INTERVIEW: Paradies Lagardère President and CEO Gregg Paradies

By Charlotte Turner |

Inside the March/April Special Americas edition e-zine, Paradies Lagardère President and CEO Gregg Paradies tells Luke Barras-Hill how the travel retailer and restaurateur is responding to challenges currently facing many airport concessionaires in North America, such as pressures on staffing, wages and the supply chain and why agility and innovation is shaping its customer mission.

 

This is an extract from an interview with Gregg Paradies which appears in full inside the March/April e-zine here.

 

What are your thoughts on the current trajectory of international air passenger traffic to and from North America at this time and what impact have you seen since the lifting of US air and land border restrictions in November?

We are starting to see more international travellers than the past two years, but certainly not with the same regularity just yet. The recovery of Canadian travel has occurred at a different pace than in the US, but we look forward to the resurgence of that market this year. Industry observers are expecting US and Canadian nationals to start booking more international travel this summer. However, it may take until summer 2023 before we witness a material number of visitors to North America. In addition to the variants of Covid that have surfaced in the recent past, there are many other global events unfolding currently that could have an impact on international travel. We sincerely hope these situations settle quickly and that the international travel market has the chance to flourish.

 

CNBC at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport.

CNBC at Fort Lauderdale International Airport operated by Paradies Lagardère .

 

Update TRBusiness on new concepts, innovation or brands that you are currently/actively looking to roll out across your US airport concessions?

On our retail side, we’ve unveiled the evolution of our PGA Tour partnership with a new concept, the ‘Fan Shop’, including a fun golf simulator allowing shoppers to ‘play’ their favourite iconic course.  We also have started to expand the very successful Hip & Humble concept – an eclectic boutique gift store originating in Salt Lake City – to other markets. To complement our great brand portfolio, we have offered a wide variety of conveniences from contactless transactions, ‘endless aisle’ shopping, smart vending, as well as easy-to-use self-checkout options. We will continue deploying more innovative ways for travellers to engage, shop and pay with us in the months ahead.

 

The succesful Hip & Humble boutique gifting concept originating in Salt Lake City is being expanded to other destinations.

Paradies Lagardère’s successful Hip & Humble boutique gifting concept originating in Salt Lake City is being expanded to other destinations.

 

You launched MishiPay’s ‘Scan, Pay & Go’ technology at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Charlotte Douglas Airports last year. How successful has this service been in increasing revenue and are you expanding it elsewhere?

Scan, Pay & Go, powered by MishiPay, has been an excellent program for travellers in the stores in which we’ve implemented it. It provides another convenient contactless transaction option, an element that continues to grow in our retail environments. To date, customers have rated their Scan, Pay & Go experiences a 4.85 out of 5 on satisfaction ratings, with over 90% of shoppers making a purchase when they have opened this QR code-triggered functionality, which is a great participation rate. As a result of the success we’ve encountered, we have expanded the program to a total of 30 retail stores in 20 airports with more opening soon.

 

What would you identify as your major concession ‘wins’ and key developments in 2021 – either new business, lease extensions, refurbishment/upgrades etc?

The formal RFP activity came to a halt when the pandemic began, so our efforts understandably focused on contract negotiations and extensions. The depth and quality of our airport partnerships served us well in that regard and last year alone we managed to secure various term extensions. Examples would be airports such as John Glenn Columbus International Airport and Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, where our programmes will expand with significant investments in the coming years. The end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 have witnessed an aggressive level of tenders and we are planning on that busy trend continuing well into 2023.

 

CLICK HERE to read the e-zine online now.

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