Christina Cole and Kayleigh Tarbet before they join a panel discussion about marketing and creative messaging at Routes Americas 2023 in Chicago, IL.

Get to Know Christina Cole and Kayleigh Tarbet, Advance Aviation’s Team Leaders

Advance Aviation is proud of its team leaders, Christina Cole and Kayleigh Tarbet. Dedicated to serving airports of all sizes, Cole and Tarbet have leveraged their experience and capabilities to help Advance Aviation expand from Upstate New York to serve airports throughout the United States and internationally. Learn how Cole and Tarbet have shaped Advance Aviation, enabling airports to achieve marketing success despite various challenges.

Team Leaders Who Care Deeply About the Industry

Advance Aviation began as an expansion of Advance Media New York in 2015. While working with a local airport in Upstate New York — Watertown International Airport (ART) — Cole developed a passion for the industry. She learned the obstacles these airports face in meeting objectives.

“Non-hub small and mid-sized airports compete against larger airports,” Cole says, “They provide a great service for the communities near them, but often times, people in these communities don’t know they are there.”

In addition to competing with the larger hubs in the region, these airports must generate awareness among people in their communities who don’t realize the benefits of flying local.

Cole created Advance Aviation in 2016, which became one of the first of many verticals run by Advance Local. As aviation is her focus, Cole and her team understand the language of the industry. She recognizes her clients’ pain points and goals and can guide them on aspects other agencies might overlook.

Tarbet’s expertise is also invaluable to the team. She began at Advance Media New York in 2014 and specializes in design and creative strategy. Within a few years, she too was working on a few airport accounts alongside Cole. It wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that she really became entrenched in the industry. Airports required help navigating the unprecedented circumstances and Tarbet helped those in one of the industries hit hardest, to communicate important messaging to their communities.

With such uncertainty and ever-changing tides, creative messaging needed to be on point – sensitive, adaptable, and supportive. Digital provided the ability to shift as necessary.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for those in the aviation industry, accelerating existing problems in the industry such as plane, pilot and crew shortages and creating new obstacles. Cole and Tarbet believe with adversity comes opportunity and are as dedicated as ever to helping their airport partners navigate these challenges and succeed.

The efforts of Cole, Tarbet, and a strong team have cemented Advance Aviation as a leader in aviation marketing. 

What Sets Advance Aviation Apart

Cole expresses that part of what differentiates Advance Aviation is the approach. “We don’t take a cookie-cutter approach. We pay attention to the goals and challenges of each specific community,” Cole says.

Passenger leakage is often a main concern for many non-hub smaller airports. They lose potential customers because of other larger airports in the region. These airports might be further away, but travelers opt for them for several possible reasons. Often there is a lack of awareness of the airport right in their backyard or because they look solely at ticket fares, without taking into consideration costs for driving, parking, a potential hotel stay as well as the time and frustration that often accompany flying out of larger hubs.

Hubs often offer nonstop service and more flight options; a specific airline or certain flight times can be a big draw and a nonnegotiable for some travelers. “The key is promoting what makes you different,” Tarbet says. “Highlighting those things that only you can offer and that your customers will benefit from.”

Tarbet explains the importance of storytelling in marketing, connecting with the audience and delivering a message that is impactful, engaging, and relevant.

When it comes to the non-hub smaller capacity airports competing with larger hubs a few hours away, the story is about the experience. “Often, there’s free or more affordable parking. A lot of these airports are very small, so it’s easy to navigate the terminal,” Tarbet explains. “Travelers walk through the door, and the security is right there. There are typically very short lines, if any, and personnel are often very friendly. It’s an easy, stress-free process.”

Crucial to being relevant is making sure you’re keeping up with industry trends. Tarbet completes travel industry research and shares her findings with each community during periodic calls. This research and data inform the recommendations for creative messaging. For outbound campaigns, she also investigates each community to understand demographics and other unique details to better understand the audience and ensure relevant creative is delivered. For inbound marketing campaigns, Tarbet’s research involves educating herself on the biggest draws or attractions are available in the community to promote tourism.

After reviewing these findings with clients, the team discusses the most relevant options for each community’s marketing campaigns. This enables Advance Aviation to customize solutions for each community.

One additional major benefit of working with Advance Aviation that sets them apart is Cole attending one-on-one airline meetings at ASD Conferences, sitting at the table alongside airports directors and their ASD team. Cole shares the specific marketing strategies and tactics in place along with creative approach to ensure success for existing service and speaks to what marketing efforts and strategies would be put into place for additional and new service. This is a big differentiator for the airlines during their one-on-one conversations at ASD conferences.

Schedule a Consultation with the Team at Advance Aviation

Between digital marketing, proven successful strategies, award-winning creative, market research, and traditional marketing, Advance Aviation has the capabilities you need to increase enplanements and decrease passenger leakage for your airport.

“We develop relationships and partnerships — we’re invested. We really care about each community we work with and always do the right thing for them,” Cole explains.

To learn more about Advance Aviation’s team and the advantages of working with a full-service airport marketing partner, contact us today.