Future-proofing the travel retail industry
Investment and innovation were key topics discussed during a key session involving two major airports and a leading travel retailer.
The line-up featured three speakers: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport Vice President of Concessions Zenola Campbell; Dubai Duty Free Chief Operating Officer Ramesh Cidambi; and Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Strategic Partnerships & Digital Business Associate Director Tina Williams. The moderator was ACI World Senior Vice President Programmes and Commercial Services Antoine Rostworowski.
Opening the session, Zenola Campbell highlighted the fact that Dallas-Fort Worth is the second-busiest airport in the world and number one in the US in terms of non-stop destinations.
Zenola Campbell: Using tech to customise the experience for travellers
She said: “We came out of the pandemic much faster than other airports in the North America area. We see employees being key in terms of coming out of the pandemic and we launched a Growth and Partnership (GAP) programme in response to this. We also implemented new digital technology to keep staff motivated.”
Campbell said the airport must become an easier to navigate experience for passengers. Some of its concessionaires are responding with concepts such as self check-out. The airport is also focusing heavily on Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) and enhancing its retail services through technology and customisation.
Tina Williams talked about the Toronto Pearson journey before and during the pandemic through to today.
Tina Williams: Insights into how Toronto Pearson coped during the pandemic and its responses since then
She said: “Although the pandemic certainly hit us we took this time to look at how we wanted to rebuild and move forward. Our vision at Toronto Pearson is to create jobs, cut emissions and set the global standard for passenger-friendly travel.
“In Toronto we are a hub for new technologies and the second economic driver for economic growth. We are looking forward to becoming the world’s most connected airport and nurture those partnerships.”
Ramesh Cidambi gave a superbly detailed presentation about the latest traffic, category and spending trends at Dubai Duty Free.
Ramesh Cidambi: Changes to nationality mix and the impact on key categories
He said: “Recovery has picked up steam as the months progressed. The story is good in terms of regional dispersion in spite of the China lockdowns, and we continue to do better each month.”
He highlighted the surge in Russian travel and spend as this nationality cannot travel to many western destinations due to travel restrictions. Among other important shopper groups, sales to Indian sub-continent travellers were about +6% ahead in the first ten months, the Middle East market was down around -3%, Europe -4%, Australasia -5% and Africa -18%.
The absence of Chinese has had a big impact on skincare sales in particular but within beauty this has been offset by a full recovery in fragrances in the year to date. Penetration and average spend, which hit new heights in 2021 and early 2022, has moderated with a higher traveller base more recently, though overall sales have raced ahead.
Encouragingly, he said that Dubai Duty Free was on track for AED6 billion (US$1.64 billion) in sales this year.
“In 2023 we expect that to rise to AED6.6 billion, which would be 88% of 2019 and a very good next step for Dubai Duty Free’s business.”
ACI World Senior Vice President Programmes and Commercial Services Antoine Rostworowski introduced the session
From left: Antoine Rostworowski, Zenola Campbell, Tina Williams and Ramesh Cidambi
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