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OCR for page 143
Evaluating and Improving ASD Efforts 145 Keeping them informed helps ground their expectations of progress toward ASD goals and addressing the underlying problems and competitive challenges. Many stakeholders who are not as involved in the aviation industry as officials at the airport are may have only a general percep- tion of developments in the industry and will need information from the airport on industry trends and how they may affect local air service needs. Many communities will not be aware of changes in relationships among regional and mainline carriers, fleet development, or the effect of fuel prices on RJs. Being able to update stakeholders on the results of efforts will help the ASD team consider whether alternative ASD techniques might be more effective in the future. Depending on the reaction of carriers to the last efforts, for example, the ASD team might want to consider addi- tional "revenue-side" ASD techniques (if the carriers' concerns focused more on the weak econ- omy) or on the "cost side" (if demand seemed adequate, but the carriers still held concerns about potential losses during the ramp-up period). Summary Evaluating results is an essential element of an ASD program, as it allows the ASD team to refine its approach. Several different measures of an effort's outcome should be considered. Those measures include the immediate measures (e.g., Did service start? Did the carrier use a larger aircraft?) and other measures of passenger acceptance and airport revenues generated (e.g., incremen- tal parking fees). It is also important to assess the effects of changes on the incumbent service providers. Rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of marketing efforts can be quite complex. Most small airports that pursue a marketing campaign using an outside professional marketing or adver- tising firm should consider building some evaluation into the contract. Whether the service became self-sustaining is a critically important indicator of success. If possible, an evaluation should be done by individuals who did not directly participate in the ASD effort. Those who were involved tend to lack the objectivity that is preferable. Evaluation can occur on both an ongoing and periodic basis. Annual evaluations can be more formal than the preliminary ones that occur throughout the year. Stakeholders--particularly those that have invested time and resources into the ASD program-- deserve to understand how well the ASD effort worked, and whether adjustments will be needed. Keep them informed.