Travel Retail Innovations Lead the World

By: Lewis Allen, Director of Environments, Portland Design

Our global round-up of world class Travel Retail projects in this week’s blog is testimony to the enduring, creative spirit that drives innovation in the Travel Retail sector. From the handful of pioneering projects described below, it is clear to the Trunblocked team that innovation is an airport’s best friend – especially if we want to avoid the travails of our domestic retail colleagues. So here are some people and projects worthy of our respect and admiration.

Our congratulations and gratitude go out to all our TR colleagues for so generously sharing their projects and ideas.

Pioneering Restroom Retail

Pioneering Restroom Retail
A recent study found restroom cubicles enjoy an average of 12 users per hour, each spending 4 mins 35 seconds enthroned within their walls.

”That’s a lot of high quality restroom time to engage with passengers”, reported Airports East Chief Commercial Officer, Sunny Dais. The potential to monetise this restroom ‘audience’ inspired Sunny and his team to sell the airport’s restroom eyeballs and butt cheeks to their retail partners. The team installed ‘Wipe ‘n Swipe’ shopping iPads in restrooms. Sunny explained: ”Wipe ‘n Swipe has delivered double digit sales growth to our Restroom Retail Programme”. With customer demand so high, the AE commercial team use daily data dumps to manage the additional logistical movements. As Sunny confirmed: ”A dump a day ensures robust management of back-end performance and flushes out any supply chain kinks”. And with a planned roll-out of BOGOF (Buy One Get One Free), promotions, it certainly looks like this exciting initiative will continue to go strong and very, very long.

Scan-tastic Security
Scan-tastic Security

Security processing at PJ International Airport is partnering with medical screening start-up, Scansafe, to offer a health screening service for passengers choosing their Healthy Wings premium travel product. Regular scanners have been re-calibrated to emit frequencies that enable whole-body imaging. ”With this additional wavelength we can safely detect both health and security threats”, explained Tom Peeping, Scansafe’s CEO, adding ”this makes Scansafe a smart choice for passengers and airports seeking prevention packages capable of full spectrum wellbeing diagnostics and mindful sterile processing”.

PJ International security teams have embraced this drive to humanise the security process. In preliminary testing, a baggage scanner adjusted to emit low energy microwaves has proved popular with aficionados of instant noodles and home meal replacement products.
Meanwhile, also keen to get in on the act, the Airport Customs and Immigration team has re-trained and re-tasked Goldie, the Labrador, the facilities on-site sniffer dog, to detect terminal diseases and Class A drugs.

on-site sniffer dog, to detect terminal diseases and Class A drugs

Big tobacco brands reportedly see great potential for the Healthy Wings screening service and are in talks to offer passengers a free lung scan and a Fluffy sniff with every carton of cigarettes purchased.

Mixed Reality Realty: A Game and Lifestyle Changer
Mixed Reality Realty: A Game and Lifestyle Changer

When the Commercial team at JPORTS Aviation noticed how brands were engaging their passengers in the airport, they realised they were no longer in the property business. As Skye Murdock, JPORTS’ CEO explained, ”we realised our airport had become a media platform, where brands were promoting themselves to our passengers via mobile devices etc. and, alarmingly, we had no content control and no revenue from the interactions that were going on all around us – every day”.

JPORTS response was to develop a Mixed Reality Revenue (MRR) model that treats the airport as one, fully integrated physical and virtual commercial real estate. Skye elaborated on the idea. ”Switching from managing property to scheduling content means our commercial programming is responsive to whoever is in the airport. This controllability is key. It means we now attract huge media budgets from brands keen to reach their customers and instantly evaluate the impact of their activations”.

JPORTS MMR model was a game-changer. It effectively ushered in a revolution in airport commercialisation. As Skye gleefully confirmed, ”we’re in the media business now, which means a day at the office is stretched limos, temper tantrums, tight leather pants and hangovers. No more corporate suit and tie for me!”

Luxury for the Many at GVZ Airports
Luxury for the Many at GVZ Airports

Customer-centric thinking has been used to positive effect at GVZ Airports, where learnings from passenger research studies provided the insight behind the recently opened ‘Le Ghetto d’Über LUXE’. As GVZ Chief Passenger Experience Officer Ravi Shing explained,
”passenger studies revealed that luxury brands are a key aspiration for our passengers. We found they all aspire to unaffordable luxury. And so, in Le Ghetto, our passengers can experience exactly what they aspire to own and might one day be able to afford”.

The development of ‘Le Ghetto d’Über LUXE’ concept is itself an interesting story. According to Ravi Shing, ”we wanted, well, WOW!, a world class and industry leading luxury concept. So we appointed the creative agency, The Cultural Appropriation Society, to develop Le Ghetto. It was their idea to collaborate with Berlin’s leading Drill DJ, Herr Blingmann”. And it’s Herr Blingmann that has given Le Ghetto its authentic dark, urban vibe and nihilistic street zeitgeist that makes unaffordable luxury accessible to the many”. Respect! Ravi.

The Circus Comes to Town
 The Circus Comes to Town

BREAKING NEWS from our Middle East Correspondent, Peter Pomfrit

We have just learned that QADDUM, the latest Low Cost airport to the Middle East, are planning to give ‘experiential’ a new meaning with the introduction of a permanent ‘live’ Circus inside the main terminal building. ”We are so excited”, said Chief Operations Officer, Mustafa Meening. This is a world first. Operationally, it is doable as the airport is a new build.

We saw there were three logistical issues. First, how we transport and house the acts. Second, how we neutralise the poo – this could be a big issue. And three, we didn’t want to prevent passengers from missing their planes or eating in our great choice of restaurants, or even missing out on purchasing duty free.

”But we found the solutions. We have built out a tunnel from the centre of the Departures lounge which leads to our very own zoo. We’ve called it Noah’s Park. Inside the terminal there is a dome-like frame which will house and contain all the amazing acts, surrounded by tiered terraces for the passenger audience”.

So what about announcements or the potential loss of retail and f & b revenue?

”And we have answers for that, too. When the Circus is ‘live’, all announcements will be made by world famous DJ, C Lion, on site. During the breaks between the acts, we’ll be offering pizza on a plate and a soft drink as well as have duty free trolleys working the stands. We will also have special foods on sale where everyone can feed the animals. And don’t forget, these tickets are paid for and there’s plenty of merchandise available at our own dedicated boutique”.

And the odour from the poo?

”That’s actually presented another great commercial opportunity for us”, adds Mustafa happily. ”We have contracted with a major global supplier who has developed an instant, AI-rooted, industrial freshness spray. We have secured the worldwide rights to this and have called it WIFFAWAY.

Everything we have set out to do has the customer covered – left, right and centre. We see the Circus as a major draw for passengers and a great reason for them spending more dwell time airside. And spending more money with us, of course!”