Paula Williams: Hey, Paula Williams.
John Williams: And John Williams.
Paula: And we are ABCI, and ABCI’s mission is…
John: To help you, ladies and gentlemen out there in the aviation world, sell more of your products and services.
Paula: Absolutely. So, we have been, for the last couple of weeks, talking about different types of aviation businesses and unique things that they should include on their website. And of course, every website has a whole list of things that it can and should include. And there’s a whole lot of best practices out there for websites in general, but we’re talking specifically today about FBOs.
Paula: Right. So, Big space operators, whether or not, and almost every FBO that I’ve ever heard of offers other services, too, like aircraft management, charter, fuel, some MROs, some have MRO services and have other types of services involved with the FBO.
But, whatever you are, assuming that you are a fixed-based operator that offers line services, fuel, the usual FBO stuff, we’re going talking to about that today.
Okay. So, when you look at an FBO’s website, and I have seen so many of them that start with, “Service is our number one priority and we’ve been in business for 20 years.” And it’s all just corporate speak. Paragraphs of corporate speak with a beautiful picture of an airplane. And that’s what they all look like. And it takes a while to get into this to figure out where they are and what kind of services they offer and why would I choose this FBO over the other one on the field. And…
John: So, what you’re saying is you can R&R logos and be just fine.
Paula: Exactly. I mean, there is no difference between one website and another. It looks like they were built by templates and they weren’t customized enough to give them the flavor or the unique selling proposition, as what we call it in the marketing, nerdy[?] speak.
But there’s not a differentiation between one or the other that is enough to inform a perspective customer why would they turn left rather than turn right on the ramp, you know?
Paula: Okay. So, what are your favorite things to see first on an FBO website?
John: Well, something that you don’t want to put out there.
Paula: Which is?
John: Landing fees.
Paula: Landing fees [laughs]. You wouldn’t know what they are right up front.
John: Oh, yeah.
Paula: Okay. There’s actually an entire book by Marcus Sheridan that talks about how for years and years and years and years, marketing has always advised people to hide their prices and hide their specifications of their products and services, and be mysterious and corporate, and all of those things.
Welcome to 2022 when everything has changed. Customers can find that information whether you want them to or not. And the harder you make them work to find answers to their questions-
John: They’re less likely are going to make business with you.
Paula: And the more resentful they are of you for wasting their time. So-
John: Yeah, and I won’t do it if I can’t find what I’m looking for, at least a pointer on the front page, I go somewhere else.
Paula: Just answer to their question because they’re either going to agree to your terms or they’re going to move on. And the faster they make that decision, the happier everyone will be, right?
So put our landing fees out there. Let them know and to quote another one of our articles where we talked about pricing, we talked about premium pricing. So, if your landing fees are higher than everyone else’s, tell people why.
‘Price high and justify’ is the acronym or the rhyme that we used to remember what that means. So, it is fine to be the most expensive service there is as long as you are offering the most valuable service. And you want to tell them why your landing fees are higher than the others on the field, instead of just hiding your landing fee and letting people…
John: Get surprised.
Paula: …hunt and packed, right? Yeah, exactly. Okay. So landing fees, what else?
John: A high level of list of services you provide.
Paula: Right. That’s excellent because if someone is coming in to a particular city or region or something like that and they’re going to need some type of service, if there is an MRO that’s associated with your FBO or on the same field or, you know, that you have a partnership with or anything else. But people know that so that they can plan their stay, get as much done as they possibly can and so on.
Paula: What else?
John: More fees, hangars tie down. What’s it cost because if I were to spend the night there, no matter where it is, and particularly if it’s in a wind-blown, hot, sandy place or…
John: …frozen, icy, wherever, I want the airplane inside.
Paula: Yeah. So in Starwars parlance, that would be Tatooine or Hoth. [laughs] So if FBOs in Tattooine or Hoth, you want a hangar, right?
Paula: Okay. Even if it’s in San Diego, you probably want a hangar.
