Advertiser Profile: Rachael Spowart | Manchester Airports Group

MAG are a leading UK-based airport company and the owners of Manchester, London Stansted, East Midlands and Bournemouth Airports. They serve around 42 million passengers every year. MAG also run thriving businesses in car parking, airport security, fire fighting, engineering, advertising and motor transport.

Tell us about Manchester Airports Groups’ car park programs, for which niches do your programs work?
It’s an exciting time for MAG! We can’t wait to immerse ourselves into the world of affiliates and we definitely feel we have a lot to bring to the table. We’re offering such a wide variety of products and price points for each of our airports so I’d like to think that there will be something to satisfy all types of publishers and consumers alike.

What advice would you give to a publisher that wants to promote your programs?
It’s important that our publishers understand what each airport has to offer. We want our publishers to really get behind the brand as the official provider for parking at our airports. We’ve got a greater product portfolio than any off-site provider, offering a product suite suitable for all types of customers. Whether you are looking for the convenience and service factor, or are more price sensitive, we can cater to all requirements.

Is there anything that you are not offering at the moment but plan to add in the near future?
We want to enter the market place with a bang but the strategy for the channel must have longevity and remain sustainable, so we won’t be playing all our cards straight away. We’ll aim to keep ourselves ahead of competitors as the industry evolves and in that strategy we will naturally bring additional opportunities to the table.

What made you decide to go work on the advertiser side and leave agency? What are the difference between managing a program for an advertiser and looking after a program within an agency?
I was ready for a new challenge and it had to be aviation related as I hold a strong interest in the industry. Therefore, a group-wide remit within an organisation like MAG was ideal. There are similarities to being agency side in my role, one of which is working on a selection of brands. I really enjoy that each airport and product has its own successes and challenges so it keeps that buzz of variety there. Although championing one brand ultimately is a nice change.

What opportunities has the affiliate industry brought to you?
Many opportunities. I think people underestimate the contacts that it provides you with as well as exposure to massive brands. Innovative ideas are also commonly born out of the industry. I think that’s one of the best things about it is the fact that publishers often aren’t afraid to try something new and break the mould.

What is your marketing plan for MAG’s car park group and where do publishers fit into that plan?
Market growth is a key strategy for the group, and we see the affiliate channel launch fitting in perfectly to that challenge.

You are fairly new to working in the airport parking industry but have an extensive experience in travel in general. How does the niche differ from holiday/hotels areas?
I love the travel industry; it’s definitely where my passion lies. Although I never saw myself becoming motivated by car parks, the commercial nature of it is so engaging… it’s hard not to get sucked in!

What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
I’m a lover of all food, and I’m definitely happiest whilst eating out with friends with a glass of wine in hand.

You are originally from Edinburgh but now based in Manchester. What made you to relocate? What is one place you’d suggest visiting in Manchester if someone would be from out of town?
I relocated for the role, I had no connection to Manchester before that and had barely even visited. Fortunately, I’ve fallen in love with it very quickly. It’s a great city to live in, there’s always something going on and it’s not overwhelming in terms of its size. I’d recommend visiting the Northern Quarter, there’s some very cool cocktail bars and it’s laid back… something for everyone without trying to sound clichéd.

Where do you think the affiliate industry will be in 2 years?
It’s a difficult one as things change so quickly, but I’d like to see the industry becoming more analytical. I know we talk about being data driven but I’m not sure we’re investing the right time and efforts into the tools that can truly assess our customers and identify what their buying behaviours are. I want publishers to keep doing what they’re doing… and that’s staying one step ahead.