Five questions for people working in and around the ecosystem of travel. From technology providers to vendors to marketers to suppliers, these are the people behind the ideas powering travel. Read more answers to 5 questions here.


 

Changi is one of only three airports that raked in more than US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion) in spending by travellers last year. That’s an impressive chunk of the money spent at the world’s airports. Globally, travellers spent a total of US$62 billion at duty-free and airport shops last year. While impressive, that’s actually three percent less than the US$63.8 billion spent in 2014.

Clearly, revenue records are being made at airports around the world. As more airports strive to build incredible facilities with stand-out amenities, the competition is only getting tougher.

The precise revenue figure was not shared, but Singapore’s Changi airport ranked only behind South Korea’s Incheon and Dubai, in a recent study by Swedish duty-free and travel retail consultancy, Generation Research. From perfumes to electronics to fashion, duty-free is a huge revenue driver for airports. For those airports of Changi’s size and caliber, travel retail is a massive draw for travelers.

One of the key architects behind the airport’s impressive performance is Ms Teo Chew Hoon, Changi’s SVP of airside concessions. She and her team have proven masterful in setting the bar for airports worldwide. Whether it’s the online advance shopping portal iShopChangi or the latest retail outpost (aptly called the Jewel), the team never sits still. Here’s more about that bar – and how the team intends to keep raising it.

Q: Changi recently placed third in the world in traveler spending. What does this achievement mean to the airport?

A: In 2015, Changi Airport achieved a record sales of S$2.2 billion, placing us among the top three airports globally in terms of retail spend. We adopt a holistic retail strategy that encompasses refreshed retail offering at competitive price points, innovative retail concepts, as well as exciting campaigns such as our ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ promotion where the ultimate winner takes home SGD1,000,000. This achievement is an encouragement to us, at the same time affirming that Changi Airport is on the right track striving to be the world’s destination to shop in.

This achievement is an encouragement to us, at the same time affirming that Changi Airport is on the right track striving to be the world’s destination to shop in. We will continue to innovate and work with our retail partners to deliver a complete airport shopping and dining experience to all our travellers.

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Here’s what travelers like to spend money on at airport retail.

Airports have become destinations unto themselves. What can other travel suppliers learn from the way that Changi has built its retail experience?

At Changi Airport, we believe in delivering an airport experience that is personalised, positively surprising and stress-free. Retail is an integral part of the experience creation process.

In recent years, Changi has worked with key retail partners, DFS Group and The Shilla Duty-Free to launch the Wines & Spirits and Cosmetics and Perfumes duplexes respectively, allowing passengers to enjoy free cocktails at its Raffles Long Bar or get a free makeover before their flights out. From time to time, passengers are delighted by the innovative retail concept outposts where they can get their hands on exclusively launched products and interact with brands.

These offerings are also augmented with service. The frontline staff at Changi goes through service learning training to ensure that the service rendered to passengers is of a good standard.

Traveler experience and satisfaction is important to Changi. How are you measuring the success of your ongoing improvements?

Changi Airport is always looking for ways to enhance the retail experience for shoppers. Besides listening to feedback from our passengers and shoppers through multiple channels such as our website, call centre and even social media, we also look at sales and participation rate.

For instance, the first year our key retail promotion ‘Be a Changi Millionaire’ was held in 2010, it received a participation rate of 830,000 entries. The sixth run of the campaign last year continues to receive an overwhelming response, hitting a record of close to two million entries. That’s also one of the key contributors to retail sales.

Changi Millionaire

The campaign continues to drive traveler interest, year-over-year.

This year, the campaign is back again for the seventh time with even more ways for our shoppers to win the grand prize of SGD1,000,000 simply by shopping or dining at Changi Airport. For instance, the promotion is also open to shoppers who shopping on our online shopping portal, iShopChangi.

As a travel brand, what are the three most important things that you do to keep travelers happy?

We always endeavour to deliver a positive and memorable experience to all our passengers. This includes infrastructure that supports efficient airport processes, as well as creating a stress-free environment and positively surprising moments for passengers.

For instance, passengers at Changi are able to enjoy a walk through the themed gardens, catch a movie for free, take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool, or enjoy retail therapy before their flights. Ultimately, we hope that Changi Airport is not only a transit point in their holiday, but a part of their holiday plans as well.

For retail, we also ensure that there is a wide range of product offerings and brands at different price points for shoppers to choose from. From local brands such as Charles & Keith (retails shoes and accessories) and Bee Cheng Hiang (barbeque meat snacks) to international labels like Saint Laurent Paris, Kate Spade New York and Gucci, shoppers are spoilt for choice.

Terminal 3 - Transit - Shilla Duplex (Dior Lounge)

Terminal 3’s Dior Lounge is a clear sign that cosmetics dominate travel retail. Photo: Changi Airport

Looking to the future, how will Changi continue to deliver a unique experience to travelers?

People are becoming better travelled with the world becoming more connected, and their needs and demands change over time. As an airport striving to maintain and grows its status as an air hub and airport of choice for passengers, we will continue to innovate and work with our airport partners to succeed together.


 

5 questions for people working in and around the ecosystem of travel. From technology providers to vendors to marketers to suppliers, these are the people behind the ideas powering travel. Read more answers to 5 questions here.