How to increase non-aeronautical revenue through sponsored furniture

Storyteller, author, designer and entrepreneur Jonah Sachs once said “Your brand is a story unfolding across all customer touch points.” Going where your customers are is the ultimate in targeted marketing, and an airport environment is the ultimate outreach to consumers from all over the world.

The advertising industry has adapted to changes in the landscape, becoming more creative in terms of placement and medium. While online ads have taken off in the last decade, physical signage still holds a strong place in our lives. As passengers travel through an airport, for instance, there may be ad space on the walls, inside terminal trains, and airline-specific messaging in the jet bridges. However, when considering the sheer surface area in an airport – including furniture, flooring, and hold room accouterments – there is still quite a bit of space to be utilized. Done well, a subtle, integrated message is unobtrusive to passengers. That subtlety gives wings to the message, filing it away in the brain of potential buyers as brand recognition in a way that feels natural and even helpful.

Non-aeronautical revenue sponsored planters

A Nielson study commissioned by Clear Channel Airports (CCA) stated that frequent flyers were particularly responsive to airport advertising, with 80% noticing the advertising and 42% actually taking action. These actions include visiting a website or shop, or finding out more about the product or service.

Airport campaigns are a significant driver of foot traffic, with 84% of frequent fliers likely to visit a restaurant, 50% likely to visit a clothing/accessories/jewelry store and 41% likely to visit a consumer electronics store.

With most passengers arriving to an airport over 1 hour before their flight, this results in a plethora of dwell time at the gates as well as concessions and shops. At the gate, a number of elements lend themselves to increased non-aeronautical revenue. With the guidance of a designer or consultant either from a specific vendor or from a third party, visible surfaces are prime locations for ad revenue. Imagine a planter emblazoned with a high-end watch advertisement. Or a power bar with decals on wraps on the sides and countertop.

Non-aeronautical revenue power bars

inPower Bar at Bullhead City Airport, AZ


This is not a racecar, of course. One does not need to pile on so many decals and ads that your airport looks like a Black Friday sale; the idea is to create an advertising strategy that blends your non-aeronautical revenue goals and your aesthetic themes.

Non-aeronautical revenue engravings

Engraved logo on Nova C Series


Advertisements can be blended into high-touch areas of the airport. A few ideas include:

  • Wooden benches may be engraved with logos or slogans
  • Gate area seatbacks are prime surfaces for upholstered messaging
  • Charging station countertops and legs may be inlaid or wrapped with advertisements. Advertisers can be offered the chance to ‘sponsor’ the supplied power.
  • Waste and recycling bins are excellent locations for airport instructions like WiFi login information, highlighted restaurants, or new concessionaires
Non-aeronautical revenue advertising

Auweko Temptation FF2 waste and recycling bin with advertising panel


As you book concessions for your airport, building in airport surface advertising is an opportunity you don’t want to miss. Include a plan for this non-aeronautical revenue stream in your budgeting and in some cases, the plan may even pay for itself.


Your guide to airport and passenger terminal furniture.


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