McCarran International Airport Outfits Shuttle Buses with “Infotainment” Marketing Capabilities

The Rent-A-Car Center at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is an off-site facility most commonly accessed by travelers via a large network of free, airport-owned shuttle buses. Each year, more than 7 million people board the buses en-route to their rental cars, or as they return to the airport on their homeward journeys.

Seeking a more effective way to connect with this captive audience for the 10-12 minutes it takes to shuttle between the airport and Rent-A-Car Center, McCarran officials turned to its media partner and agency of record, Lamar Airport Advertising. Working together, Lamar and Social Butterfly World (SBW) developed a plan to outfit the airport’s fleet of 45 busses with a new digital signage “infotainment” network referred to as AVA – Audio Visual Ambassador™.

SBW has collaborated with Lamar for several years, creating marketing props, building and bus wraps, and other advertising campaigns throughout the airport. In mid-2017, SBW was tasked with retrofitting the airport’s existing fleet of buses with dynamic digital signage. Working closely with independent fleet operator First Transit, the first 25 buses are outfitted and ready to display content in January 2018, with the remainder of the fleet set to be retrofitted by Q2 2018.

“For years we’ve displayed advertising in the terminals and along our roadways. With this new initiative, we now have the opportunity to more effectively communicate with our customers transiting to and from the McCarran Rent-A-Car Center,” said Chris Jones, Chief Marketing Officer at the Clark County Department of Aviation. “In addition to reaching travelers more effectively, this new platform makes it easy to tailor content based on time of day, which direction the buses are traveling, and other important factors.”

The upgrade includes installation of a pair of 22-inch LG displays on each bus – one at the front and the other in the middle of the bus – complemented with amplified audio. This placement ensures all passengers have a prime view of the screens. The displays are driven by BrightSign’s HD1023 media players, connected via high-speed cables to a video inverter. The audio signal is boosted with an amplifier and then routed to the legacy bus audio system. GPS detects whether the bus is traveling to or from the Rent-A-Car Center, triggering customized marketing content. Arriving passengers see information about shows and other activities in the Las Vegas area, while departing passengers may view content about shopping and dining options within the airport.

“Data from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority indicates that travelers renting cars have 33 percent more expendable income than those who are not,” said Andrea Collier, CEO, Social Butterfly World. “This new digital signage network reaches the most affluent subset of travelers at a time when they’re most receptive to advertising. This takes place during the first hour of quiet time while most plan their activities here in Las Vegas. The AVA Network provides McCarran International Airport’s advertising and concession partners with targeted, interactive and relevant messaging, all integrated to enhance return on investment.”

Content updates are distributed to the busses via Verizon WiFi towers on board each vehicle. Managing and distributing content wirelessly provides a straightforward, flexible process for ensuring that timely content is always displayed throughout the shuttle bus fleet.

McCarran International Airport has always been quick to pioneer innovative new marketing strategies, and this latest mobile digital signage integration underscores the airport’s willingness to embrace new marketing initiatives.