John: Yeah, just to help reduce oxidation.
Paula: Exactly. It’s your expensive asset so a lot people want to know if that’s available.
Pilot services are always popular, right? Showers, laundry, especially if you serve a lot of international flights, and other things like that you want to be as hospitable as possible to-
John: If you don’t have a restaurant or food bar there, where’s the closest one?
Paula: Yeah, exactly. This doesn’t have to be services that are resident in your FBO. You can also let people know ‘here’s what’s available in the area’ just so that they can plan their trip and make sure that that’s going to be a pleasant stay and productive, right?
John: Rental car availability and pricing.
Paula: Yeah. So, it’s funny because when we look at FBO websites lot of times, they look like everything is gold-plated but they don’t tell you what all they offer. And not everybody is looking for the VIP gold-plated service and everything else. They’re looking for some very specific services and options and things like that. So, if you can specify what’s available and how they can get to it, in some cases, some FBOs even have a reservation form where you can say, “I’ll be coming at this day and this time. I’m going to need fuel. I’m going to need catering. I’m going to need laundry. I’m going to need this, that and other things.” And then people can have that all ready for you. And some of them even estimate a price for you based on the services that you need.
Paula: Yeah. You know, so you just want to make it as convenient as possible for your customers. And put yourself in the shoes of your customers that is not necessarily a VIP or craft owner, might be an overworked or tired dispatcher, or pilot, or somebody like that as making that decision. So, you just want to make that as easy as possible for those people, right?
Paula: Okay, cool. So, lots of things we can put on the FBO site, what are your top 3?
John: Landing fees.
Paula: Landing fees [chuckles]? Okay. We come back to the landing fees.
Paula: So what is it about the landing fees with you? Okay?
John: Well, they can be very pricey.
Paula: Yes, they can.
John: And if they include the reduction of fuel price, then state that.
Paula: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Sometimes it’s absolutely worth a higher landing fee.
John: And the top three, that will be top one that means those were both separate fuel prices and landing fees.
Paula: Okay. Landing fees, fuel prices, one and two.
John: But if you combine them, then I would say services and hangar and tie-down fees.
Paula: Okay. I guess hangar and tie-down is a service.
John: Yeah. Well, tie-down’s not much but depends on how much or what’s your servicing primarily. If it’s small piston or turbine aircraft, tie-down, maybe. But if it’s a bigger stuff, hangars, for sure.
Paula: Right, absolutely. Cool, alright. And of course, you know, for extra credit, you can always list things to do in your area while your principle is doing business here’s some things for the pilots to do. We have golf courses, we have hunting, we have fishing, we have other things and so forth. And also places to stay and places to eat. Those are always good no matter what it is, it’s a destination so you want to make people feel comfortable and feel good about choosing your destination over others if you can.
Paula: Alright. Cool, so, if you have an FBO website that needs some help, because it’s been more than two years since you have worked on it or had anything done to it, then your pictures probably need to be updated. A lot of older websites are obvious because screens have become so much more beautiful and detailed and high-res and brilliant in the last few days, few years.
John: Yeah. And so some of the older pictures pixelated and look kind of blurry.
Paula: Yeah, so if your…
John: Not good.
Paula: …website look fantastic five years ago, it may not now.
John: Right. We have a customer who’s called by a client, he said “You guys still in business?” He said, “Yeah, why?” He said, “Well, your website looks kind of funny.”
Paula: It just looks a little dated. And sometimes that reflects badly. So, you don’t necessarily need it to be gold-plated but you need it to be functional, current and the high-res, right?
John: Yup. Refresh frequent regular basis.
Paula: Exactly. But if your website needs to be refreshed, now is the great time because through August 31st we have free copyrighting. Three hours of free copyrighting when you engage us to do a website refresh.
Paula: Yeah. So, if you’ve been thinking about it for a while, think no more. Let’s get started, right?
John: [laughs] Exactly.
Paula: Okay. See you soon.
John: Stay safe.