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44 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports General aviation airports also place somewhat greater emphasis on sponsoring educational events or other events at the airport to raise public awareness and improve the airport's image in the community. The specific type of sponsored event varied among those surveyed, but included such activities as Young Eagles, student tours of the airport, and safety seminars. Some of the less common but creative promotional events included partnering for charity events, chamber of commerce "After Hours" events, and the local symphony. A customer satisfaction survey is the most common form of market research conducted by general aviation air- ports, but only 6 of the 16 respondents reported conducting such a survey. Also, those airports seeking com- mercial service have typically used outside consultants to conduct market research for the airport. 6.4 TOOLS AIRPORTS CONSIDER MOST EFFECTIVE Airports generally agree that local press coverage is an effective marketing tool, as are meetings with local busi- ness and civic groups. Airports know that good media relations are important and that issuing good press releases in turn leads to good radio and TV coverage. One airport manager said that he helped build good media relations by always having a story ready for when the local media needed one. Beyond the subject of obtaining good local press coverage, there is a range of opinion as to which tools are most effective. COMMERCIAL SERVICE AIRPORTS Commercial service airports reported the following: Several airports were strong proponents of using billboards to increase awareness of the local airport. "You could be there now" was a common theme. Several airports reported that they had conducted contests that were effective. These made use of radio, email, and Internet. One airport used a contest involving local travel agencies to encourage them to book travel at the local airport. Four respondents mentioned that they found newspaper advertising to be the least effective market- ing medium. Radio elicited differing reactions. Some airports rated it among the least effective marketing vehicles. Others thought it useful for short-term impacts. Air shows drew mixed reactions. Many airports had sponsored air shows in the past, but in some cases, found them disruptive to operations. Many airports also conducted programs for students, the 4-H, Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts. Two airports said that it was difficult to know which media were effective. One said that the airlines had the direct relationship with the customer and that the airport was only an intermediary with much less information.