Colorado Springs went with a heavy hitter when choosing the company to market the Colorado Springs Airport nationwide.
The city chose Seabury APG, a global aviation marketing group with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.
“They focus solely on airport marketing and aviation marketing,” said city spokeswoman Cindy Aubrey. “They’re a full-service aviation consulting firm.”
The city issued a request for proposals earlier this year, after the sudden retirement of long-time airport director Mark Earle. The RFP sought a marketing consultant to define the regional market, assess the overall effectiveness of the existing market, develop a retention plan, create a strategy to restore service and develop a plan to pursue new opportunities.
It’s a big job – one made bigger by ever-declining passenger numbers at the Springs airport and the departure of Frontier Airlines earlier this year. But the airport managed to add a flight by Alaska Airlines, from the Springs to Seattle, which will start later this year.
Interim Airport Manager Dan Gallagher said that the airport has room to grow – if it can stop people from southern Colorado from driving past the Springs to Denver International Airport, an airport with more nonstop flights and cheaper fares.
“We let them know the demographics,” he said. “About 85 percent of the market — from Pueblo and the Springs — goes to Denver. We have room to grow — there are people who aren’t choosing our market [now]. But there are plenty of good economic indicators to show that if the airlines are here, people will fly from here.”
Seabury’s website details its experience to lead the charge for a new airport marketing plan. The company can create new service plans, community coalition strategies, international market creation, aviation and economic data, route forecasts and carrier profits. Seabury also markets airlines as well, the website said.
The company works with several clients in secondary markets similar to the Springs. While Las Vegas is a client, so are smaller, regional airports in Portland, Maine; Branson, Mo.; Huntsville, Ala; Appleton, Wis.; Sacramento, Calif; Tampa; Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., and Lexington, Ky., according to its website.
The move to choose a new marketing team for the airport comes on the heels of other efforts to boost passenger levels at the airport – the city has added a special lounge for frequent travelers, free parking for longer stays and discounts at food counters inside the airport.
Mayor Steve Bach also recently announced a group of local leaders to spearhead efforts to increase the airport’s visibility. The task force members are El Pomar Foundation CEO Bill Hybl, Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin, U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun, UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, and retired Air Force Gen. Victor Renuart are all on the task force. Its goals are to work to improve service, flight frequency, nonstop destinations and financing.