Clear Channel AirportsÂ is eager to seize the possibilities afforded by the mobile device revolution. It’s heavily promoting its freeÂ FlySmart app, a tool for navigating airports that’s available for Apple and Android devices.
Ryan Kovalchick, director of digital media at Clear Channel Airports, has given us the backstory on the app and the company’s mobile plan.
The three-decade old Clear Channel Airports created the app in conjunction with digital advertising firmÂ SapientNitro.
The first version of the app was downloaded 100,000 times, with the newest version downloaded, 36,000 times.
Currently,Â 102 airports worldwide are searchable through the app, with that number growing at fast rate. Clear Channel Airports expects to add to the app coverage of a couple more airports a week, every week, for the next two quarters.
The app offers both passenger wayfinding around concourses and tools for tracking flight status. Users have been using each of these functions 50/50.
Clear Channel Airports has been promoting the app using its signature airport wall posters, LCD and diode spaces, and airport monitors.
Outside of airports, the company works with its outdoor billboard division to post billboards in key markets such as Chicago, Tampa, and Phoenix.
Appealing adÂ opportunities
FlySmart aims to differentiate itself from other apps on the market by giving airport shops much more direct control for targeted advertising.
A passenger sitting at a gate in terminal 2 of an airport will be served ads relevant to that location, such as a nearby concession.
Managers of airport concessions, on-site or at someone at the headquarter’s technology division, could log in to the ad serving system to change the content themselves. Though most brands will defer to Clear Channel Airports to handle the day-to-day management of the back-end.
“Our backend control has patent-pending technology to let airports tightly control on ads being served to airport visitors and how the ads are relevant to whatâ€™s happening to gates around it.
We could work with a concession, say Brooks Brothers, to tie into that company’s data sources. Inventory could be monitored and if conditions require, a sale could be advertised via the mobile app
Or in the case of a food vendor, the ads could be targeted to a data feed related to the weather, so coupons for a sale on hot coffee might be served on cold days and a coupon for a frosty beverage be offered on hot days.
We’re also tying in land-based directories, so airports can have one portal to enter their event-drivenÂ advertisingÂ and have that content be distributed out to sources.
User generated content is also permitted. Users can rate concessions and comments we monitor it for quality.”
When it comes to flight tracking, FlySmart claims that its data is as close to real-time as any competitor, partnering for live data feeds from content providers or, in some cases, working with the airports to tap directly into their flight-tracking systems.
User-generated reviews also allow ratings of various concessions at an airport.
Kovalchick says the appÂ could one day incorporate into Apple’s Passbook.
“If that takes off, weâ€™d love to be a part of it. We’re waiting to see what the actual use cases are for travelers.”
It’s all fuel for an intense competition in the airport mobile advertising and wayfaring/navigation app space, with rival airport advertising giant JCDecaux’s airport digital arm announcing last week its partnership with the app GateGuru