Here is one of ideas I had for controllers that I wanted to get feedback from pilots on, for those looking to generate traffic out of specific non-hub airports.
Best marketing tool for anything is consistency. If you know 10 people, tell them you’ll be opening at X time every day. Then open at X time every day. People will begin to sense the pattern and eventually people will just expect you to be open at that specific time every day. Maybe even get a few other controllers to do the same.
Each controller could grow a “pilot audience” that will look to plan their flights that way. The idea is best described in this post.
It doesn’t necessarily even need to be once a day. Once a week, on the same day at the same time for only one hour would also work. Or twice a week, on the same days at the same times. Just as long as it’s completely predictable and the pilot would just know I am going to be open on X day at X time. That’s all that’s needed.
You’d eventually get to the point where people would be worried/concerned/confused to not see you open on Monday at 6:00PM EST time occupying New York Center.
It’s like that scene in The Office where Jim gives Dwight a mint every day when he played the reboot sound on his computer, because if you do that the other person will expect a mint, they will automatically crave the mint without thinking. Dwight is the pilots and the controller is Jim in this situation.
The goal would be that you would not even need to “build up traffic”. You’d get to the point where you’d spawn in to the airport/FIR at X day at X time and 15 people would be there waiting for you, with more spawning in throughout the hour, and 20 inbounds, because they will be expecting you to be open and expecting ATC services.
Would this be something you’d find interesting as a pilot to know that a controller, or a group, will be guaranteed be open at an airport at a specific day, at a specific time, every week. Would you plan your flights to land at that airport if it was say, in a region or place you don’t normally fly to?