Manchester Airport Group

Developing a thriving twitter strategy and application for an international airport

We have been digital partners with Manchester Airports Group since 2000. The digital landscape has changed massively in that time. Not least the rise of social media. We’ve been helping the airport with their social strategy for several years now. We worked with them to develop their Twitter tone of voice and strategy whilst training their PR team on how to make the most of the platform. Alongside this we developed a launch campaign for @mainairport and our award winning ‘Tweeting Departure Board’.


The brief

Design a solution to take advantage of the real-time micro blogging capabilities of Twitter in order to engage their customers in a number of ways;

  • To promote the re-launched retail facilities within the Airport (launch campaign)
  • To enable the Airport to communicate directly with an audience from a wide age group within its target market.
  • To provide useful functionality and information to Twitter users
  • To reach new markets who previously had no exposure through traditional channels.

The solution

As well as providing strategy planning to how best to use Twitter, we designed and built two applications. One for launch and another for the continued benefit of users long after the launch campaign had finished.

Follow & re-tweet competition

Twitter Bird For launch, it was important to generate as much interest and as many followers in the initial stages as possible. Everyone likes things for free, so as an incentive to attract followers and promote Manchester Airport’s retail and catering outlets, we built a Twitter application that encouraged its customers to ‘follow @manairport for vouchers and re-tweet for prizes’.

People arriving at the destination URL were invited to connect with the application and confirm they were following @manairport. They were then given access to 5 special discount vouchers. To spread the message further the follower was then invited to tweet a prepared message to be included in a prize draw for chance to win £500 worth of goods from Manchester Airport retail plus a stay in a hotel and free airport parking.

The launch was a great success with followers generated through the campaign into the tens of thousands.

Tweeting Departure Board

Manchester Airport Twitter Messages While building up the Twitter followers through incentive based viral marketing, we put the finishing touches to an award winning application that would continue to benefit the followers of @manairport long after the vouchers had been redeemed. It provides live flight information for all flights in and out of the airport. As Manchester Airport are continually devising ways to improve the customer experience, this application was designed to not only benefit travellers, but also people dropping off and picking up.

  • The user, if not already, follows @manairport and is followed back. This is important as the service uses direct messaging and relies on information being passed back and forth between customer and Manchester Airport, you can only send DMs to users who are following you.
  • They then send a DM containing the word ‘Flight’ and the associated flight number
  • Confirmation of receipt and flight status updates are immediately sent back to the user
  • The application uses the same information as the Arrival and Departure boards. As long as your flight is due to arrive or depart within 12 hours, the app will have the information, if it doesn’t, a link to the full flight list is sent instead.
  • The user will then receive an update by DM every time the status of the flight changes until the plane has either taken off (departures) or the passengers are collecting their baggage (arrivals).
  • If they wish to stop receiving updates before then simply send a DM with the word CANCEL.

Manchester Airport Twitter App Praise Although we were happy to set up and manage both campaigns in the initial launch and development periods, we felt it important that Manchester Airport continued to build and sustain the relationships in the long run. This would not only ensure that any future offers or promotions could be sent out to all followers with immediate effect, but it would also allow the Airport to find their own voice within this social media space and engage in real time with their customers.

The Results

The campaigns caught the attention of the media, filling numerous column inches, both locally and nationally, including New Media Age, Revolution Magazine, Opodo and How Do. Most importantly though, it is the followers who will determine the ongoing success of the campaigns, through tweets and re-tweets they will be the heartbeat that enables it to grow. @manairport’s current follower count stands at over 80,000 and is constantly growing.