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Colorado Springs Airport survey picks the brain of corporate travelers

By: WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com
January 31, 2014 Updated: January 31, 2014 at 11:39 am
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The Colorado Springs Airport wants to find out more about the air travel needs of area businesses as part of its efforts to persuade airlines to provide additional local flights and boost the capacity on routes they fly from the city.

The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance sent out an email Wednesday to about 7,000 people or businesses in its database asking them to complete the 27-question online survey, which is being done through SurveyMonkey.

The survey attempts to gauge, among other things, how often employees travel on business and to what destinations; the businesses' annual travel budget; whether more or less business travel is planned this year; which airlines the businesses use and whether they have agreements with those carriers; and which airports they use and why.

Brittany Harp, the alliance's marketing communications manager, said the group received 70 responses to the survey the first day, and about 270 recipients clicked through to the survey. The group hopes to complete the survey and get results to airport officials by Feb. 14.

Neil Ralston, the airport's acting assistant aviation director for planning and development, said the survey is the first step to collecting data on "key business travelers" that can be shared in presentations with airlines to persuade them to keep or expand flights here.

"We are trying to get better information on corporate travel needs," Ralston said. "That will help us with the airlines by having better information about those needs. We need to do a better job of reaching out to the people who we serve, and this is part of an effort to improve that."

The survey's final question seeks volunteers for a focus group of business travelers that would help the airport gather feedback from its top customers and let them know about initiatives the airport is planning. The group would start once the airport hires a marketing and communications manager, which is expected to occur by April, Ralston said.

The survey and focus group were recommended by Seabury APG, a Virginia company hired last year as the airport's marketing consultant. A survey that Seabury conducted in October found that 47 percent of airline passengers traveling from the Colorado Springs and Pueblo areas - about 2,000 passengers a day - fly from Denver International Airport rather than the Colorado Springs Airport, mostly to get lower fares.

The surveys and a planned marketing campaign are part of an effort to turn around last year's steep decline in passenger traffic - 20.9 percent - triggered by the departure of Frontier Airlines in April.

The latest survey targets those responsible for booking corporate travel.

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