Make us your home page
Instagram

Tampa International Airport sells space for flashier advertising

Tampa International Airport recently sold space at four of its escalators to Busch Gardens for murals and video screens.

ATOYIA DEANS | Times

Tampa International Airport recently sold space at four of its escalators to Busch Gardens for murals and video screens.

Consider the new joys that could greet you on future road trips.

You clear security through Miami International Airport, stroll toward the gate and find tourists pumping quarters into rows of flashing, beeping slot machines. Sort of like the Seminole Hard Rock without clouds of cigarette smoke and scantily clad cocktail servers.

Something odd on the public address system catches your ear on the walk through the Anheuser-Busch terminal at Lambert-St. Louis International. Is that an ad for Airborne, the herbal formula touted to ward off colds in germ-infested public places?

Just last week, airport officials floated these ideas to shore up sagging finances. Expect more to come.

With airline passenger traffic down about 10 percent, airports are hurting. The decline means less cash from nearly all their biggest money-makers: restaurant and retail sales, parking (off 18 percent at Tampa International in May) and car rentals.

Airport executives have found novel ways to juice up their bottom lines for over decade. Dallas-Fort Worth International sells energy companies leases to drill natural gas. New retail and dining concepts — cell phone battery chargers, wine bars and massage stations — abound.

Advertising is everywhere. Portable signs pitching Under Armour athletic wear greet Boston Logan Airport travelers at baggage claim during the marathon. Ads for Zappos shoes have adorned the bottom of bins at security checkpoints.

The strategy works like this: raise more money from new business partners and hold down fees charged to airlines. That brings more carriers, more flights and more destinations for local travelers. Tampa International played the game expertly.

Such "non-aeronautical revenues" make up $3 out of every $4 in airport revenue. It's a big reason low-cost king Southwest came to the airport in 1996 and rapidly expanded. (St. Petersburg-Clearwater International charges even lower airline fees, thanks to business leases on airport land.)

Tampa International cranked up ad revenue with a new Busch Gardens deal. The attraction bought an eye-catching photo "wall wrap" and video screens along escalators that carry passengers down to baggage claim. The cost: $2.9 million over five years, split between the airport and its advertising sales firm.

But Tampa International boss Louis Miller says some of the new revenue ideas go too far. He's not interested in slots or naming terminals for corporate giants. Ads over the public address system or hosts handing out product samples would be too grating on busy travelers.

And if you're a gambler who can't wait to unpack before laying a bet? Try Carren International … in Vegas, of course.

Steve Huettel can be reached at huettel@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3384.

Tampa International Airport sells space for flashier advertising 07/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 6:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Where to pig out for National Bacon Lovers Day

    Food & Dining

    That's right: Sunday is the national day devoted to all things bacon, National Bacon Lovers Day. Which, really, isn't too different from the other 364 days of the year. But here's a little roundup of some special places to celebrate everyone's favorite meat snack (seriously, even vegans have a grudging respect …

    A creme-filled doughnut topped with maple frosting and bacon at Dough on MacDill Avenue in Tampa.
  2. The Penny Hoarder tops 79 fastest growing Tampa Bay companies on Inc. 5000

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Penny Hoarder today further cemented its reputation as one of the country's fastest growing companies. The personal finance web site business ranks 25th nationwide and tops in the Tampa Bay market for growth on the just released 2017 Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing businesses.

    One of the fastest growing startups in the country is St. Petersburg's The Penny Hoarder, a financial advice web site aimed at helping readers save money. Playing a game in the office is (right to left) founder and CEO Kyle Taylor, vice president of business operations Vishal Mahtani and executive editor Alexis Grant. [Courtesy of The Penny Hoarder]
  3. Here's what it's like inside a writhing, growling Howl-O-Scream audition

    Florida

    TAMPA — At Busch Gardens, a Howl-O-Scream manager is hunting zombies.

    Auditioner Natalie Rychel, 20, of Tampa, Fla., high fives director of atmosphere Morgan Malice after being selected for a job for Bush Gardens' Howl-O-Scream during an audition at the theme park on Friday, August 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (From left) Auditioners Jared Shipley, 20, of Lakeland, Fla., and Lincoln Scott, 41, of Riverview, Fla., look over. This year, Howl-O-Scream will take place from September 22 to October 29 at Bush Gardens. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  4. Tampa Bay homeowners sue JPMorgan Chase for billing on already-paid mortgages

    Banking

    ST. PETERSBURG — Two Tampa Bay homeowners are suing JPMorgan Chase Bank for attempting to continue to collect on what they say were already-paid-off mortgages.

    JPMorgan Chase is the subject of a lawsuit by two Tampa Bay homeowners who say the bank attempted to collect on mortgages they already paid off. | [Getty Images]
  5. Housing starts fall in July

    Real Estate

    WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts fell 4.8 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.16 million. Groundbreakings for multi-family buildings such as apartments slumped 17.1 percent, while single-family house construction slipped 0.5 percent.

    On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported on U.S. home construction in July. 
[AP file photo]