This week I was at the AAAE Conference in New Orleans, showcasing the AeroWeb product that we have just released at OpenSource Connections. Everyone who saw our demo seemed to be very impressed. I think that many of the airport executives I met realized they needed the better website that AeroWeb offers, with features like Flight Tracking, Online Booking and Airfare Deals (with referral bonuses for the airport), blogs, inline content editing right from your browser, custom directions, flash maps, and more. All wrapped in great designs customized to each airport.
But one reaction I got several times was “this looks great, but our county/city controls our airport and our website, and they want us to use the county IT staff and web page.” Basically they liked what we offered, but felt like they are locked into a single page static web page occasionally edited by County staff.
As an example, compare the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport website GoCho.com with this static web page of a regional airport in Hawaii, which is part of a larger state web site. The differences should be obvious. GoCho is a dynamic site providing real time information of immediate interest to passengers, and gives them incentives to fly through Charlottesville. The Hawaii site provides a single paragraph of generic information about the airport. As a passenger, it doesnt really tell me anything of value about whether or not this is an airport I would want to consider using during a trip to Hawaii.
If youre an airport executive, you inherently understand this. But how do you convince your County or governing authority to give you the freedom to create and manage your own site? Heres a few ideas for discussion points you can bring up with them. When youve convinced your board to build a new site, please make sure to contact us at AeroWeb so we can submit a bid!
- Show passengers you have great deals too! If you are a regional airport competing for passengers with nearby larger airports, then you know it can be a struggle to convince passengers that they can get good prices through you. Perhaps not all your airfares are cheaper, but with our Flight Deals tab, great deals targeted to your airport will be displayed from Kayak.com. Especially with rising gas prices, if you can show passengers that they are going to get a comparable airfare through your airport, they will skip the longer drive to larger airports.
- Give passengers the information they need. When passengers enter your airport, the first thing they probably do is check the arrivals and departures board. With our online flight tracking, you can give them the same experience on your website. We can integrate our tracking widget with your internal FIDS or with one of our online data partners.
- Easy content management. With our inline editing tool, you will be able to manage all the content on your website, without involving AeroWeb staff or your County IT staff, and without any technical knowledge! One reason your Countys IT department may be reluctant to let you have your own website is out of a fear that they will have to maintain all the content for you. With AeroWeb, you can manage the website yourself, so there is no burden on other IT staff!
- Managed hosting. We will host your AeroWeb site for you, which removes another area of concern your IT staff may have. They dont need to worry about the database or server uptime, or providing you with traffic reports and other analytics about your website. We do all of that for you – so there is no extra burden on your County IT staff!
- Provide updates to media and passengers. Since editing content on your site and blog is so easy, it can become a communications channel for you directly to your passengers and even local media. By providing the latest news about your airport online in a timely fashion, you may reduce your customer service calls and keep passengers happy!
- Your airport website is not the same as the county landfill site. No disrespect meant to your local garbage collectors, but the fact of the matter is that your airport has more specific website needs than the local landfill. So why are they both using the same boring static pages on the County web site? The landfill is not competing for customers like you are, and they dont need to provide timely and updated information to passengers who expect you to have a great website.
- Providing the latest functionality on your website. AeroWeb is tuned in with the features that airports need. In addition to the features described above, we offer other widgets for weather, customized driving directions, advertising tools, and more! We can do custom development to meet your airports unique needs, and we are working on adding additional features too!