The more than CDN$ 100,000 campaign began a few months ago with teaser billboards around town featuring the word "Arriving" on a light blue backdrop. Subsequent billboards featured real-life focus group participants and their comments about wanting to have a top-notch facility that is both world-class and friendly. Still to come are more focus group quotations about how the airport will meet customer expectations, such as giving passengers more space and welcoming them home after a trip. As the opening of the new terminal building draws closer, Rempel says specific design features will be heavily promoted.
The goal of each billboard is to drive people to one of two websites. The first one is the WAA’s main site (waa.ca), which is geared towards the 40-plus crowd. In addition to flight arrival and departure information, it features pictures of construction activity, diagrams of the building and press releases of the latest developments. It also informs passengers how the construction may impact their departure or arrival plans.
The second is James2010.ca, a blog-based site targeting the 15-to 40 year-old demographic. Its URL is designed to honor James Armstrong Richardson, the Canadian aviation pioneer after whom the airport is named.
Rempel says this site was created in response to feedback from numerous focus groups who said the WAA was doing a good job of communicating with older travellers but was missing out on younger people. They think differently, interact differently and use the Internet in ways older people don’t understand or couldn’t imagine, the focus groups said.
The James2010.ca site is essentially divided into two sections. The first asks visitors to tell the WAA what an airport means to them. The second is a photo album full of videos and photos of various elements visitors like about the Winnipeg airports and other airports around the world.
James2010.ca also has a number of other interesting features, including time-lapsed video of the new terminal’s construction from a tower camera, an overhead view of the world’s smallest international airport on Akaiami Island in the South Pacific, a video highlighting the best Winnipeg has to offer in entertainment, tourism and cultural activities, samples from focus groups, and aerospace and airport news from around the world. In short, if you’re interested in the new airport or aviation in general, James2010.ca is the site for you.
It also has a blog master named Carly, who makes new postings every day. She wanders both the bustling construction site and the outgoing facility, posting pictures and text about anything and everything you could possibly want to know about an airport.
Rempel says this site is particularly important because its target market represents those who will use the new terminal building the most in the coming years.
“They’re our future frequent flyers,” he says, noting since its launch in January, James2010.ca has had 110,000 distinct hits from surfers in 75 countries.
Rempel says the next phase for its websites is the “we heard you” campaign, where the WAA will spell out how it’s addressing the hopes, expectations and concerns of its travellers. Eventually, the sites will feature detailed diagrams of what the new building will look like, and where you’ll get your luggage, buy your tickets and go through security.
“When you finally get to the airport, there will be no surprises,” he says. "The best thing a customer can say about an experience at an airport is they didn't remember it. That's because everything worked and they felt safe."