Net Access Provider Exploits Air Travelers' Idle Time

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Free Internet access provider Get2Net, Englewood, CO, launched a direct response campaign last week aimed at snaring advertisers who want to reach air travelers during their downtime at the gates.


Get2Net, which debuted in September, offers free Internet access at public terminals in return for the right to show users advertising. Each free Internet session is 15 minutes, but users can log on for multiple sessions.


Get2Net has about 110 terminals installed on a revenue-sharing basis in airports and along highways. Locations include the three major New York City airports and the major airports in Boston; Chicago; Hartford, CT; Charlotte, NC; and Norfolk, VA. Get2Net's terminals also are in highway travel plazas in New Jersey and Maryland and along the Florida Turnpike.


Get2Net's computer terminals are military-grade hardware so they can withstand abuse.


"When you're in a public setting like that, you have to be prepared for anything," said Pam Osborne, manager of marketing communications at Get2Net. She added that several keyboards have already been slashed with knives.


Get2Net's current advertisers include CBS Marketwatch and CDNow.


The company's goal is to have 1,100 units in place by the end of 1999.


Get2Net said it is delivering around 3 million ad impressions - in the form of ad banners and full-screen pop-up windows - to 50,000 unique users per month.


The company calculates it will deliver 30 million impressions per month by the end of the year. Get2Net charges $33 per thousand impressions and guarantees that each user session will deliver 33 page views.


So far, the airports have been fairly easy to sell on the idea, Osborne said.


"They're really trying to revamp services and make their airports more attractive to travelers," she said.


Get2Net also is selling placard and take-one postcard space around its terminals.


To lure advertisers, the company last week mailed an anodized metal briefcase to 100 ad buyers whom the company considers its prime targets. The briefcase's lid features a brochure with the headline, "How to Capture the Business Traveler."


Inside is a series of involvement devices, including Groucho Marx glasses, handcuffs and a whistle, each supported by lighthearted copy offering joking suggestions on how to capture a business traveler.


"The whole idea is to reach advertisers who want to reach business travelers, because that's where we are," Osborne said. About 1,000 ad buyers Get2Net considers its secondary targets will receive a less expensive package in the mail this week.


Get2Net is hoping its campaign will drive home the point that air travelers are a large and appealing target audience with money to spend and time on their hands.


The company estimates that there are approximately 43 million air travelers per day, each of whom spends an average of 70 minutes at the airport. Get2Net also claims its users average $67,400 in yearly income, that they take an average of 10.4 trips per year, spend an average of $250 per day on the road and that 50 percent of them are women.


Also, according to Get2Net, business travelers make 87 percent of corporate purchases.


In July, Get2Net will open a Cyber Flyer Club, a restaurant and cafe for air travelers, in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Three more Get2Net Cyber Flyer Clubs are slated for summer openings in Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, CA.


The company also is eyeing hotel conference centers and lobbies for its terminals, but not in the immediate future. "We're focusing on the airport market right now because they're hungry for them and it takes all our capacity just to keep up with the demand," Osborne said.
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