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Networking Opportunities 127 State Aviation Conferences Most states have airport operator associations. It is typical for these organizations to have at least two annual meetings in spring and fall. The associations provide a venue for state DOTs and the regional FAA district offices to communicate with all the airports. Some associations serve as advocates for aviation issues with state legislative bodies. These organizations also raise funds for scholarships and offer training. The airport opera- tors associations are excellent ways to network with other airport managers in your state and to discuss a wide range of airport issues. FAA Regional Conferences The FAA sponsors a number of regional conferences throughout the year in different locations throughout the United States that focus on regional airport issues. Visit the FAA website provided for a complete list of regional conferences. 12.3.7 TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH CONFERENCE TRB Annual Meeting TRB sponsors its annual meeting in January. It is "an information-packed program that will attract more than 10,000 transportation professionals from around the world." The TRB Annual Meeting program covers all trans- portation modes, with more than 3,000 presentations in nearly 600 sessions addressing topics of interest to all attendees--policy makers; administrators; practitioners; researchers; and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. Airports should choose conferences carefully, have specific goals in mind, schedule important meetings in advance, have a means to collect important contact information, and plan to follow up after the conference. 12.4 STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS Effectiveness Cost Commercial Service General Aviation $ - - Definition: Today, it is common in the aviation industry to talk about strategic partnerships, alliances, and joint ventures. Most of these partnerships, especially among airlines or between airports and airlines, are defined by contract. In this chapter, the term "strategic marketing alliance" is used more informally to describe "the join- ing of forces and resources to achieve a common objective." Airports form strategic alliances with other groups to increase organizational capacity, resources, and expertise to accomplish specific marketing objectives. Strategic marketing alliances also make it possible to combine and use the networks of participating groups. Airports are an integral part of the local economy as a revenue and employment generator. As such, airports share many of the same economic development goals and objectives as other community groups. Consequently, there are many partnerships that could be formed. Exhibit 12.1 shows some of the possibilities.

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128 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports Exhibit 12.1--Strategic Partnerships for Airports. Airport Tenants Banks Travel Industry Other Private Other Cities or (Agents, Resorts) Industry Airports in Region Strategic Partnerships Colleges, Universities Other Govt Gro ups FBOs, MROs & Flight Schools (MPO's, State, Local) & Fuel Suppliers Airlines Developers Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. 12.4.1 BENEFITS OF CREATING STRATEGIC MARKETING ALLIANCES Alliances make it possible to combine resources (people, money, and time) to work toward a common goal. Alliances can also bring together different skill sets, complementary experience, and networks. Airports can save time and gain experience from other groups. If managed properly, strategic marketing alliances improve the odds for a successful outcome. 12.4.2 COMMON MARKETING ALLIANCES The following discussion provides some specific examples of how airports are strategically aligning themselves with stakeholders in the community to achieve their marketing goals. AIRCRAFT SERVICE PROVIDERS (FBOs, MROs, AND FUEL SUPPLIERS) Fixed base operators (FBOs), maintenance, repair and overhaul operators (MROs), and fuel suppliers are excellent airport partners for marketing products and services to targeted audiences. AIRLINES There are numerous examples of strategic partnerships with airlines. Airports and communities will offer rate reductions, local advertising, revenue guarantees or other commitments to use retained, new, or enhanced service. Some airports provide "over and/or under the wing" services including baggage handling, ticketing, and fueling.

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Networking Opportunities 129 AIRPORT TENANTS Airport tenants are good strategic partners. They have selected the airport as the location for their business, they have signed a lease, use airport infrastructure, and thus, want to make sure that the airport is successful. Joint marketing that benefits the tenant and the airport makes good business sense. Existing tenants are often very good lead generators for net tenants. BANKS Banks can provide important leadership in a community. Bankers operate within large business and civic net- works. They can assist airports with increasing awareness of the local airport, encouraging greater use of the airport, helping to organize the business community, and raising funds for airport promotions and marketing. CITIES IN THE REGION Airports usually serve more than one community. Joint marketing efforts that combine community resources offer an opportunity to tap different expertise, share costs and effort, and extend the reach of a marketing cam- paign to the entire service area. GOVERNMENT GROUPS (STATE, REGIONAL, AND LOCAL) In the last decade, several states and regional organizations have sponsored air service development initia- tives and advertising campaigns. In Wyoming and Pennsylvania, state DOTs have funded statewide websites designed to promote aviation and direct users to individual airport websites. Minnesota and Wyoming have also funded radio and television advertisements that can be customized for local use. Individual airports can then incorporate the state's promotional materials as part of their own marketing campaigns. PRIVATE INDUSTRY Local businesses have made enormous contributions to airport development efforts. They can serve as strong allies with the airport and can effectively represent the community that the airport serves. On the commercial aviation side, business leaders that pledge to use a new or improved air service carry weight with the airlines. Local businesses are also a rich resource to identify new tenant prospects for the airport or industrial park. REAL ESTATE DEVELOPERS Airports are land managers. Land development and redevelopment usually engages local economic develop- ment groups to find new airport tenants. Airports also form partnerships with real estate developers, although these partnerships are formal and bound by contract. TRAVEL INDUSTRY Travel agents are another logical strategic marketing ally. They are knowledgeable about air service and can convey to their clients the advantages and value of using the local airport.