 2017, the tail’s distinctive smiling Eskimo face was already an old friend. Daily flights leaving early evening mean you can wake up with some of Seattle’s famous joe.
We deployed traditional advertising channels, while primarily working to foster grassroots efforts throughout south-central Kansas. Education was key. Many people didn’t know that the only place you can book a Southwest flight is on southwest.com. Newly launched daily, direct routes to St. Louis and Phoenix required some explanation, too. Both offer super-short connector flights to key cities nationwide. They’re designed to minimize layovers, optimize travel times and keep fares low. We developed easy-to-share content and a microsite that makes a strong point: “Southwest’s new connections are good. Really good.” The landing page with the routes is the fifth most-visited page on the airport’s website and delivered over 90,000 views within the first six months.
Participants created and tagged photo submissions on Facebook, driving awareness of Allegiant’s new nonstop service from Wichita Eisenhower National (ICT) to Orlando-Sanford International (SFB). The intuitive, easy-to-use contest generated the airport’s greatest participation to date with a 135 percent increase over previous photo-entry contests and a website traffic bump of 45 percent. The randomly selected winner was notified the day service started – May 25 – that she’d landed round-trip airfare for her family, a $500 Visa gift card and more. Allegiant was so pleased with the results, they will be offering these seasonal routes again in 2017.
Offering a Southwest Airlines’ Phoenix getaway for two promoted the new, nonstop route to Phoenix, and increased awareness of the short connection through Phoenix to multiple cities on the west coast. We asked travelers to share their travel stories for a chance to win. The winning story landed a feature in our fall issue of Eisenhower AIR. Facebook ads helped extend our online reach with almost a quarter-million impressions. While the contest lasted a little more than two weeks, it generated more than 32,000 visits to the What a Trip page on flywichita.com and 262 story entries.