TR Consumer Forum 2024: Digitally engaging consumers one-one-one

By Benedict Evans |

The session explored how brands and retailers can leverage technology and data-driven strategies.

The final panel session of the TR Consumer Forum 2024 tackled all things digital and direct, exploring new ways to reach travelling consumers one-to-one.

 Luke Barras-Hill, Editorial Director of TRBusiness, was joined by: Anna Marchesini, Head of Business Development at m1nd-set; Mélanie Guilldou, EVP Foodservice for Lagardère Travel Retail; Viktoriya Soubra, Director of Sales at iCoupon.

m1nd-set data

 Marchesini presented the latest data on omni-channel marketing, purchase planning, and the importance of diverse touchpoint.

“Those exposed to online information were most often millennials, business flyers and premium class flyers,” said Marchesini, adding: “They’re also harder to influence with in-store elements, but this doesn’t exclude impulse purchases, thus it’s important to adopt an omni-channel approach.”

Marchesini also pointed out missed opportunities within digital communication, pointing to data which showed the planning of purchases is higher than the incidence of plans to visit duty-free stores.

Marchesini also pointed out missed opportunities within digital communication, pointing to data which showed the planning of purchases is higher than the incidence of plans to visit duty-free stores.

“Touchpoints are the final dynamic of consumer decision-making.  There is a huge gap between planning and exposure to touchpoints, which represents a huge-missed opportunity within the industry,” said Marchesini.

She also noted contrary to belief, digital does not cannibalise in-store commerce: “Our research shows that’s absolutely not the case, consumers who pre-order are just as likely to browse in-store.”


There are so many stakeholders in our industry, we need to oil this system to make it efficient in terms of both business and to better understand our customers,” noted Guilldou, who added: “We need to ensure all the signals sent to customers are understandable, efficient and we need a variety of tools which mean each customer can latch on to touchpoints,”

Guilldou also commented upon the challenges inherent within travel retail, and suggested a number of solutions: “The difficulty is travel retail has many more constraints than other markets.

Guilldou also pointed to the need for customisation, and the addition of specific in-store digital aides as useful in guiding shopping choices.

With regards to phygital, pre-planned spend is something we’re working on, as we need to make sure it’s very clear where and how customers they can purchase.

I would focus on staff; retailers are a big part of our industry. They need to be given a lot of training and equipped with the right tools. With digital innovation, it’s important to never forget how they can optimise and leverage sales progress.”

Digital vouchering

Soubra then shifted the conversation to the immense potential of vouchering as an interactive means of engaging with consumers and enhancing spend.

“Our goal is to engage 96% of passengers who pass by restaurants using iCoupon and don’t engage,” noted Subra, adding: We enable issuers to remotely add vouchers, and thus value, to any unique digital ID – from boarding cards to QR codes – to generate in systems, redeemed at any enabled merchant.”

Soubra spoke on the power of vouchering and differing forms of digital engagement.

Subra noted the entire process was digitised, and also allowed retailers to improve upon their sustainability credentials as a side-effect: “We’ve saved 85 acres of trees since digitising meal vouchers during delays, the equivalent of 65 forests.”

“One airline we’re issuing is completely eliminating old onboard catering, and issuing digitised vouchers targeted at beverage promotions and lounge access vouchers.”

Collaboration and data sharing

Besides streamlining the onboard catering process, Soudra pointed out this adds to the available pool of data, from which more accurate decisions can be made regarding consumer preference and assortment.

“The max redemption rate rests at 15% for physical vouchers, we’re seeing 30 to 50% of redemption with the data available immediately,” commented Soudra, noting: “Operators have access to data, retailers have access to spend immediately.”

The panel then delved into the need to have more specific messaging and actions depending on passenger profile, including the need for data- say from boarding passes – on gender/age/purpose of travel/ nationality to adapt merchandising, even for specific flights.

“The airport staff care has a high impact as well. The upsell is so important from a customer care agenda in pushing spend,” noted Soudra.

READ MORE: TR Consumer Forum 2024: Unlocking the new Chinese travel retail shopper

READ MORE: TR Consumer Forum 2024: Engaging with conscious consumerism

READ MORE: TR Consumer Forum 2024: Perfecting the path to purchase in travel retail


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