A trio of Griffith University academics have been awarded a high honour for their collaborative work on a research paper.

Head of Aviation Associate Professor Gui Lohmann, Dr Barbara Yen from the School of Engineering and Built Environment, and Dr Abraham Leung (all of whom are members of Griffith’s Cities Research Institute) were bestowed the Martin Oppermann Memorial Award for the Best Article of the Year 2017 for their paper “Why passengers’ geo-demographic characteristics matter to airport marketing”, which was published in the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing.

The research was the result of Griffith’s long-term collaboration with Queensland Airport Ltd (QAL) and combined a large survey sample with data from the ABS census to reveal distinctive contrasts in passenger origin location for short-haul domestic trips and long-haul international trips, in which passengers from afar were willing to travel longer distances to reach a second-tier airport to make use of cheaper airfares.

One of the implications of the research is that low-cost carriers’ businesses (the airlines or the airports) could better target their customers by offering geographically targeted marketing.

“Receiving this award is a fantastic recognition of how interdisciplinary approaches can be a rewarding experience”, Associate Professor Lohmann said.

“It was a huge surprise for the team, but one that should reassure early career researchers, like Dr Leung and Dr Yen, how fulfilling an academic career can be for brilliant and inquisitive minds.”

Associate Professor Lohmann also emphasised the value of industry collaboration, considering the long-term partnership of Griffith University with one Queensland Airports Ltd, a key tourism and transport player for Southeast Queensland.

Dr Leung, the lead researcher with expertise in GIS and urban socio-spatial analysis of this project, was also surprised by this news.

“This research was actually an add-on project when I was undertaking my PhD,”Dr Leung said.

“Postcodes have been widely used in market research, however it can also be used as an anchor to link different data, such as census together by geo-demographic methods. This adds value to recurring airport passenger surveys and offers market intelligence opportunities.”

The study was delivered in Dr Yen’s first year of her research fellowship as ECR.

“It is great news and surprise for me. I cannot be happier that the quality of my work has been confirmed by the award,” Dr Yen said.

“The work has highlighted the importance of closely working with industry partners. That is the most efficient way to identify a contemporary research topic.”

The JTTM Best Article of the Year award has been conferred for nearly two decades as a tribute to the late Dr Martin Oppermann with the intent to promote excellence in tourism research.

The award-winning article is selected by the Editorial Board based on four-criteriaoriginality of concepts, methods, and/or contribution sophistication of conceptual development and/or methodology clarity of writing overall contribution to the field of travel and tourism marketing.

In 2017, JTMM published more than 100 high-quality papers.