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Travelers headed through Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) International might appreciate a free podcast service launched Monday to inform passengers on parking, hotel, dining and tour options. New podcasts will become available monthly through iTunes Music Store and dfwairport.com, published in both English and Spanish.
The DFW's podcasts will focus on amenities located in the airport's International Terminal D, which opened on July 2005. Since opening, 8.1 million passengers have traveled through the 2-million-sq.-ft terminal, according to Kevin Cox, DFW's chief operating officer.
"We initiated podcasting, both audio and video, because it's a medium that travelers can use to ease transportation issues through this airport," Cox said. "Given the airport's size, and new art collection, rail system, restaurants and infrastructure added in the last year, podcasting is an easy way to get the message out."
More that 6 percent of U.S. adults, about 9 million Web users, have downloaded podcasts, digital audio programs developed for digital devices like MP3 players and iPods, in the last 30 days, according to a survey by Nielsen Analytics.
Travel only makes up about 2 percent of the podcasts offered through media content manager FeedBurner Inc., said Steve Olechowski, the company's cofounder and chief operating officer. FeedBurner manages about 60,000 of the 100,000 active audio and video podcasts available worldwide.
Forrester Research travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt says less than 5 percent of business travelers listen to podcasts, one in four listen to streaming audio, and 9 percent read blogs. "This is a group getting into social networking and they understand applications like iTunes," he said. "In fact, 27 percent of business travelers own a MP3 player, and it's just a matter of time."
DFW podcasts available now guide travelers through the International Terminal D parking garage and its 8,100 parking spaces. The garage features smart technology to aid passengers in finding the nearest available parking spaces with the shortest possible drive.
Future podcasts will provide a cultural tour to showcase the airport's $6 million art collection, including the Nasher Sculpture Garden. Another will provide information on the new Grand Hyatt Hotel located at International Terminal D, where travelers can take their access to the T-Mobile HotSpot Wi-Fi network from any terminal in the airport to the hotel.
Since two-thirds of the people who travel through the airport connect to other flights, a podcast will help travelers navigate DFW's five terminals, as well as the new Skylink train, the world's largest airport people mover.
"For a complex airport like DFW that has a far-flung rental car network and carriers like American Airlines scattered over several terminals, podcasts are helpful to travelers, especially if they provide the content in foreign languages," Harteveldt said.