SEO Expert, Blogger and Social Media Strategist

Airports Are Going Mobile

By now, you probably know why your airport should have a mobile website. But just in case, here are a few statistics for you.One in five people now use smartphones to access the internet.When people are waiting, they use their smartphones the most. (ie. airports)

As more and more people use smartphones to access the internet, it will become increasingly frustrating for your customers when they reach your website via their mobile phones and your site is not optimized for mobile. But I think more important than that is that mobile technology, if used correctly, is a great way to increase revenue for your airport.

Apps vs. Just Mobile

Apps are also increasing in popularity among airports but I recommend optimizing your airport’s website for mobile, or create a site just for mobile before spending the time and resources on an app. The reason for this is because when you build an app you have to use multiple programming languages, for iOS, Android, and let’s not count them out yet, BlackBerry. Mobile sites, on the other hand, are accessible over all of these platforms. You’ll spend less money, just getting your website optimized for now. We’ll talk about apps in a different blog.

Other airports, like Denver International Airport for example, offer an application instead of optimizing their website for mobile. This is fine but a number of smaller airports do not have the resources it takes to have apps built for multiple platforms. Further, a passenger that is in a hurry may become burdoned with having to take the time to download an app while they are at the airport. (If you travel frequently out of the same airports, you can certainly download the airport’s app when you have some down-time.) In the example of DEN, if you do not choose to download the app, you are forced to navigate the full site on your smartphone’s small screen. A beautiful website, it is difficult to navigate on a mobile device.

Manhattan Regional Airport

Mobile Site: Manhattan Regional Airport

Here’s how it works: You’re a passenger waiting for your flight in the terminal at Manhattan Regional Airport and you need some basic information about the airport. You, via your smartphone, do a search for the airport. You click on the link and it automatically takes you to the mobile edition of Easy! Now you have a fully optimized mobile site which is quick and efficient to use.

Every airport is different. It may not be appropriate for all airports to advertise fares, for example, but what is important is some basic buttons like, a way to contact the airport, parking and transportation and a map of the terminal. Manhattan Regional Airport has this covered with easy to see buttons and fast loading information.

Eugene Airport

Eugene Airport’s mobile site gives you the opportunity to return to the full site version.There are times when people want to access the full site on their mobile. I recommend having an option to connect to the mobile site as a possibility rather than an automatic redirect to the mobile site. Or, in the case of the City of Eugene who operates the Eugene Airport’s website, have an option on the mobile site for the airport to connect back to the full site.

Don’t forget about the Revenue

Optimizing your airport’s website is about making it easier for everyone to better experience your airport. It’s a tool for great customers service and it is one more tool to engage your passengers. But let’s not overlook the endless possibilities to increase revenues for your airport. The reality is, no marketer should ever loose sight of the big picture. Many airports make it easy for people to spend money using mobile technology.

Schiphol Airport Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport has a mobile site primed to increase revenue. You can shop at airport shops right on your mobile device. They make it super easy to purchase without going into the stores. This is a great way to get sales from the people who didn’t pop into the stores, yes, but it also might trigger somebody who has overlooked a concession to reconsider.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport has a sophisticated, yet easy to use mobile site that rivals other airports. They have an option called, “Five Minutes from my Gate.”

What’s five minutes or less from your gate? DFW has a user friendly mobile site with customer friendly options.It’s a brilliant marketing tool for DFW and something you might consider doing at your airport, especially if you are in a large facility.

Let’s face it. The benefits of utilizing mobile technology are tremendous for your airport. You should make it as easy as possible for passengers to access and share information about your services and since so many people are using mobile, a mobile website is absolutely essential. It’s not only good customer service. Many airports are discovering mobile as a tool for increasing revenue.

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