Life in HEL – social experiment tests Helsinki’s 'best airport' assumption

7 November, 2017

Whether a delayed departure, flight cancellation or a missed connection, we have all been trapped inside an airport for longer than we wished. Well, one airport is now using an extended airport stay from a Chinese influencer to prove that they are the best airport in the world and the fastest connection between Asia and Europe.

In a mix of reality TV, game shows and Social Media, Ryan Zhu, a multitalented Chinese actor and TV-personality has been living in a little cabin inside Helsinki Airport since 10-Oct-2017. His 30 day #LIFEINHEL stay will come to an end this week. During his stay, which has been live broadcasted, he has gone through daily challenges and get familiar with the Finnish way of life and experiment.

Finavia is recognised as one of the strongest social media users among the airport fraternity with Finavia's digital marketing manager Olli Lehtonen suggesting its role as a challenger brand against its major hub competitors provides it with the platform to deliver rich, engaging and content with a difference. It has regularly embraced its 'HEL' IATA airport code for innovative promotion despite the huge risks.

"Content plays a key role for us. I know it's a bit of cliché that content is king but it definitely is, especially in the B2C," Lehtonen told air service development website Routesonline earlier this year. "We don't sell airline tickets or products, so our marketing can't be tactical marketing with sales or price offers. Instead we must provide rich content that informs people in a way that they are engaging with the message."

Helsinki Airport also has a strong track record in terms of continuous development of the customer experience. For example, last July 200 volunteer test passengers audited the new South Pier before it was opened for business.

With this latest disruptive content marketing campaign, which sees Ryan Zhu living in a cabin located among the birch trees next to gate 52, Helsinki Airport hopes to prove that it is "the best airport in the world and the fastest connection between Asia and Europe" and at the same time secure significant attention. It certainly isn't afraid to push the boundaries in delivering innovative marketing campaigns.

While Finavia firmly believes that Helsinki Airport is an airport passengers would be happy to spend time in, there are many airports across the world where travellers would argue that 30 minutes would be too long a stay. We are now reaching out to The Blue Swan Daily subscribers to ask… Which airport would you LEAST like to spend 30 days in and why?

Please fill in the short survey below and we will produce a follow- up article on our findings in the coming weeks.

Which airport would you LEAST like to spend 30 days in and why?