In times of stress, people tend to find outlets to relieve, distract, or heal themselves. Maybe stress at work means you need to take a walk and listen to your favorite song. Or the anxiety of leaving a relationship can be result in changing hairstyles, eating a ton of ice cream, or consuming hours of reality television on the couch (while eating a ton of ice cream). Whatever it is, the distraction is useful as a means of ‘curing’ the common complaint. Of course, taken to extremes of unhealthy behavior, distraction might lead to dependencies, but that’s not the focus here. In this post, we’re discussing the more benign form of “retail therapy.” Although by no means a substitute for psychotherapy treatment, retail therapy can serve to distract, entertain, and ease minor stresses - especially along the arduous and pit-falled path of a travel journey. So here are a few ways that airlines can take advantage of this insight to improve the travel experience for their passengers, while driving some significant ancillary travel retail revenue, along the way.

“Retail therapy can be defined as the act of shopping with the sole purpose of improving one’s mood or disposition.” [source]

Window shopping for the soul

It’s fair to say that air travel is generally filled with stress and boredom. On most flights, you’ll see people watching videos with noise cancelling headphones on, trying to just make it to their destination without losing their mind. They are in need of distraction and would benefit from a little retail therapy. They can window shop through a duty-free catalogue or destination activities, information, and tours. Unlike the distraction from amusing activities such as watching videos or doing crosswords, window shopping offers an experience like no other. When consumers scroll through products, read online reviews, check availability and rates, they envision themselves within that experience. More succinctly, travelers who dream of far away vacations are actually ‘seeing themselves’ in those locations, which in turn fuels the desire to purchase those travel retail products.

“Online shopping is increasingly mentioned as a type of mini mental vacation.” [source]


Through the looking glass

Airlines now have every opportunity to convert window shoppers into actual travel retail shoppers. They have a captive audience for the duration of a flight, in desperate need of distraction and entertainment.  During this time, an airline’s mobile app can delight their passengers with a catalogue of awesome, eye-catching offers through which they can window shop - all from their personal, mobile devices. But the dreaming phase of travel can strike at any moment. So even if your passenger is at home sitting on their couch, they’re still likely to be interested in travel retail inspiration. Again, your airline’s app can serve up a mountain of awesome content that your passengers are going to love.

Travel retail solutions

Having great offers - that’s great! And having lots of them - that’s also great. But what’s not so great is spamming your passengers with tons of offers that aren’t relevant. If a passenger is on a plane flying to Hawaii, why would you want them to window shop tours and experiences in Paris? That’s not to say you can’t market other destinations at some other point in time. After the trip, you can serve up personalized offers based upon their proven preferences and profiles. But if you’re going to exploit the fact that your passengers are captive in the cabin, and you know where they’re going, then why not offer them experiences that are actually relevant to their trip. Serving up timely and relevant travel retail offers is the key to attachment and conversion.

Frankly, any attempt an airline makes to delight their passengers will go appreciated. But the value of driving travel retail revenue is even greater than brand loyalty efforts. Let us help show you how you can drive ancillary revenue by leveraging the Guestlogix travel retail marketplace, as well as our AI-driven suggestion engine to turn your window shopping passengers into travel retail customers.

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