Anticipation is in the air, as travel restrictions ease around the world allowing international travel to resume. Airlines are stirring up excitement with promotions; hoteliers are re-opening their doors and airports are starting to buzz again. But one thing the pandemic has tested is the ability for travel operators and retailers to be agile and receptive to new changes and still make some returns upon investment. This new era of travel has new rules, and if you don’t have a data ace up your sleeve, you’re not fit to compete.

The New Playbook for Travel Retail – Data Smarts & Innovation

The Travel Retail sector has done a lot of growing up at an accelerated speed since the advent of Covid-19. To be ahead of the game, you need to know the new rules. Rules that apply more data science than ever. Do you wish to maximise your competitiveness and make staffing more efficient in-store?

By applying Big Data-based intelligence via travel data suppliers such as ForwardKeys with real-time granular information such as the volume of travellers at certain airports, down to the nationality and traveller profile, brands, and retailers can now differentiate between potential shoppers and returning locals.

“Having this simple distinction means as a store, brand or duty-free, you can expect who will spend more time in the airport, at your terminal and store – being more inclined to test your new range of promotions, shop for gifts or look for souvenirs to take home,” says Marina Giuliano, VP of Travel Retail and Brands.

Simply differentiating the traveller types will help you select your product placement better, for those in a rush or those with time to dwell and try out any new promotions or in-house brand experiences such as a pop-up store.

Is your store making the most of the recent travellers landing at your airport? Even the term travellers are broad. At ForwardKeys we can break that down further to cover:

  1. People on a layover
  2. People transiting, long versus short
  3. People travelling on multiple itineraries, visiting several destinations in one journey
  4. People landing at your airport as the final destination


Traveller Statistics, your secret Ace

The data solution for the Travel Retail market by ForwardKeys is called Traveller Statistics and it has coverage of all the airports around the world.

But what makes it stand out from the crowd and even more powerful for those preparing for a successful summer and spring shopping season this year is the level of granularity.

All eyes are on outbound China’s floodgates to re-open, but perhaps you have not noticed a high spending nationality that is regularly at your terminal already?

A prime lesson taught by Covid-19 is not to have all your eggs in one basket. If diversification is the key, data is quintessential. Through the easy-to-use Traveller Statistics dashboard at one glance, you can understand month on month, to the very day and hour the key nationalities at your airport.

Comparing Miami Airport over the years in 2019 and 2021, on the ready, you can see how quickly the top source markets have changed. How does that impact the use of brand ambassadors, bilingual staff members or even the types of products you place in-store?

“One thing we’ve noticed throughout the Covid-19 crisis is the step count may be lower than before, however, the purchasing power has increased. So, pick and choose wisely who you wish to draw into your stores. Do you want just anyone or prefer to entice those shoppers you know for certain will be at your terminal and will spend?” says Gordon Clark, VP of Business Development for Travel Retail & Brands at ForwardKeys.

An extra advantage is the competitive edge Traveller Statistics gives you over your rivals. “In the Passenger Analysis section, under Retailers, you can measure the level of interactions on any given day or time, your competitor has had. Or even the new business opportunity a certain airport may hold as it has no travel retail offering at all,” adds Clark.


The New Rules Post-Covid

A new set of rules to play smart and effectively post-pandemic have been made. The bar has risen with Big Data as the main differentiator. Those who made use of the idle time during Covid-19 to innovate and apply data smarts to not just re-invent the wheel but be better as a business will lead the race to capture all those keen travellers with revenge shopping on their minds.

“It’s true that in the past many brands and retailers thought that data was a nice to have, but what this crisis has highlighted is that actually, it is a necessity,” says Giuliano. “Many companies are now building their travel intelligence tools and dashboards.”

From America to Europe, the Middle East and the Caribbean traveller numbers have been on the rise, now is the time for you to seize the moment and see what the data at ForwardKeys can do for your business.



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