3 Vital Things Brands Should Do in Travel Retail This Year

Waiting for a plane

As things continue to march forward to normality this year, it is important to focus on what is important and set goals for the coming year. At One Red Kite, I spent a good part of my Christmas break reflecting on what we should do as a business and how we should evolve.

This year, we have new guiding principles and a mantra to follow. I have chartered a course that will only further accelerate our reputation for clean, accurate and timely data.

It is only mid-January and so much has happened for us already. There is a renewed energy and vibrancy within the team and we are all set for an exciting year ahead.

Last week, two of the team and I were in a workshop supporting a client IT team on all things data.

Next weekend, I take another 2 of the team to New York to walk a client through the progress we have made on a data cleansing & reporting project. Both workshops are focused on making data accurate and actionable but also giving them an edge over their competition.

That’s us. What about brands? What are the things to focus on this year?

As with any business, the list is endless however, there are 3 key themes that spring to mind that I believe are critical for future success if they are to ensure an edge over their competition. Those 3 theme are as follows:

  • Get out into store
  • Work data harder
  • Understand Your Promotions

1. Get Out Into Store

Travel Retail is different to domestic but what most do not see is that every airport is different. They each have a different look, feel and way about them. Travelling passengers is the common theme but after that, it changes thanks to the variations in carriers, destinations, nationalities and more.

If you want to increase your distribution, you need to know where you want to go and why your product should be there. That means:

  • Understanding the shopper journey (what are they seeing, where and why)
  • Observing behaviours
  • Talking to shoppers
  • Talking to staff
  • Observing your competitors

2. Work That Data Hard

If you think clean, accurate data is important, you are wrong. It is critical. Retailers send sales data to brands but there is so much to consider before it even enters your databases. If you think you can take sales data at a surface level and automate that process, you are heading for a world of pain and trouble. There are subtle cues and problems to look out for and mitigate. That is the uniqueness (and joy) of data in Travel Retail. This is a skill acquired from working for a Travel Retail for many years.

So, to work that data hard:

  • Source more data from retailers
  • Make sure it is accurate (and I mean pinpoint accurate! I will explain this in more detail in a future post)
  • Understand the true drivers of your performance (including Pax, Conversion, Units Per Basket & Price)

3. Understand Your Promotions (& your competitors promotions)

A lot of money is invested in Promotions and it is key to understand their effectiveness. Promotional evaluation is not as straightforward as in Domestic. You also do not benefit from the ‘afterglow’ of shoppers trying your product and switching loyalties.

It is key to understand what each party gains from the promotion and this then drives better negotiations in the future.

Of the three things listed here, Promotional Evaluation is the most complex. Master it and you will move towards a more successful and profitable year next year.

There are various levels of promotional analysis that can be completed. Even the most basic (uplift vs run rate combined with variance analysis (the cash impact of price and volume) will at least take you a significant step forward.

In short, stop burning cash, do Promotional Evaluations.

To summarise

  • Get into stores
  • Make accurate data a priority and work it harder
  • Focus on understanding promotional performance

Have a great week.


Founder & Managing Director
One Red Kite Limited

Author of “Travel Retail : The Insider’s Guide”
Click here to buy a signed copy
Click here to buy from Amazon

Have a great week.


Founder & Managing Director
One Red Kite Limited

Author of “Travel Retail : The Insider’s Guide”
Click here to buy a signed copy
Click here to buy from Amazon

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