5 Tips to Increase Success In Your FBO


A few weeks ago I discussed the 5 must-have tools for FBO marketing. Now I’d like to discuss a few ways to increase success in your FBO. One of the things that I have emphasized throughout my 35+ years’ experience in aviation, and I believe still holds true today, has been the importance of constant measurement of our efforts.

One of our founding Paragon Network members, Phil Botana from Tampa International Jet Center, recently said something to me that stood out, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Simply stated, as a manager, your main goal is to increase profitability. This is directly affected by two main factors: increasing profit and controlling cost. With competition getting stronger and fuel margins being challenged in the FBO business, this is getting more difficult to do.  We have recently had our monthly Paragon Network manager call where we discussed this exact topic, led by Phil Botana.  I feel that the information shared on the call was invaluable.  I hope you find these 5 tips to increase success in your FBO shared by Phil during the teleconference helpful.

1) Airport Arrivals:

Is it possible to increase overall airport traffic? Could you improve your based tenant traffic? Perform research on surrounding airports (location, who is flying in, how often, fuel price, fees charged, etc.).  If possible, utilize members in your own FBO network to gather information. Are there areas in your business model that could be improved? Candidly, it’s challenging to move traffic from one airport to another, but it is possible. Once you have identified some potential targets, create a strategy to get their business and track your success.

2) Increase Market Share:

If you are paying a flowage fee to the airport, you can usually get a monthly analysis to include FBO market share on the field. Use these numbers to measure your efforts. There are many tools to help you identify which customers are not frequenting your FBO. Organize these prospects based on the frequency in which they visit and market to them accordingly.

3) Capture Ratio:

It is important to identify what percentage of  your customers are purchasing fuel. Where you are located geographically can highly affect these numbers. Possible ways to do this include: Use ramp fees to incentivize fuel purchase. Implement/increase minimum uplift required to waive certain fees. Possibly offering incentives like shirts, hats, or extra reward points could help.

4) Improve Average Uplift:

What is your average uplift for those customers taking fuel? Re-evaluating this number and periodically raising your minimum fuel purchase required to waive fees or raising the fee itself is an effective way to increase this number.

5) Increase Average Margin Per Gallon:

True margin seems to be one of the most difficult areas to manage.  Once identified, work to develop strategies to increase them. In today’s market, it may be necessary to put more focus on total customer purchase.  Being flexible in your offering could help to move certain prospects to customers.  Also paying attention to payment methods to help decrease your cost/gallon.  If your customers are using a credit card with a processing fee, try to get them to use one with a lower fee.  In some cases, it may be appropriate to require a certain payment method to receive certain pricing.

What do you think? What tools do you use to increase profitability? What measurements do you use to track the results of your efforts? Leave your thoughts below on how you increase success in your FBO in the comments.