Travel retail staffing and experiential specialists Blackjack Promotions has declared its new centre of excellence due to open at the beginning of next year as the company’s ‘biggest and best investment.’
The new 15,000sq ft facility, located near Heathrow Airport is a clear signal of intent as far as the company’s commitment to learning and development is concerned.
Jason Miles, Managing Director, Blackjack Promotions, who revealed a soft-opening will take place ahead of the official unveiling told TRBusiness: “We are extremely proud of the Centre of Excellence. It has been a long overdue investment on our behalf.
“Setting up the centre alongside our logistics facility gives us the ability to bring people closer to our business. By opening the training centre, we can let our brand partners come on site and use the training facilities.”
He added: “For us, this is a big investment in terms of how we grow our business and see the best of our brand partners as well.”
TRAINING AND MEETING HUB
Doubling its warehouse and offsite space, will allow for the creation of a training and meeting hub for staff, clients and brands and continued efficiency in the logistics side of the travel retail business. The new physical learning environment will include three training rooms, two meeting rooms and latest technical enhancements. This will also enable Blackjack to grow its service portfolio and offer a 360 service to clients.
According to Blackjack, which is part of OmniServ, an ABM Aviation company, the aim of the Centre of Excellence is to provide ‘an acceptable and conveniently located’ space. The plan is to offer an ideal setting for Blackjack staff to receive high-quality training and meet with clients and brands to share ideas and experiences.
In addition, the company has invested in a new, integrated warehouse management system — a bespoke inventory management tool that can be accessed by clients directly. This allows visibility to their inventory and ability to order online.
Elaborating on the aims and objectives of the Centre of Excellence, Miles, who indicates the company is focused on a number of changes to help deliver on its sustainability plans, says the intention is to bring a point of difference. Regarding sustainability, the aim is to focus on renewable energy and use less plastic.
“If you are going to say you will invest in people you must have a place where you can do that,” he remarked.
Miles, who has worked in the travel retail industry for the past 24 years is relishing the opportunity to steer the business into a position where it can invest back into the sector. “This will be achieved by investing in young talent through internships, for example, which are going on in Blackjack Promotions.”
He added: “Not only are we investing in our own teams, but investing in facilities that will help us grow. We want to start making sure we build careers in this sector. That is what excites me the most.”
In addition to providing solutions for people, Blackjack is a business which takes onboard feedback.
Miles explained: “We have spoken to a number of our liquor clients, which has made us think differently and decide to add a training bar to the centre. The plan is to look at the space and hopefully house a training bar at the end of the room so brands can come in and do mixes.
“We realise there is a need for this among our clients so we can go on from that. This is really exciting.”
Announcing next year’s opening of the new and expanded warehouse has enabled Blackjack’s partners to realise the company is a one-stop agency, specialising in experiential creative in Ireland and Dubai, travel retail and logistics. “If a brand wants to work with us, we can make their lives really easy,” emphasised Miles.
Aside the Centre of Excellence, this year has been an eventful one for Blackjack, which has created a new MENA joint venture, promoted Fiona Rayner to Head of Experiential and International Operations and launched its new accessible travel retail programme.
Miles said: “We have had a phenomenal year, particularly in terms of the development of the team. We recently won the Plaza Premium contract in Dubai International Airport and are working with Plaza Premium in Abu Dhabi Airport as well.
“Blackjack Promotions is about bringing a brand to life and making it easier for the client so it gets a great return on investment. We are heading into next year with a new logistics centre and growth in Ireland and Dubai. ”