Manchester Airport has signed in to popular Chinese media channels Weibo and WeChat to talk to passengers flying on its direct route from Beijing.
Manchester Airport’s new direct flight to Beijing with Hainan Airlines has already attracted almost 40,000 passengers since launching in June. Many of these use Weibo and WeChat, the Chinese equivalents of Twitter and Whatsapp, to communicate with friends and relatives, and to interact with brands.
The airport has worked with Chinese digital agency, Red Lantern, to create and develop its presence on the social channels. Using Mandarin, Manchester Airport will be able to better communicate with the masses of passengers from China.
As well as passengers from China, the airport also plans to communicate in Mandarin with the huge Chinese population across its catchment area as far north as Scotland, south to the West Midlands and across to North Wales, Merseyside and Yorkshire. Many Chinese students use the North’s Global Gateway to access universities and also the rich population of people of Chinese heritage.
Manchester has the third biggest China town in Europe.
Patrick Alexander, Head of Marketing at Manchester Airport said: “What better way to speak to a core demographic and our new passenger base than adopting the channels they know and love.
“Not only can we provide them with relevant airport and airline information, but by using their channels, in their native Mandarin, we can give added value and a better, more targeted, customer service.
“The channels will provide a wealth of content and as we grow and develop our route network to China, in turn the social media channels will also grow.”
Lewis Hannam, founder of Red Lantern, said: “The direct flights between Manchester and Beijing are a significant boost to trade between the two countries, and it’s great that Manchester Airport is doing all it can to be the UK’s most China-friendly airport.
“Weibo and WeChat are vital tools in engaging and understanding your Chinese customers. This is just the first step in some innovative moves the airport will make for its Chinese travellers.”
The airport’s new interactive WeChat account will give Chinese visitors full details of the airport’s services, including an airport map, travel information, eating options, language help, free WIFI connection, and duty free tax information.
Both the Weibo and WeChat accounts will also feature tourist attraction information in Mandarin for the broader area, as well as light-hearted video content from local Chinese students explaining why the area is such a great place to visit, and some of its hidden gems.
The channels launch today with a poetry competition to win £1,000 in flight vouchers with Hainan Airlines.
Hainan Airlines flies four times a week to Beijing from Manchester with an Airbus A330-300 with 260 economy seats and 32 in business.
Red Lantern is a specialist China digital agency with offices in the UK and China. It’s clients include Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, the Premier League, and Harrods
For more information see www.manchesterairport.co.uk