The world's best airports : how do they perform online?

The worlds best airports in 2011 are (according to this website) the ones described below. I decided to take the first 3 and Schiphol, this saturdaymorning, to do a short quick review. I took Schiphol because I am Dutch and I visit the airport a lot. That's the only reason. I think they can improve also a lot in their online and multichannel communication.

Airports are nice, they are always busy, you can do a lot in multi channel communication to optimize the user experience and a lot is written about airports at the web.
So by listening to the visitors of your airport you can optimize your services and give the best possible airport experience to the visitors. Unfortunately not all of the best airports in the world have a good digital communications strategy.

This is the list of world's best airports in 2011:

1) Hong Kong International Airport
2) Singapore Changi Airport
3) Incheon International Airport
4) Munich Airport
5) Beijing Capital International Airport
6) Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

Let's see how some of them perform online.

Social Channels:

Hong Kong International Airport:


- Facebook Page They have 1.924 likes at their facebook fanpage and write both in Chinese and English.
Sometimes a mistake is made. I see a comment from Julian Li. He asks in English: "When will skydeck reopen".
An interesting question, also for other people to read. The Airport replys in Chinese. It is best to reply in the language that the question was asked. Other people also might be interested in reading this answer.
Question in English, reply in Chinese
  • Twitter page with 137 tweets and 146 followers. Tweets are almost all in Chinese. That;s not good for international followers. Especially because they can reach the Chinese audience with Sina Weibo.
  • Youtube channel with 345 subscribers and 189364 video displays. Videos are both in Chinese and with English subs. However the videos do not appeal. They are not very attractive. In total 60 videos are uploaded.
  • Sina Weibo page. They have a local Sina Weibo page with 27.427 fans. It is good to also have a local social platform involved for local branding and acceptation.

Singapore Changi Airport:


  • Youtube channel with 688852 video displays and 279 subscribers.Videos and descriptions are in English. They video's appeal a little, especially because the first one displayed is about being a changi shopping millionair. In total 24 videos are uploaded.
  • Twitter page with 3.571 tweets and 3.571 followers. Tweets in English and seems to be an interesting combination of tweets.
  • Flickr Singapore Changi airport has a flickr account.
  • Facebook. The facebook channel is not clearly displayed at their website, you have to like it, but you cannot click to it from the homepage. But if you get there you will see that they have 68,265 people liking the page. Posts are in English and it seems that they know how to engage the audience, I see posts with questions, polls and pictures stretched over the page.

Incheon International Airport:


Strangely they do not use an international URL with the airport's name and important keywordsd. Also they do not use the .com name. It is better to use for example.

One of the worlds best airports. But not in their online presence. I do not see any of the social networks at the homepage. Also a search at twitter did not show up their official twitter page.Their "about page" is also not showing social information. Besides that their URL structure is a disaster for SEO purposes. The URL's are not clean, they are long and impossible to read. Like:

Schiphol Airport


  • Twitter page Schiphols twitter page is not easy to find at the website. However with a twitter search multiple accounts can be found. The official one is only in Dutch. And has limited response times. (only during working hours) This is only written in Dutch, so probably most visitors of Schiphol will not understand this.They have 5,225 followers and 2.320 tweets. Mainly in Dutch but they reply also to english tweets.
  • Facebook page The facebook page has 121.859 fans. Mainly Dutch, but interesting content (if you can read Dutch)
  • Youtube channel the Schiphol Airport Youtube channel has 463 subscribers and 195227 video displays and a totla of 362 videos. There are both English and Dutch version of videos

Network Hong Kong Singapore Incheon Schiphol
Youtube Followers 345 279 - 463
Youtube Displays 189364 688852 - 195227
Facebook Likes 1924 68265 - 121859
Twitter Followers 146 3571 - 5225
Tweets (twitter) 137 3571 - 2320
Flickr - YES - -
Local Social networks Sina W (27427) - - -


Singapore Changi Airport does the best job in their international online social presence. They are at the major social networks and are also active at them. They write in English and they write interesting content. Altough Schiphol has more followers, they do not write in English all the time and their social presence is more difficult to find.
Incheon International Airport is not doing a good job in their online presence. In all aspects of international digital marketing they can improve. From SEO, to usability, site speed and social presence.

