Approximately 27 million Americans traveled over this past Thanksgiving holiday; and, all that time everyone spent standing in various lines (check-in, security, coffee, baggage claim) was pretty much a wasted marketing opportunity.
Aside from airline magazines and airport wall posters, very little marketing targets this captive audience, many of whom would be more than happy to seek a momentary mental escape. Here are my top three ideas based on my recent trip via India to Nepal, where Iím now living for the winter:
#1. Wi-Fi -- Although TradeinIndia.com sponsors all the baggage carts in the New Delhi airport and The Times of Indiaís email opt-in offers are promoted on huge billboards in the departure lounge, frustratingly, thereís no Wi-Fi, sponsored or otherwise, at that airport.
This may change soon. When Delhi officials invited potential sponsors to submit proposals to sponsor free Wi-Fi in several downtown locations, they were stunned at the deluge of more than two dozen would-be advertisers.
#2. Video monitors -- I didnít mind long visa lines when we landed at Kathmanduís International Airport because the gorgeous ads that played on oversized Samsung LCD monitors positioned around the room were a delight to watch ... and even hear. The ads, presented on a continuous five-minute loop, featured tasteful local background music and glowing shots of regional crafts, scenery, restaurants and retailers. It was all put together by a local advertising entrepreneur.
#3. DVDs -- Two of the airlines I took en route to Nepal offered free newspapers as you boarded the plane. Frankly, after sitting in waiting rooms for several hours beforehand, the last thing I wanted was yet another newspaper to read. But I would have been thrilled to get a free DVD.
Are you already sponsoring or creating compelling video content or an interactive game as a brand-building exercise? (For example: Grey Goose vodkaís ĎIconoclastsí TV series or Lunestaís ĎThe Art of the Storyí events.) Why not offer free DVDs to airline movie-weary travelers with PCs?
The point for all three of these ideas is not to bombard travelers with ads but, rather, to build a warmer relationship during a time when they are likely bored and a little exhausted. If youíve already invested in entertaining content for your website, microsite, viral game or online video, why not repurpose this to make peopleís trips a little more pleasant?
Like many women my age with a job and a family, Iím too busy in my regular life to pay attention to most sponsored websites or even regular TV shows. But when Iím traveling, Iím a captive and grateful audience. Reach me -- Iíll thank you for it.
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