Tourvest to scale up with Airlink in new contract

By Luke Barras-hill |

Clive Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Tourvest Retail Services.

Tourvest Retail Services (TRS) is eyeing the rollout of its pre-order service with South Africa-based full-service regional carrier Airlink in the second quarter of this year, TRBusiness can report.

The travel retail operator, part of integrated tourism group Tourvest, commenced a partnership with Airlink in December to run the latter’s onboard boutique business.

Airlink flies to more than 45 destinations in 13 African countries and Saint Helena.

TRS will also look to introduce its pre-order platform for boutique sales onboard Kenya Airways, where it is a concessionaire, in Q2, with a view to expanding it across its wider Africa carrier base in the coming 12 months.

The travel retailer manages inflight duty free and F&B programmes alongside airport and downtown store operations, predominantly serving the UK and African markets.

In an exclusive and rare interview, available in the TRBusiness February e-zine, Chief Executive Officer Clive Jones speaks in detail about the fortunes of inflight retail and his own company’s transformative journey over the past few years.

The introduction of refreshed boutique and F&B service options for long-time partner British Airways through its Speedbird Café, High Life Shop ‘Buy Before You Fly’ and @seat digital ordering application has coincided with shifting dynamics for penetration and spend per head.

Jones said: “Pre-Covid, between 2.5-5% [of sales] were pre-orders. If I look at where we are currently, it’s about 25-30% of our sales. That is a remarkable move, but we also need to understand that we had trolleys onboard pre-Covid and we don’t anymore for duty free. The average transaction value via pre-order is double that of the ATV onboard the aircraft. People are buying more when they pre-order.”

British Airways customers can order F&B in the air directly to their seat. Source BA.com.

Asked to share average transaction values for boutique purchases, Jones remained tight-lipped, merely stating: “What I can say is pre-Covid, our luxury portion of sales was higher than what it currently is.

“ATV is down against pre-Covid as people are buying better value products. We are seeing good volume, but not at the really high price points. People are going to mid-lower price points compared with 2019.”

To read the full interview with Tourvest Retail Services and Chief Executive Officer Clive Jones, see the TRBusiness February e-zine.

Main image source: Shutterstock.

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