Major International Airports

Our final examples are taken from our work for major international airports both in the UK and overseas where we help them increase their sales from their retail shopping operations.


Airports pay for their operations by charging landing fees and earning income in other ways such as through renting space to retailers. One key aspect was to understand the links between satisfaction with the airport experience and willingness to spend time shopping and dining whilst at the airport. This would enable the airport operators to know whether improving the airport experience would not only improve the customer’s likelihood to fly from the airport again in the future but also whether there would be a more immediate benefit as well.

Our previous work had already enabled us to measure the impact of many other factors on airport spend per passenger (SPP): from relative exchange rates to the retail offer; the types of passenger travelling through the airport to the volume of passengers in the terminal; and from the amount of time they have to kill to the retail promotions and offers available to attract them. The question was whether there were other aspects of the airport experience that also influenced SPP.

RedRoute are well-positioned to answer such questions because our ENP model is part of our wider “ABC” framework that explains how Attitudes and Circumstances combine to drive Behaviours. This is shown in diagram 4 below.

Our work on modelling actual in-market choice behaviour (not simply in an abstract lab or research environment but using real item-level transaction data collected by retailers) has shown us that the motivations for actual choice behaviours are driven by the combination of personal attitudes (“What’s important”) with personal circumstances (“What’s Possible”) at the time the decision is being made. It is the mix of rational and emotional factors that determines what each person considers to be the most satisfying outcome for them (“What’s Best”).

Extending our existing models with attitudinal factors gathered from surveys of customer experience as they passed through the airport was therefore a natural addition to our approach.

These results showed that a 10% increase in customer satisfaction with the airport experience would increase sales by 0.5%. Given that the value of retail sales at international airports these days is often counted in the hundreds or even thousands of millions per year improving customer experience is not just good customer relations it is also good business too.

Strategic Sales Forecasting and Scenario Planning

Our last case is illustrative of how we use the models of marketing effectiveness that we create for our clients to provide strategic sales forecasts and then run scenarios of the likely impacts of differing marketing decisions – before they are made. That way our clients can be wise before the event, not afterwards.

Moreover, our work in this area for major airports around the world has been endorsed by the relevant local civil aviation authorities as a best practice method in airport retail management.

The benefit derived is the reliability of the predictions we provide and this is reflected in the client endorsements such as that provided by Nick Adderley from Heathrow:

"RedRoute have demonstrated the real sales impact of our above-the-line ad campaigns giving us a very good estimate of the returns we were getting. They have helped us to understand how to maximise those returns and quantified a number of other dynamics of airport shopping. These new insights have helped us to rapidly step-change the effectiveness of our marketing plans both for the coming year and beyond."
Director of Marketing & Insight, Heathrow Airport Limited.

Use of the results from our work has helped Heathrow to continue to increase SPP at the airport throughout the past 5 years, despite the global economic pressures being faced.