SPARK unveils multi-faceted sales and promotions solution for airport retail

By Andrew Pentol |

Heidi Van Roon, President, SPARK Group of Companies.

SPARK Group of Companies has introduced a new multi-faceted sales and promotions solution for airport retail, entitled the Brand Partner Program.

The solution has been designed to substantially support global brands and travel retailers in achieving the best possible sales outcomes as we emerge from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Recruited and employed by SPARK, brand partners are trained and supported to provide airport shoppers with a highly engaging, personalised and more sophisticated airport retail experience.

The program has been devised to enhance the role of the traditional airport retail sales assistant or brand ambassador to that of a dedicated airport store brand manager. Complete with real-time sales reporting via a designed-for-purpose app, the one-year extendable program aims to transform the effectiveness and ROI of the shopfloor sales function.

A strong advocate for sales optimisation, SPARK has delivered successful sales and human resources programmes for brands and retailers including Estée Lauder, Godiva, Dufry, Coty, L’Oréal, Andrew Peller, Sisley, AmorePacific, Hermès and Bulgari.


Brand Partner Program cohorts at key airports are scheduled to commence later this year, in line with North American air travel recovery.

A SPARK promotion for Godiva Chocolates and Wayne Gretzky Ice Wine.

The program — which is aimed at all major categories in airport retail — is front-loaded with bespoke SPARK sales training. Modules are designed to complement the established product training programs of brand and airport retailer clients.

Heidi Van Roon, President, SPARK Group of Companies, says the Brand Partner Program has been designed to tackle issues facing brands and retailers in the face of Covid-19.

Issues for brands include reduced shopfloor accessibility and travel budgets, obsolete activation models and ROI uncertainty.

For retailers, Van Roon says the program tackles the challenges of reduced labour budgets, high turnover costs of brand ambassador programmes and the need to adapt activations to what is safe and impactful in the post-Covid era.

Heidi Van Roon, President, SPARK Group of Companies (pictured centre) with members of her SPARK team at Vancouver Airport.

She also indicated that human resources priorities for brand partners are at the forefront of this new approach to airport retail sales.

In addition to sales training and brand immersion, brands receive dedicated 12-month contracts from SPARK with competitive wages.

Long-term job prospects are extendable either with SPARK, the brand or the retailer on successful completion of the program.

Pricing for the Brand Partner Program is either at 100%, 50% or 35% (if shared) of annual cost (see below table) and is available in full-time or part-time packages. SPARK is committed to a positive ROI across all six available options.

The program fee includes recruitment, SPARK training, on-site support, wages, bonus, employer obligations, regular reporting and an administration fee.

Van Roon commented: “Collaboration is right at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. The success of the program is dependent on a team of five-10 brand partners per airport location and full retailer support.

“We have used our experience of delivering some of the most profitable brand ambassador programs and brand activations seen in Americas travel retail in pre-Covid years to create this new, all-encompassing airport retail sales employment service.”

A La Prairie White Caviar Collection promotion supported by SPARK.

She concluded: “What we are delivering with the Brand Partner Program is benefits to the retailer, brand and employee. We urge brands and retailers to provide input and to work with us and lead the airport retail sales model forward into a bright future.”


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