By: Joe Bates • email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Every industry has its own lexicon of jargon – abbreviations, buzz phrases and acronyms that would be baffling to most outsiders. The impenetrability of this secret language often gives a business an instant veneer of professionalism that in some cases it doesn’t warrant. Yet learn and use it you must – if you wish to climb your way up the corporate ladder.
The world of travel retail is no stranger to jargon. Where would we be without our concessions, MAG’s, dwell time, RFP’s, GWP’s, tenders, SKU’s, HPP’s, category captains and 360 degree promotions? The list goes on and on, of course, and while many of these terms or vocabulary may be indispensable for us to do our jobs properly, I’d argue others are out-of-date or examples of management-speak designed to make something more impressive than it is.
Here are a couple of my pet peeves:
If I’d received a pound for every time I’ve heard or used this phrase associated with duty free, progress on my retirement home in the Seychelles would be much further advanced than it is. We like to believe we can rely on a captive audience of travellers who have their noses pressed up against duty free shop windows in awe of their contents. But if that ever was the case, it certainly isn’t now.
Modern air travel is a much more mundane, stressful experience these days, and travellers are more likely to be checking prices on their smartphones or relaxing in a business lounge than staring at window displays. This phrase and the industry mindset that goes with it needs to be consigned to the history books.
Like a class of naughty pre-schoolers, everybody wants to be disruptive these days. Companies wishing to break into duty free or travel retail want to ‘disrupt’ the status quo. Promotions, new technology and store layouts have to ‘disrupt’ passengers’ journeys.
Really? Why are we adopting this in-your-face approach? We might well want to entertain, educate and stimulate travellers, but do we really want to ‘disrupt’ their day? Let’s leave disruption to the better context of strikers and bad weather, shall we?
Do some travel retail buzz phrases make you want to throw your computer out of the world in a rage? If so, I suggest that every company in the business compiles its own list of forbidden pieces of jargon. Anyone found guilty of using them has to drop a coin or two into a charity box in the office. In this way money goes to a good cause (you can nominate your own) and people might just start communicating with each other more clearly and effectively. (Comment from Peter Marshall: Best source of income likely to be marketing-led meetings!).
That’s enough from me. We want to hear the industry phrases and buzzwords that drive you to distraction. There’s no excuse. This is mission critical. Why don’t you reach out and take a helicopter view – it’s on your radar – get all your ducks in a row. And don’t let the grass grow too long on this one. No blue sky thinking or ‘let’s workshop’ this required. Do this and sufficient business synergy will be created to achieve and deliver a win-win solution. Above all, avoid the low-hanging fruit and do think outside the box. Truly engage and be people-centric. We’re all ears!