Keeping it in-house

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has taken the unusual step of handling all airport advertising itself, as opposed to sub-contracting to a media vendor. Schiphol Media Sales Director Arthur de Groot explains why the Dutch airport has a winning formula.

Schiphol has had an in-house media team since we started our advertising operation in 1986. In my view there are three main pros.

The use of hybrid contracts

Media offers a very important complementary revenue stream in the changing retail landscape. Consumers spend more online nowadays but, at the same time, it is still extremely important for brands to also keep reaching their customers in the real world in an effective way.

Airports are perfect high traffic, high quality and high dwell time locations for these brands. This is causing media fees to become a part of the retail proposition, and the fact that we are selling our own media enables us to maintain direct contacts with travel retail brands and makes it much easier for us to offer hybrid contracts in which we include media value.

Closer partnership with retail partners

As part of the Commercial Products and Services business area of Schiphol, the media department is in direct contact with all the travel retail business partners. This helps us to maximise the synergy through coordinated ‘drive to store’ campaigns and flexible pop-up stores for brands.

Our two main goals in this are to generate more sales and maximize brand exposure. External media vendors will tend to focus on maximising only media fees.

Better synergy with the wider airport experience

As an internal department we also believe that we can better maximize the synergy with the Operations departments of the airport by creating omnichannel sponsored experiences that add value to the passenger journey by guiding, relieving and exciting them with (digital) content. Apart from our revenue targets we also have NPS targets that incentivise us to contribute to this. This would be much harder to accomplish with an external vendor.

There are, of course, also cons. Being part of a network of airports that are offered to advertisers with a big media brand behind them is a clear advantage for some airports. We sometimes miss out on campaigns because it’s convenient for brands to deal with one company that covers a lot of airports or because there are volume deals between agencies and the media vendor. I would, however, like to urge brands to look past this and to try to include the independent airports in briefs. In general, we offer a lot of value for money as we don’t need to share the revenue. One of our KPIs is to also maximise the sales and this makes us better aligned with the goals of our advertisers.

The reason for Schiphol to keep media in-house is that we believe the pros weigh heavier than the cons. Retail is changing and having media in-house offers us an advantage. The main advantage for clients is that we can offer a lot of custom campaigns. We deal with our own airport colleagues to get approval for these campaigns and, as long as the brands are able to offer some kind of value to the passenger journey, we can get a lot done.

Sight Lines

Issue 3 | August 2019

Sight Lines is published by The Moodie Davitt Report (Moodie International Ltd) every month.
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