Book A Hotel On The Seatback Screen: What’s Next For Onboard Advertising

by Chris Dong

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The in-flight map, in some variation, has existed since its advent in 1982. KLM and Swissair were the first airlines to offer such a feature.

Today, almost all airlines that have a seatback screen also include in-flight mapping software. It’s a beloved feature providing real-time information with varying levels of detail and customization that passengers can immerse themselves in. There’s something about tracking all of it — your relative position, the flight path, the cockpit “view,” etc. — that makes the flying journey more interactive and fun.

See Also: How Virtual Reality Is Changing Our In-Flight Entertainment 

In-Flight Maps Are Getting “Enhanced” 

Seatback screens don’t exist on American’s 757…

While some airlines intersperse branded ads within their in-flight maps (Qatar and Cathay Pacific come to mind), none of the mapping software companies had native advertising included — but that’s about to change.

Panasonic announced their entry into the in-flight map market earlier this month. There’s a host of customizable, AvGeek-approved features both for the airlines who will purchase the software as well as for butt-in-seat passengers who will experience it. Future maps will include more points of interest and more levels of detail on the maps themselves.

However, a notable feature that Panasonic highlights are new monetization opportunities for carriers. This is how Panasonic puts it:

Integration with airline advertising and promotions – including Panasonic’s own OneMedia advertising platform. The high viewership of maps can be fully leveraged for its targeted advertising and promotional potential.

Last-mile transit options with Uber…

Sure, the amped-up maps may show you more points of interest — but they’re there because it’s sponsored.

The idea is to do more branded partnerships and to be yet another revenue generator for airlines. Maps could suggest discounted tickets to local attractions, hotel deals, future flight offers and ads, ads and yep, more ads.

In the example above, Uber is providing information on the cost of an airport ride home with what appears to be live traffic data. In this example, I actually see some utility.

The Upshot

Monetizing maps are one be the next waves of onboard moneymaking. Think of it almost like Waze, the navigation app by Google, that offers sponsored ads within its platform that are basically mobile “billboards.”

It will be up to airlines’ discretion on how subtle or extreme they want to take mapping software advertising. I am in support of it as long as it’s not intrusive to my dear in-flight map.

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