And so here is some good news! Ten new ideas that will be introduced this year to the airline, airport and travel retail sectors. Our reporting staff have had to dig deep to discover the stories that follow, and we hope that they will enthuse and encourage you to continue to innovate in what will continue to be a truly dynamic business.
1. Airline To Test New Pricing And Seating Scheme After Crisis
The Covid 19 crisis has brought a great deal of turbulence to the air travel industry. But newly formed MentiOr Travel’s Chairman and CEO, Bill Challoner, believes in the adage that crisis brings opportunity.
”There are many innovative schemes the industry has talked about for years, but market forces, refitting costs and loss of revenue for downtime have prevented their implementation. I feel that now is the perfect opportunity to introduce those changes”.
To entice and lure back passengers once the all clear is given, MentiOr are introducing some revolutionary thinking. They are ditching Economy, Premium Economy, Business and First Class pricing and seating, while also addressing issues with baggage charges. All flyers will now pay a per-kilo fee based on their combined body and luggage weight for Standard Tickets. And for those wishing and needing wider seats, a new Plus Class is being created.
Mr Challoner says other airlines will soon follow their lead. ”We want to adopt fair ways to meet our customers needs. Ultimately it’s all about POS. That’s not Point of Sale – its Posteriors on Seats!”
2. New Airport Scanners To Be Introduced
Directly as a consequence of Covid 19, many airports are about to introduce new quarantine scanners under the banner of S.H.I.T.S – Special High Intensity Traveller Screens. These have been developed by world-leading inventor, Sir Alexander Haggard, in a unique collaboration with Huawei, who have agreed to fund the entire R & D and manufacture.
These screens not only check if you are Covid 19-free, as well as identify any other major ailments, they also deliver the definitive DNA make up and background check of each traveller. ”It’s a major breakthrough”, says one airport senior manager who prefers to remain anonymous. ”Not only will our travellers feel they can travel safe, but we finally get the data we need to provide to our retailer partners and, errr, our other partners as well”.
3. It’s A Dog’s Life
As a result of a 78% increase in dogs now travelling with their owners, Namaak Hospitality has just announced its first deal with an airport that will see a summer 2020 opening of its famed ‘Kennel’ Club Lounge. Heathrow Airport has secured the hotly anticipated lounge and will be the first airport in the world to offer a venue specifically designed for dogs. Features include a K9 Spa with a Nail Bar, pet friendly wines and beers, as well as a menu curated by celebrity pet chef, Primo Falsita, focusing on vegan and gluten free culinary delights.
Namaak insists this will be the ”first of many” within airports and they have been ”straining at the leash” to make a start.
4. Abbey Vida
Introducing a brand new fragrance house, Abbey Vida, who are launching two exciting new products into the travel retail market. The first is called Monk’s Habit, a cotton vanilla scent, presented in a twill weave box that sheds a virtuous odour for ”the man who would be a Saint.”
The second is Monk’s Habit Shower Gel – available in 1 and 5 litre bottles as well as a 5ml inflight sachet – where you can wash away your sins with a zingy citrus and corpse flower blend. Abbey Vida CEO, Peter Musk, believes that ”cleanliness is next to godliness” and that his product range offers the true path forward for the fragrances and cosmetics category.
Musk is supporting his launch with a promotional purpose-built miniature abbey, where passengers can sit quietly and imbue the sensory and sensation statements that his products deliver.
5. Bing Bong. We’re Not Wrong. Developing Earcremental Sales in GTR.
Here’s a great story from India. Ravindra Patel from Delhi Duty Free has developed a remarkable piece of tech that has generated a 2% increase in overall store sales, tracked over a 3 month period.
How? Well, let Ravindra tell her story. ”At Indira Gandhi International Airport we have a real cross section of passengers, and many are using the airport as a hub. Quite often language is a key factor in the making or the breaking of a sale – especially where passengers only speak their own language.
”So I developed an ear piece with tech that I have now patented that instantly translates any language that customers speak to sales staff in. It even covers the many different dialects within a country. Using AI, the lightweight earpiece – I’ve called it ‘Popeardom’ – also provides key answers in the customers language that directly engages with them.They immediately feel at ease and this sets us up on a great path to convert sales.
