By Shashank Nigam

The end of a faceless airport brand

How often is it that you write to an airline or an airport, and get a reply with no signature, or one which says “this is a computer generated message, and no signature is required”? That has been the case with most airline and airport brands, because it’s just convenient.

It’s easy to not show your face to the customer and hide behind a policy or a rule. It’s easy to lay the blame on the process, rather than thinking creatively to resolve a situation. It’s easy to take your own sweet time to reply to feedback, since no one can pin it down to a specific person anyway. Gatwick Airport is trying to change that.

Meet-the-CEO, on Twitter

Already the winner of our Best Airport in Social Media award in 2011, and a runner up in 2012, Gatwick Airport recently held the third of it’s Q&A session on Twitter. Its 46,000 followers had the opportunity to ask the CEO, Stewart Wingate, any questions they may have had regarding the airport. Most airlines and airports wouldn’t dare to venture close to a free-for-all like this in public.

The Gatwick session ran for one hour from the @gatwick_airport Twitter feed, giving both the media and public an exclusive chance to ask Mr Wingate about what’s coming up for Gatwick in 2013 and beyond . Participants were also able to share their thoughts and experiences about the airport to date, straight to the CEO. 32 questions were answered in all, which is one ever two minutes!

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/carlhogan/status/289419433460510720"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/gatwick_airport/status/289419753787904000"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/00firebladerr/status/289404330199625728"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/7griffinjack/status/289401456648413184"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/gatwick_airport/status/289403851440791553"]

As you can see, participants asked all kinds of questions, and Mr Wingate answered most of them swiftly. The 140 char limit meant that questions were concise and answers crisp. Anyone could follow the Live discussion using the #askgatwick tag on Twitter. Moreover, a full transcript of the Q&A session has been available at www.gatwickairport.tumblr.com. A previous session had been hosted by Paul Fitch, Head of Terminal Operations, who discussed Gatwick’s services for passengers with reduced mobility.

Being an open brand… 

 There are over 200 airports on Twitter. So what distinguishes your brand? Gatwick has certainly stood apart from competition, by attaching a face to the brand through its Twitter chats. In the age of the connected traveler, the top executives cannot hide behind a veil. Those who’d follow the lead of Mr Wingate would possibly foster a much better relationship with its customers. And guess what, they’d tell the world about it!
Are you an airport that wants to stay ahead of the pack? Perhaps a SimpliFlying Airports MasterClass for your team? Or a consulting project can help get ahead. Find our more about how we can help you today!

 

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