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Boingo Promotions Help Boost Airport Revenue

As part of a promotional program launched by Boingo in the second quarter of 2008, airports are seeing a boost in revenue thanks to the company’s partnership with various sponsors.

Typically, travelers at airports where Boingo is in place pay the service provider for access, which thus gives the airport a revenue share. Under the promotional program, travelers will have 15-20 minutes of sponsored access, for which the sponsor pays the provider and the airport gets a revenue share. Users will watch a 30-second promotional video from the sponsor company, and then be able to use the Wi-Fi for the specified length of time.

The length of the offers vary, as they tend to be targeted to a single airport or groups of airports. Some sponsorships run for a week, others will run for a month.

The program has generated up to 35% more revenue at select airports during these sponsored campaigns. To date, some of the airports that have participated include John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia (LGA), Newark Liberty International (EWR) and Midway (MDW). JFK is currently running a campaign sponsored by Powermat; previous sponsors have including Hyatt Place hotels and Bing search. Although the boost can vary by 2.5% to 35%, it is limited to the length of the campaigns which tend to be short.

“Hybrid models such as these provide an excellent opportunity for airports to preserve revenues from paid Wi-Fi concessions while offering complimentary access to travelers on a short term basis,” says Christian Gunning, director of corporate communication for Boingo Wireless. “Because of the high costs of sponsorship, these campaigns aren’t currently sustainable for extended periods, but the market is working to find an equilibrium where the needs of airports, service providers and travelers are all met, while providing enterprise-class connectivity with world class customer support.”

The latest sponsored access provider is Google, which is doing things a little differently than other campaigns. Google is sponsoring complimentary access in 26 Boingo airports, including Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI), Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International (AZO), El Paso International (ELP) and Lambert-St. Louis International (STL), as part of a larger holiday gift campaign that covers 47 airports nationwide. But instead of having to watch a promotional video about Google, users are asked – but not required – to make a donation to their favorite charity in exchange for the free Wi-Fi; nor are they limited in the amount of time they have for free service, as is the case with other promotions. The Google event runs through Jan. 15.