The Response of Airports to the Rise of Social Media in Europe
N Halpern, Molde University College, NO
This paper investigates how airports have responded to the rise of social media in Europe and currently use social media to inform and support planning and management decisions.
There has been strong growth in the use of social media worldwide during the last decade and current user statistics from social media sites are impressive. During the second quarter of 2012, the monthly number of active users was 995 million on Facebook and 140 million on Twitter. During the same period, the monthly number of unique visitors was 800 million on YouTube and 106 million on LinkedIn. Social media was initially developed as a means for friends or people with similar interests to connect, communicate and interact with each other online. However, an increasing number of businesses, including airports, are developing a social media presence. There are now many examples of airports offering customers the opportunity to ‘Like’ them on Facebook, ‘Follow’ them on Twitter and ‘View’ videos about them on YouTube.
The distribution of European airports using social media appears to have widened in recent years. However, it still appears to be biased towards larger airports and airports that are located in Northern and Western Europe. There may also be differences according to the way in which an airport is owned and operated.
This study briefly considers the role that social media plays in airport planning and management. The study then investigates how many airports in Europe are using which types of social media, and whether use of social media varies according to airport location, size, or the way in which an airport is owned and operated. The study also analyses data that is available from the main types of social media used by airports to investigate how active airports and their customers are in using social media.
Keywords: Airports; marketing communications; social media
Association for European Transport