BBC Two’s upcoming drama series Pan Am, which is set to hit our screens in November, promises to transport us back to the glamorous era of luxury air travel before fractious air hostesses wearing blue polyester aprons were forced to peddle scratch cards, anaemic hot dogs and polybags of gin to earn a living wage.
While strict airport security and cheap flights may have dampened the innate glamour of flying, there’s certainly no shortage of glitz at airports. As Michele Norsa, CEO at Salvatore Ferragamo, noted at the recent opening conference of the annual TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes: “I believe airports are the new shopping cathedrals. The atmosphere you can breathe at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 is very impressive.”
Indeed, the Tax Free World Association’s exhibition certainly proved that glamour is alive and well in the travel retail industry. From the opening cocktail, held at Palm Beach, where 1,380 delegates watched a spectacular sunset followed by an impressive fireworks display, to the Premium evening, during which guests were treated to a live performance by James Blunt, it was an exhibition packed with pizzazz.
Yet the industry cannot afford to rest on its laurels, as Norsa admitted: “It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to take a lot of effort. Consumers will ask to be impressed—they will want to see the history of brands and the diversification of products.” It indicates that customer engagement is the key to future success.
TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen echoed Norsa’s message, highlighting the importance of digital communications, particularly social media, in a year when global sales of smartphones are expected to overtake sales of PCs. “It used to be about the three Ps—product, price and promotion,” he said. “Today, social media has changed the rules of engagement. It’s about gaining advocacy and getting customers to shout and do marketing for you.”
Luckily, ILN is perfectly placed to deliver on both fronts. To find out how we can help reach your customers, call Tony Long, on +44 (0)20 7426 1012.‹ all articles