Helping A Regional Airport Take Flight

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

For nearly 85 years, Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has been a place where people go to work, travel for work and get away from work. With just one stop linking Roanoke to nearly 500 destinations, ROA is our region’s portal to the world — and an economic engine that produces an annual regional impact of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars.


Being a small, non-hub, regional airport in post-9/11 America isn’t easy. Merging carriers, high fares, and cancellations are daily challenges. The Roanoke Airport Commission was concerned with public perception and frequent negative references in the media. Access was selected to design and implement research to better understand true public sentiment and to identify and define target audiences. Access then created events, advertising, PR, and marketing to help.

  • ROA-Engagement-Numbers
  • The Numbers
  • ROA-Flights-Numbers

Business Intelligence

Access conducted internal focus groups with airport leadership, staff, and volunteers as well as individual interviews with 50 business and community leaders throughout the region. We developed a public survey and distributed it throughout the region, leveraging social media to extend the reach of the survey. We followed up these efforts with targeted community engagement and ongoing special events with business leaders, VIPs, and special interest groups to further encourage interaction and communication.





The campaign had a tangible effect on public perception with a documented shift in public comments by community and business leaders citing ROA as an asset and social media engagement increased 77 percent.

Access also supported ROA for a flight-specific campaign. Despite strong vocal support for a direct flight to New York City from Roanoke, inbound and outbound occupancy slipped to just 25 percent. Access was called in to create a campaign that would help. We teamed up with Abandon Films to create a national-caliber spot on a small budget with a very tight turnaround. Over the run of the campaign, flight usage dramatically increased by 145 percent in just three months.