Brisbane shines at prestigious Asia Pacific marketing awards as it invests for a bright future

Three marketing awards will be arriving back in the Australian city of Brisbane this week after the airport and the city’s economic development board, Destination Brisbane, cleaned up at this year’s Routes Asia Marketing Awards, hosted alongside the annual network development forum.

Brisbane airport, which had hosted the 2018 edition of the event, was named the overall winner having earlier won the ‘Over 20 Million Passengers’ category against fierce competition from Fukuoka International, Kuala Lumpur International, Shanghai Pudong International, Singapore Changi and fellow Australian rival Melbourne airport.

The airport is Australia’s most domestically connected hub and the third busiest airport by passenger numbers with two major terminals accommodating 35 airlines flying to 85 domestic and international destinations. It is owned and operated by the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), which has committed billions of dollars of investment in the airport, including a new runway due to open in 2020.

The forum’s organiser UBM says the airport was recognised for taking a sophisticated analysis-driven and creative partnership approach to its marketing, including offering significant support for airlines’ growing capacity, frequency, or gauging aircraft and an event TV campaign featuring Catriona Rowntree, a well-known Australian TV host and travel reporter.

Jim Parashos, head of aviation business development airline and retail management at Brisbane airport, says development at the airport has been “a long-burn process” and says the recognition “is the culmination of two years of really hard work”.

CHART – Brisbane airport has recorded year-on-year growth every year this decade with stable growth of around 2% in the past three consecutive yearsSource: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics

“We’ve had seven new airlines during that time and up-gauges from existing carriers, which is equally important but often forgotten about,” he explains. “In July 2016 the Brisbane-Asia market was served with only 87 weekly flights, generating approximately 24,000 weekly one-way seats. In just three years this market will be served with 137 weekly frequencies, generating approximately 34,000 weekly one-way seats.”

These new arrivals comprise Air China, Hainan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Air, Philippine Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines and Thai AirAsia X, while increased frequency is being offered by Emirates Airline (14 to 21 per week), Singapore Airlines (21 to 28 per week) plus Qantas, Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand.

“We operate in a very competitive environment, not just in South East Queensland but the whole of Australia, so you have to continue to innovate and go above and beyond for your customers. We don’t do it for the awards, but this is fantastic recognition for what we’ve achieved,” adds Mr Parashos.

Following in the airport’s success, Brisbane Marketing was awarded the destination award in a category where Beijing Municipal Bureau of Tourism, Chengdu Culture & Tourism Group, Gold Coast Tourism and Vietnam National Administration of Tourism were also nominated across the region.

Judges commended Brisbane Marketing on their cooperative approach as they partnered not only with Brisbane Airport Corporation to secure and support their new routes, but further partnered with airlines to deliver supporting marketing activity, such as hosting a trade educational session and dinner in Shenzhen which Brisbane’s Lord Mayor attended to reiterate the support that Brisbane extends to Shenzhen as sister cities.

In 2018, Brisbane experienced record growth from international visitors with a 9.7% year on year increase in international visitors and 20.5% growth in overnight visitors. Brisbane Marketing had previously undertaken activity in New Zealand, China and South Korea, and these source markets lead the way with visitor numbers up 13%, 15.8% and 4.3% respectively, according to its awards submission.

Recently Brisbane airport entered into a three year multi-million dollar partnership with Brisbane Marketing to boost recognition of Brisbane to international audiences, further enhancing Brisbane’s position as an international gateway to Australia.

PHOTO – All the winners from this year’s Routes Asia Marketing Awards in Cebu, PhilippinesSource: UBM

The annual Routes Asia Marketing Awards took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, in the heart of the City of Cebu, Philippines. Nominated and judged by airlines, the annual awards are highly regarded in the aviation industry for recognising the outstanding marketing services that have supported the launch of new air routes or the development of existing services.

Others winners included Sihanouk International airport in the ‘Under 4 Million Passengers’ category and Perth airport in the ‘4-20 Million Passengers’ category.

Sihanouk International Airport, which serves the coastal Cambodian city of Sihanoukville, was congratulated for creating an impressive number of new routes to Chinese cities, opening up their region of Cambodia to a new, and booming, travel market.

Growth at Sihanoukville Airport has been significant, going from under 100,000 passengers per annum in 2015 to over 650,000 in 2018. Traffic doubled each year in 2014, 2015, 2016 and last year’s growth may have just missed the mark, but was a still impressive 92.6% increase, going from 339,000 to 654,000 passengers.

Perth airport was commended for attracting new airlines and adding capacity with existing airlines. Noticing a slow in growth from their local catchment area, their business development team turned their attention to focus on unserved inbound routes, including Tokyo Narita, London Heathrow and Hobart, Tasmania. The team also worked with airlines to increase capacity on existing routes from Singapore, Doha, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.