Scarborough Study: Frequent Business Travelers Likely To Try/Buy

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

A nationwide Scarborough research survey commissioned by Clear Channel Airports, Allentown, Pennsylvania, found that Business Frequent Flyers are 83% more likely than all American adults to be the first to try or buy new products and services.

And regular Frequent Flyers (eg. vacationers) are more likely than the average adult to be the first to try or buy new products and services, but not to as high an extent as business frequent flyers (56% vs. 83%)

The survey results highlight the value to advertisers of targeting frequent travelers while they are in transit in airports.

The study included nearly 2,000 adult participants age 18 or older, and highlights the importance of airports in today’s busy multimedia world. Airports, a ‘high dwell time environment’, deliver a captive audience and provide advertisers with a potential for strong returns on investment. In addition, according to the survey, approximately three in four Frequent Flyers and Business Frequent Flyers both notice airport advertising and take the time to actually read the message.

The national survey found that airports provide advertisers with a saturated audience of affluent, educated, tech-savvy travelers. The two key audience groups identified by the survey are Frequent Flyers (adults who have taken three or more round trip flights in the past year) and Business Frequent Flyers (adults who have taken three or more round trip business flights in the past year). Frequent Flyers account for over 38 million adults, and Business Frequent Flyers account for over 11 million adults, with an average household income of US$125,000.

While Frequent Flyers and Business Frequent Flyers represent 36% of total flyers, they account for 70% of all airport impressions due to their more frequent travel.

The survey also showed that airports have a number of unique, high-visibility touchpoints – from security lines and concourses to connection hub, baggage claim and ground transportation areas – that allow advertisers to reach captive audiences in impactful ways. Clear Channel Airports is able to capitalize on these touchpoints through innovative programs that complement the unique airport space, such as compelling digital networks in gate hold areas, baggage carousel wraps, and interactive experiential brand exhibits in the heavily trafficked concourses.

“This is an important study that highlights for companies of all sizes the significant buying power of frequent travellers,” says Toby Sturek, president, Clear Channel Airports. “This study identifies a consumer demographic that spends time and money engaging with airport advertising and is very receptive to new products and services. The study is clear: airports deliver high returns for advertisers.”

From user demographics to the impact geographic signposts have on advertising impressions, the survey demonstrated airports to be an ideal environment in which to engage an audience of affluent consumers.

Among the key survey findings:

  • Business Frequent Flyers are particularly hard to reach with advertising in more traditional media due to their busy lifestyles. For example, Business Frequent Flyers are 48% less likely to be heavily exposed to television compared to the average adult.
  • Business Frequent Flyers are over twice as likely to download a paid app in the past year, and are 128% more likely to scan a QR code with a smart phone, compared to the average adult. High dwell time and compelling, large format inventory provide the perfect venue to reach tech savvy travelers with modern, interactive media campaigns.
  • 89% of Frequent Flyers spend up to 30 minutes in airport security, meaning that fixed points of interest, such as security lines, are ripe for advertising.
  • Half of Frequent Flyers spend 45 minutes or more in airport concourses after clearing security.
  • Three out of every four travellers have purchased food and beverages from airport concessions.
  • 73% of Business Frequent Flyers spend up to two hours in connecting airports during layovers, underscoring the importance of hub airports as advertisement investments.
  • 89% of Business Frequent Flyers spend up to 30 minutes in baggage claim and 80% of Frequent Flyers have checked their luggage at least once during their last three personal trips.

Scott Willoth, senior vice-president of analytics and insights for Scarborough, says, “The survey revealed that frequent business travelers are key market influencers. It is noteworthy that even with smart phones, iPads and many other mobile devices, frequent travelers are influenced by airport advertising.”

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