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Airport City: we’re excited, are you?



Refresh PR has been out and about networking a lot over the past few weeks.  From Women in Business events to the CIM Manchester’s Building Credibility in the Boardroom talk, we’ve been hearing about the amount of optimism out there at the moment in Manchester.

 

One talk that has got our tongues wagging in the office is a presentation about Manchester’s Airport City, which we watched while at the CIM Construction Industry Group’s Northern Conference. 

 

In recent years airports have had to diversify to generate income; with an increase in taxes on aviation and fuel prices, plus an increased need for security, the profit per person has been in decline.  So through car parking, retail and accommodation, airports have been able to re-address this balance and build new areas of profit into their business plans. 

 

Manchester Airport Group (MAG)’s biggest development plan is Airport City in Manchester.  It recognises that airports can be more than places that people use to travel.  That said, Manchester is the third busiest airport in the UK and flies to over 200 destinations (more than Heathrow).

 

So, what’s Airport City?

 

More than 80 Airport Cities have been built across the globe in the last 10 years.  Hong Kong, Singapore and Memphis are three examples.  Airport Cities consist of retail malls (which, we’ll be honest, is what really got our attention), conference centres, warehousing and logistics, office space, hotels, advanced manufacturing sites – and basically create areas for people to live, work and play.  Manchester’s Airport City will compete with Amsterdam, Barcelona and Frankfurt.

 

Airport City will reach out to international companies needing international access quickly.  These include graduates and entrepreneurs as well as those working in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, R&D, pharmaceuticals, professional services, IT, retail and leisure and hotel and conferencing.  The enterprise zone will offer tax breaks. 

 

·        Location: Land adjacent to Wythenshawe is being developed, which is situated between Jn5 and Jn6 of M56 over 4m sq feet of land.  It will take 15 years to complete and will cost £650m to build, becoming the best connected business destination in the world

·        Transport:  Links will be via train, bus and coach, plus via the Metrolink in 2016 which will go through various stops in Wythenshawe on the way into the city centre

·        Jobs: The airport employs around 19,000 workers, mainly from the local community.  The expansion of Airport City will see more local jobs created for people from Wythenshawe and the surrounding areas

 

So all in all, a great move to boost Manchester’s economy, create jobs and make us our city an even more desirable destination to visit than ever before – we’ll be up from seventh in no time!  Watch You Tube for more information:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhg5RVBidLk and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrfAoQ_zzfw

 

 

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, Networking Event, North West , PR, PR Agency Manchester, PR Manchester, Public Relations, Public Relations North West

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CIM event review: Creating one of Manchester’s greatest assets



Refresh PR went along to Manchester Airport’s Concorde Conference Centre recently for a very insightful Chartered Institute of Marketing networking event.  Situated just next to the runway, and housing a Concorde (pic to follow we hope!), the facility was a great venue to hold a conference – if you don’t mind the sound of planes taking off and landing every few minutes of course.

 

So, to start off, here are a few facts that you may not know:

·         19,000 people are employed at Manchester Airport

·         There’s 3,000m of runway serving the three terminals

·         The airport typically targets people in a 90 minute travel time radius with its marketing

·         There’s a brand new Escape Lounge in Terminal 1 (which we like the sound of a lot)

·         There are still opportunities for more carriers to fly from Manchester airport – even now it has capacity

 

After networking and lots of food, we sat down to listen to some of the marketing plans, strategy and tactics employed by one of Britain’s best airports.  What quickly became obvious is the massive marketing machine that sits behind its public face.   The airport certainly has a well thought out, and continually evolving, marketing strategy that considers every aspect of the customer experience.  So, whether it’s subtle lighting to subconsciously guide a traveller around the terminal (and into the shops) or the amount of research and feedback being constantly processed, everything revolves around making the customer centre stage, and ultimately making sure numbers come through the door. 

 

Understanding that the most visited page on its website is the flight tracking page, the airport has developed an iPhone app for people to check flights on the move.  Car park booking is now a lot easier over handhelds too – and as a major revenue generator for airports around the country it’s certainly worth the investment.  The car parks have been made much more visitor friendly, with green traffic lights above a space to indicate that it’s free, meaning those in a rush can easily see where the free spaces are – whilst trying to stick to the car park speed limit of course...

 

Twitter, which began as a discount/promotions newsfeed, became a major news source for customers and journalists during the ash cloud in April ’10.  Again, during the snow for the past two winters, the @manairport feed has been a way to communicate with travellers and those seeking the most up to date information.  It’s got nearly 17,000 followers and Sky News journalists are big fans.

 

While embracing social media has been a priority, it’s also great to see the airport sticking to tried and tested methods of marketing.  Local door drops to inform residents of changes and promotions are measured for success through visits to specific URLs, redemption of specific discount codes and the general uptake following an e-shot is tracked.  In addition, the team works in the Wythenshawe community (near to the airport) to support local initiatives to ensure the airport gives back to the community.

 

It was also interesting to hear about a new CRM package being implemented which means that when travelling through the airport, all passengers will soon be tracked and data on each visit recorded.  Those flying regularly will develop patterns of behaviour which will be highlighted on the system, from using the car park to purchases made inside the terminal, opening the door for specific discounts and more targeted campaigns.  Well, I’m hoping for the specific discounts anyway – must remember to hand over my boarding card when I buy a G&T! 

 

All in all, this was one of the best CIM events of the year so far – informative, interesting, well attended and useful for marketers to know what’s happening on their own doorstep.  More please!

Tagged with: Built Environment, Construction, Leisure, Manchester, Manchester Airport, Marketing, North West , PR, Retail