When travelers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) park at the airport over the summer, they’ll not only be issued a parking stub, but incentive coupons for cool offers at the airport’s concessionaires, including McDonald’s and TGI Friday’s.
The airport launched its first ever Summer Rewards program to entice consumers to park at the airport instead of at off-airport parking sites. In recent years, DFW faced stiff competition from companies such as The Parking Spot, Park ‘N Fly, and Park Air Express that opened parking lots in the vicinity of DFW, airport officials said.
But now, a dozen of the airports 192 concessionaires are giving consumers freebies such as beverages, pastries and appetizers for parking at the airport and for patronizing their establishments. Consumers receive the coupons at each entry plaza at DFW’s parking lots.
“This was more of a…program to create loyalty,” said Ken Buchanan, EVP-revenue management, DFW. “There are so many leisure travelers that travel a couple times a year and in some cases don’t park at the airport. This is a way to make our product known and gain their loyalty.”
With coupons, consumers who purchase a cup of coffee will get a free pie at McDonald’s, while travelers who order an entree at TGI Friday’s earn a free appetizer. An estimated 50,000 coupons will be distributed each week to consumers before the program ends Sept. 5, Buchanan said. The program will boost traffic to airport businesses, he added.
To take the program to flight, DFW launched an advertising campaign with the tag line “Park Close. Get Stuff.” Outdoor billboards, p.r. efforts in the Dallas area and the airport’s Web site, Dfwairport.com, promote the parking incentive.
The promotion is especially critical to DFW, one of the busiest airports in the world, as it gears up for the busy summer-travel season.
“Over the years [competitors] have grown in their presence around the airport and obviously consumers are patronizing their product,” Buchanan said. “We’ve got to be more aggressive to make sure we compete in the marketplace. We want to ultimately add value to the customer, that’s really what it’s about.”
It’s not the first time DFW has used incentives to attract consumers to its parking areas. During designated teacher-appreciation months, educators receive free parking. Spring breakers also receive special parking discounts. At other times, airport staffers (dubbed Peppy People) meet and greet travelers who commute to the airport via buses or taxis. The Peppy People inform these consumers of the airport’s parking options and provide them with discount coupons for parking.
“We’re an airport often benchmarked with doing creative things,” Buchanan said. “We have to be innovative and creative to stay ahead of the curve.” The airport’s marketing team tries to run like a corporate entity, not a governmental operation, he added.