Welcome back to Airport Marketing Tuesday here at the SageRock blog. If it’s Tuesday it’s Airport Marketing day.
If you are on the West coast I’m sure you aren’t too interested in Hurricane Sandy. (Although, LAX reported on Facebook: “Hurricane Sandy update: for nonstop/direct flights ONLY – 99 arrivals and 101 departures cancelled. For flight status for connecting flights please contact your airline directly.”) But for all us people on the Eastern side of the country, Sandy is all the buzz.
As you can imagine, many airports are using their Twitter and Facebook accounts to keep people updated.
I wanted to point out a few Airport Facebook pages that are getting some interesting dialogue:
Norfolk International Airport Facebook page is seeing a lot of questions and they are being really helpful.
Jeff, a passenger wrote: “Thanks for the update…leaving EYW now heading to ORF tonight. Stay open until we land please” at 5:18pm on Monday evening.
Norfok responded: Don’t worry Jeff,ORF facilities are open 24/7/365. The airlines may decide not to fly but ORF is always “open for business”. Have a safe flight! at 5:33pm.
They also put up a striking picture (see Airport Photos) of the arrival and departure boards cancellations:
The Boston Logan International Airport Facebook page also has a highly engaged audience.
Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) is also seeing a lot of interaction from their audience.
Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) posted some really impressive pictures of grounded airplanes:
They are also doing a great job of communicating very quickly with their audience who is asking a lot of questions.
But the award for best airport Facebook management so far during Sandy goes to Yeager Airport (CRW).
They are posting regularly, responding regularly and managing a really angry guy very well.
Thank you Delta for that lame excuse that all flights to Atlanta were cancelled because of the hurricane — which was a lie. I realize that you’re just passing on the bullshit you hear from corporate, but if they knew they were going to cancel the flight, most likely, because there weren’t enough people on the connecting flights, they could’ve told India, where they outsourced the American support jobs to, to update their !@#$ website, so we didn’waste a trip, and time, to the airport.
Almost instantly, Yeager writes back:
Richard, all of our Delta flights were full today. It doesn’t benefit them or anyone to cancel flights. I understand your frustration, but please understand that this is a safety issue. Our forecast has winds gusting to 40kts, low visibility, heavy rain and snow. Also, please keep the language PG on here as we have some young kids that frequent our page. Lastly, we’re doing everything we can to help people so bear with us; this isn’t a fun situation for us either.
That was about an hour ago from when I wrote this article. 7:05pm ET Monday. Richard hasn’t responded. And I would be surprised if he did.
That response from Yeager was perfect!
And even more perfect was that they let Richard’s post stand.
This puts Yeager Airport in an amazing light.
I know Richard is furious. And it’s quite possible that he’s normally a very nice guy. (His Facebook profile is really nice, actually.) But it’s very hard to stay professional with a person like that, especially online. The anonymity of online posting makes people act crazy. It’s tempting to just go with the crazy.
But Yeager Airport brought the conversation back to a professional place.
I highly encourage all airports to use Facebook this way. It’s a huge opportunity to show your passengers how great at customer service you are.
You might think it’s a lot of work to respond to individual people. But most of you actually aren’t getting a lot of talk. It’s a very manageable amount of discussion going on. You could easily do it with the HootSuite app for your phone or tablet.
And chances are, if one person has the question then a lot of others will have the question too.
These are ideal situations for you because this isn’t your fault. But it is your problem. So you can really step forward to help people.
You might find that you will gain a good chunk of new Facebook Likes during this storm.
So get out there. Post a lot of information. Answer a lot of questions. Storms like this don’t come around all the time. Make the most of it.
Your passengers will thank you for it.