Saturday, February 2, 2019

It’s time for Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (KMHT) to get creative

Closing the Deal
By Christopher Thompson 

This past week, officials from the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport reported yet another year of declining passenger traffic — the 13th consecutive year of fewer people choosing to fly out of Manchester.

As a traveler and someone who is passionate about Manchester and our great state, this really bothers me.

This is a complicated problem and has many root causes. I haven’t crunched all of the numbers, but there are a lot of factors that need to be considered.

It could be that fewer people are traveling, but I don’t think that’s the case. The airport did cite a decline in Southwest passengers as a major contributor.  Southwest is the largest airline at the airport.

One of the biggest challenges the airport has is that it is at the mercy of the airlines. If an airline decides to reduce flights out of Manchester, then the airport feels the impact of that decision in a big way.

But while that’s a challenge, I believe it’s also one of its biggest opportunities. After all, when was the last time a new airline chose to fly out of Manchester?

Nobody from the airport solicited me for advice and, aside from the convenience of flying out of Manchester, there’s nothing in it for me to try and help solve the problem. But I do feel the need to share some advice that I think could help the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport grow.

Bullish messaging

People in Greater Manchester have two main choices when it comes to flying. It’s Boston or Manchester. There are some limited options at other smaller airports, but generally speaking, there are only two choices.

Now, we all know what driving to Logan means.

It’s a complete nightmare.

It’s time for whomever Manchester uses for marketing to come up with some compelling and controversial campaigns to shed light on the main differences between flying out of Boston versus Manchester.

Think about how much fun you could have creating that campaign.

But this is needed more than anything. We can’t just sit around and watch passengers make the trek down I-93 for another year. It’s time to tell the real story.

Fix the pricing

I’m not an expert on how airlines come up with ticket prices, but I do know it usually makes no sense to the average person. Why could I buy a direct ticket to Chicago out of Logan for $250, but a flight out of Manchester was over $600? We need to press the airlines to bring their pricing in line so that people can justify the difference.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be cheaper. It just has to make sense. When I drive to Boston for a flight, it requires substantially more time, guaranteed aggravation and higher costs for gas and parking. Let’s figure out what the math is and help people understand it. We really need an airline to step up and help fix this problem.

Loyalty programs

Every airline has a loyalty program to encourage and reward travelers for their loyalty. Have you ever wondered why airports don’t do the same? If we really want to encourage people to fly out of Manchester, we need to give them more than just one reason.

So let’s come up with some ideas. Let’s get feedback from travelers. Let’s find out what we can do to entice people to be loyal to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport. I know there are ways to do it, and it would take more than a paragraph to share the ideas. But you get the point.

Let’s not sit around and watch the numbers continue to nosedive. Would a business allow 13 consecutive years of declines before it took drastic measures? We invest in programs to encourage people to “stay, work and play” in New Hampshire. Why not add “fly” to that slogan?

Original article can be found here ➤

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There are not as many direct flights out of Manchester as Boston. Maybe people want to avoid a stop and changeover.