Clear Channel Airports Inc., Allentown, Pennsylvania, has partnered with SmartTray International LLC, Phoenix, Arizona, to transform decades-old airline seat-back food trays into multi-purpose tech friendly tray-tables capable of simultaneously accommodating both mobile devices and the typical in-flight pretzels and beverages.
This innovation is capable of leveraging digital place-based media technology while bringing passengers in-flight entertainment and Internet access right to their fingertips without their ever having to reach overhead for their stowed tablet or other mobile device.
This partnership comes on the heels of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Oct./13 ruling that “…airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices during all phases of flight…” As a result, it’s anticipated that airline passengers will soon be reading e-books, playing games and watching videos on their own mobile devices during most phases of flight.
Smart Tray fashioned three different aircraft tray designs to support the use of Portable Electronic Devices – travelers’ own devices and/or those provided by an airline.
The SmartTray X1 features a fixed or rotating groove for a PED device.
The X2 is a ‘tray within a tray’ and accommodates a PED by stowing the tablet inside the tray table while leaving the device fully accessible when the tray table is in the upright or down positions. The X3 is electronic and designed for embedding airline-owned tablet devices into the tray table and eliminates the time consuming and costly logistics of distribution, collection and re-charging of tablet device batteries inside airports between flights.
With the X2 and X3 models, Smart Tray becomes the launching pad for flexible and targeted marketing in the digital arena, reaching consumers when they have the time and the mindset to buy the products and services being presented to them in flight. CCAirports will help airline clients monetize their investments in SmartTray with advertising sales support and activation that adheres to recent FAA guidelines.
With this new digital place-based media in CCA’s portfolio, the company can help advertisers with highly-targeted marketing approaches that reach travelers when they are receptive to brand messaging.
Consumer insights from in-flight users paired with other data such as the travelers’ frequent flier numbers, hotels and car preferences can potentially add to advertisers’ campaign capabilities and understanding for ROI. CCAirports and SmartTray will deliver performance-based analytics.
“SmartTray aligns with our goal of connecting brands with travelers on the ground and now in the skies,” says Jon Sayer, president, Clear Channel Airports. “This partnership allows us to offer our clients more options using our existing sales force. It significantly expands the possibilities for our advertising clients, allowing them to deepen their audience exposure with extended dwell time that is simply unavoidable. The SmartTray design also enhances traveler experience, making this solution valuable to the consumer and the airlines seeking additional revenue streams.”
For existing aircraft, installing SmartTray X1, X2 or X3 is faster and more economical than a complete seat replacement or retrofit. Attached with one or two screws, the SmartTray table holds portable electronic devices safely in-flight. An entire aircraft can be retrofitted overnight, in a single service, resulting in no aircraft downtime.
“Airlines are now challenged to make storage and retrieval of PEDs FAA compliant, gate-to-gate safe and easy; we can solve for that while also delivering the substantial and sustainable incremental advertising revenues they all seek,” says Nick Pajic, founder and CEO of SmartTray International. “CCAirports leadership position in airport media and its strong track record enhancing the financial operations of airports worldwide was at the forefront of our considerations in brokering this partnership.”