TPA launches #TPA2SF campaign to bring in new air service

Social Media Campaigns

For years and years, Tampa International Airport fielded the same pesky air service question from Tampa Bay residents: When are we getting a nonstop flight to the San Francisco Bay Area?

Our response was always the same: We’re working on it.

This spring, TPA’s communications/marketing department decided to take a new tact, directly involving our vocal and passionate community in a unique social media campaign dubbed #TPA2SF. The objective was simple: Build support for nonstop service between Tampa and San Francisco.

We launched our #TPA2SF on May 19 across all our social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Social media took off soon after the campaign began and our #TPA2SF Facebook group ballooned to more than 1,000 followers and generated hundreds of comments. Local media outlets in Tampa Bay and San Francisco reported on the campaign.

On July 25, United Airlines announced new daily nonstop service. The flights begin February 2017.

Entry Statement

1. Project Goals: 

The primary objective was clearly to help build the case to airlines for nonstop service between Tampa and San Francisco by leveraging community support. We also had several other goals that we felt would have made this campaign effective:

• Gather anecdotes from residents to share with airlines. We gathered dozens and dozens of stories from business and leisure travelers about why this route is so valuable. Importantly, many said they would increase their frequency of travel.
• Create a forum. After years of listening to the community in meetings and presentations, we wanted to provide an outlet for residents. We wanted to show them that we not only hear their voice, but that it is important and will play a meaningful role in bringing in new service.
• Disseminate important Airport messages. We used this campaign to share facts and figures about the route (the most underserved route in the country at the time) and provide insights about how air service development actually works.

2. Production: 

The social media campaign was handled entirely in-house by our Marketing and Communications Department. The Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram messages were written in conjunction with the air service team to ensure we hit all key themes, including tourism and tech business. All posts directed people to join our #TPA2SF Facebook group and share their story about the importance of the route. We posted daily to Facebook and Instagram and several times a day to Twitter over a two-week period. We also brought in our visitor bureau partners for a Bay vs. Bay complimentary campaign to help build interest.

Sample posts:
We know you want nonstop flights to San Fran. Tell us why #TPA2SF matters to you.
Convo: http://bit.ly/1srJOd6

Want to build your business in the San Francisco area? Tell us why nonstop Tampa-San Francisco would help!
Convo: http://bit.ly/1srJOd6 #TPA2SF

3. Evaluation: 

First and most importantly, United announced new daily nonstop service between Tampa and San Francisco. That happened on July 25 – just two months after the campaign began.

While this was the ultimate goal of the #TPA2SF campaign, it was extremely successful on a number of other fronts. Our #TPA2SF Facebook Group has 1,397 members and includes comments from several hundred members about why this new route is so important and what it would mean to them. This group is the backbone for all of our past and future communications about San Francisco flights. It provides us a great opportunity to disseminate information, fare sales and any changes that affect the route.

Shortly after the campaign ended, we had earned 3,357 social media engagements on Facebook. We had 76,234 Twitter impressions. Perhaps more importantly, we generated a news story in the local Tampa Bay Business Journal that drove a tremendous amount of traffic to our Facebook group. We also generated a news story in the San Francisco Business Times.

4. Budget: 

No costs outside of internal staff time.