In general, I think there are easy improvements possible for all mentioned airports, by thinking more of their international audience when writing and displaying content. Also from an SLA point of view there is room for improvement.

A good mix of content in social media is also important. For example: 40% informative, 30% news 20% fun and entertainment and 10% user generated content. That can be a good mix. In case of severe delay's they have to use social media much better then is the case now and to have plan's ready for things that can happen.
Airports are so nice, there are so much nice things to tell. I am sure a high engagement factor can be reached when doing social media and airports.
When doing it right, as seen in this overview, you can get many steps ahead of the competition.

How to get to the city from an airport

Airports are nice to visit (I think) but you always have to move further. What information do the website provide and how easy is it found about traveling to the city center.
  • Hong Kong Airport calls the page where they explain how to go to the city centre, a transport page. But the page is complete and also divided into subcategories. But a suggestion to Hong Kong Airport is to also call this transport page : to and from Hong Kong Airport. A quick look in Googles keyword estimator gives a higher search volume for  to and from Hong Kong Airport (301.000) then transport hong kong airport (4.400).
  • Changi Airport has a real good, easy to find " to and from" page, divided in sections. They even have a FREE shuttle bus to parts of the city.
  • At the Incheon airport page you cannot really mis the link to the explanation page since the "to and from airport" buttons fly with you over the screen when you browse. Online ticketing is available. Negative is that the page is mainly text and a real long scroll.
Incheon Airport's flying banner with the " to and from"  link. 

  • Schiphol has also a to and from page. With an easy navigation and all possibilities are divided in to subcategories (train/bus etc).

Internal site search:

As seen in Googles traffic estimator, the people that look for hotels in or near the airport is quite large.
So I tried the internal site searches with this query: hotel airport

  • Hong Kong Airport gives about 976 pages.

Internal site search results Hong Kong Airport
Withouth a real summary unfortunately. The first click is indeed a hotel. But it would have been better to make a special landingpage with information about all hotels at the airport and in the area, with an online booking possibility. Could be done in cooperation with external agency's (booking/expedia)

Changi Airport returns 365 search results and their overview page is not so bad. Altough there are to many results. But if I click at the first result I arrive to this page where I have to scroll down a lot to find some hotel information. This should of course not be the case. The search result should be relevant and if I look for an airport hotel, I want a good landingpage, and at first sight, I need to see hotel information.

Search Results Changi Airport

  • Korea Airport returns about 44 pages and divides them into subcategories. Thats good, however the subcategories don't say so much, so you do not really know where to click. You have to click a few times before you arrive to some more information about the Incheon Airport Transit hotel. Could also be improved this internal site search.

  • Schiphol does the best job, of the three. Altough their internal site search can also be improved you will reach a page where you can easily book hotels in or near the airport.


As with a lot of internal site searches, the results are often dramatic. In these examples the search results displays and search results itself could be improved dramatically. By creating a good internal site search, user satisfaction and sales will go up. Monitor the qweery's users enter in your site search and optimize it. There are lot of great tools available to do so.

I did not even try search qweery's of words that are not in their index. I am pretty sure in this case also strange error messages will occur.

Anyway Incheon airport will not receive any award for their digital communication and approach.

The award for airport's digital communication will not go to Incheon airport

There is so much more to tell about the website of these -and other- airports. Maybe next time more about that. Usability, SEO, Content, mobile, auto response at twitter messages etc. With some creativity airports experiences online and multichannel can be so much nicer. Not a lot of airports work together with the franchises online, not a lot of airports have an online and multichannel view from the passenger's site. If you walk around an airport with a digital view, digital communication can really help to improve the airport's reputation and experience.

Thanks for reading and greetings,

Alex Baar


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