March 29 2019  |  Airlines & Airports

Debut car promotion drives Toronto Pearson Airport to new heights

By Hibah Noor in Toronto, Canada

Scott Collier, Vice President, Commercial and Terminal Services at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (left) and Richard Trevisan, Brand Director of Genesis Motors Canada (right) present the keys to a luxury Genesis car to lucky winner Stephen Kilmer (center) at Toronto Pearson Airport

Toronto Pearson Airport has successfully staged its first-ever car giveaway promotion as it embarks on a journey to realize its vision of being the world’s best airport.

Stephen Kilmer, a resident of Hamilton, won a luxury Genesis car when he filled out a ballot at the airport after reading rave reviews about the Canadian auto brand. He collected his prize at the official presentation ceremony on March 22 at Canada’s largest airport, which welcomed 49.5 million passengers in 2018.

In an exclusive interview with Americas Duty Free on the sidelines of the presentation, Scott Collier (pictured below), Vice President, Commercial and Terminal Services at the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), spoke about the inspiration for the giveaway promotion: “Airports today have to make a more personalized experience for passengers. People spend a lot of time at airports, so we have to make it fun, we have to make it experiential, we have to give them choices,” he said.

“People are passionate about automobiles all over the world, and as we go through our transformation at Toronto Pearson to be more customer-centric, we want to create opportunities for excitement for our passengers as they flow through the airport. So what a great opportunity to partner with Genesis, one of the great global marques across the world, to bring them into the fold with their innovation and brand. It’s a logical thing to do and we’re excited about it.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever done this, and hopefully we’ll continue to do it on an accelerated basis, not just with Genesis but with our other partners. We can leverage those people to make us better on our journey to be the best airport in the world.”

Speaking about the benefits to Genesis, Collier said that partnership was about leveraging the airport’s nearly 50 million annual passengers, adding that it goes far beyond the brand’s ads and valet parking sponsorship at Pearson Airport.

“Pearson is a platform to talk to consumers globally about their brand,” he said. “It’s a great brand and it’s a new brand that’s innovative. They communicate with consumers differently, so might we learn from them. It’s about how to co-create new ways to talk to our passengers.”

During the prize presentation, Richard Trevisan (pictured below), Brand Director, Genesis Motors Canada, outlined the benefits to the luxury car brand. “We have a great partnership with Toronto Pearson,” he said. “We’re a three-year-old brand and we need to bring our brand to the consumers. At Toronto Pearson we can reach various touchpoints. Passengers can see a digital presentation before security, and after they’ve gone through security they see more digital presentations. When they’re through security they can relax and enjoy the Genesis experience at our brand center.”

The partnership between Genesis and Toronto Pearson also features a branded tunnel experience that is a first of its kind for any airport the world.

The giveaway was part of Toronto Pearson’s Cheers to the Holidays promotion, which took place from December through to January. To create points of interest, Collier said the airport had a Genesis vehicle on display, as well as mockups of the vehicle. “We tied the promotion into our end-of-year Christmas promotion. There was a lot of excitement, and a fun, cool factor. The terminal was decked out in red, consistent with the holiday theme.”

Record passenger numbers

As Toronto Pearson ups its game in the realm of passenger experience, the airport is also growing strongly, and is currently the largest airport in Canada in terms of total passenger traffic and the second-largest in North America in terms of international passenger traffic. In fact, just this week, OAG released its 2019 list of the top 20 busiest international routes, and Toronto Pearson made the list twice (LGA to YYZ and ORD to YYZ). A total of 49.5 million passengers traveled through Toronto Pearson during 2018, an increase of 2.4 million passengers over 2017, according to the GTAA”s annual results, published this month.

This growth reflects increased capacity of aircraft and new international routes, the economic strength of the Greater Toronto Region, and the role of Toronto Pearson as Canada’s largest airport and North America’s second busiest airport in terms of international passengers.

Howard Eng, President and Chief Executive Officer, Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said: “As Toronto Pearson continues to evolve into one of the world’s leading mega hubs, we are focused on careful planning and execution to ensure that the country and region can continue to count on Toronto Pearson for trade, tourism and economic growth. In 2018, these efforts were again reflected in passenger traffic growth of 5% or higher for the fifth year in a row to a record 49.5 million passengers.”

The Genesis car giveaway is an excellent indication that airports can grow strongly and still make great strides in enhancing the passenger experience. Further proof of this is that Toronto Pearson was named the Best Large Airport in North America for airports serving greater than 40 million passengers annually in Airports Council International’s Airport Service Quality survey. This is the second year in a row that the airport has won the accolade, which is voted on by passengers on the day they travel through the airport while the experience is fresh in their minds.

So what’s next for Toronto Pearson? Collier won’t say, but true to form for an airport that is emerging on the world stage as an international connector of people and businesses, and winning customer service awards along the way, it’s sure to be something that passengers will enjoy.

“There’s an opportunity to make it bigger, and I think we’ll do that,” Collier concluded. “I guarantee it will be soon.”

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