This holiday season, millions of people will crisscross the country to reunite with their families and catch up with old friends. As these consumers pass through airports, train stations, and bus terminals, it’s a good reminder of how brands can use travel hubs as sites to identify, understand, and reach their ideal audiences.
In fact, travel hubs like New York, Boston and DC see huge amounts of passenger traffic each year. In 2016, nearly 59 million people passed through JFK, while a million people pass through Grand Central Station each week. These consumers may be vacationers, business travelers, American citizens, or foreign visitors—each with his or her own set of habits and interests.
With so much movement and so many individuals from all over the place moving through various travel hotspots, how can advertisers tell them apart? And how can they use this information to serve relevant messages without wasting precious ad spend?
Good Geo-fences Make Good Audiences
We all know that location data can tell a lot about a person: An individual at the gym is likely to be physically active and health-conscious, while someone who goes to the movies every weekend is probably a film buff. But understanding consumers is a lot more complex when brands are analyzing the movements of millions of consumers sitting in airport lounges or lounging on trains.
Advertisers can begin to construct comprehensive consumer profiles by collecting device IDs of passengers passing through major travel hubs. For instance, by geo-fencing an airport or train station, brands can identify a preliminary audience of travelers.
Still, a basic geo-fence will also raise some questions of its own: Is the man at La Guardia just back from a European vacation, or is he heading to Silicon Valley for a business trip? Is the woman who just connected to the Wi-Fi at Penn Station a tourist or a New Yorker heading to the Long Island Railroad? For a luxury hotel looking to reach wealthy travelers or a low-cost tourist attraction targeting penny-pinching families, the answers to these questions will make a big difference—and can help brands avoid wasting ads on the wrong audience.