”We are still tweaking the technology and are currently finessing the quality of the response to some accents and different use of language – notably Australian slang and Newcastle Geordie’, but we are almost there. Once done, the product is clearly earmarked for global travel retail distribution”.
6. Ey Up! Get Baked Brewery From Yorkshire To Move Into Global Airport Marketplace.
A family-owned brew bakery hailing from the Yorkshire moors is entering travel retail, hoping to break the dominance of German beer. So what exactly is the product? Well, if you’re thinking of alcohol, what about Beer Bread from the Get Baked Brewery?
”It has all the necessary ingredients of your favourite brew baked into a loaf of bread”, according to Alf A.Hops Sr., Chairman and Chief Brewmaster. ”Fancy a pint? Well, all you need to do is cut yourself a slice from our loaf and mush it into a glass of water. Give it a stir and, in seconds, the bread/water combo mixes to deliver a fresh tasty pint!
”It’s great for house parties, too”, he adds. ”Why carry a heavy crate of beer? Simply grab a loaf or two and you have your very own party in a bag! We are planning to add real pop to pop up shops”.
7. Slimline Airline Stays Fit For Purpose
More airline news! A major European airline has revealed plans to completely overhaul its in-flight service, addressing its ambitious carbon reduction commitments by significantly reducing its weight and the carbon fuel burn.
The airline aims to remove up to 17 crew as well as all the galley carts, by launching self-service kitchen and dining areas on all its long-haul aircraft. The space will be equipped with microwaves and fully stocked fridges, offering a broad selection of ready meals for passengers to browse, select and cook their own.
Each aircraft will have six of these community kitchen spaces situated throughout, with First Class having its own chef to host ‘cooking classes in the clouds’. The airline also plans to be the first to launch a 25 metre in-flight swimming pool early next year.
8. Virgin’s Make-over
Virgin Atlantic have just finalised what they call their ‘world-beating airport lounge’. Known for their originality of thinking and their lounge’s popularity, restless Virgin Atlantic do not believe in sitting on their laurels. They are now investing many millions of pounds to offer the next generation, ultimate experience for their travellers.
According to an inside source, this will include a design that transforms the entire lounge into a ‘destination station’, with the walls, floors and ceilings morphing, on a rotation basis, through the use of holograms into 3D visual spaces of the many locations the airline flies to. ”You are sitting in the lounge, and you feel as if you’ve already arrived, it’s so real”, our source added.
More, other than the great bars, seating areas, spa and games rooms, which are also being re-visualised, there is a dedicated room where you can experience weightlessness Virgin Galactic’s own ‘Live Space’. For a small fee, you will be suited and booted and be able to communicate with your co-astronauts and eat space food. ”We recognise that dwell time in airports is increasing, so we wanted to offer something out of the ordinary and create a truly memorable experience”.
Of course, branded Virgin duty free products, including canned space air, will be available for purchase. Exciting times ahead.
9. Making Men More Fe-men-ine – Coming Soon
A very different makeover service for men is set to land at certain hub airports this autumn.
TRunblocked has learned that a leading Paris-based beauty player and its retail partner with many airport doors, will be introducing makeovers for men who want to have the RuPaul’s Drag Race look.
”The popularity of the show has led to requests from male travellers who dress as women for make-up that enhances their feminine features”, said a spokesperson for the beauty house. ”The high numbers of enquiries led us to design a 30 minute makeover especially for men who are travelling as women. While they are accomplished at doing their own make-up, many want the more glamorous and professional look of someone like RuPaul when they go on holiday”.
The retailer added: ”We are all about diversity and we support anybody looking to bend stereotypes, including gender. The quick makeovers will allow men to have a 30 minute intensive session and for them to then ‘sashay away’ with the superstar looks of a RuPaul contestant”.
10. Finally, Word Has It……
As part of a massive collaboration, Google and Amazon are stepping into the airport and GTR business. Under the brand new banner of Googmazon, they are expecting great things and will be first to provide a virtual retail world in all the white space areas made available to them with contracted airports. They are claiming they will deliver ”a globally unmatchable offer” for passengers with the eco-system they have created.
It doesn’t stop there. On an even grander scale, they are also looking to find suitable sites to develop and build new airports on their own with the approval of the FAA in the USA as well as with relevant authorities elsewhere in the world.
The airport and travel retail sectors will never be the same again.