Sometimes I hear people talking about airport IT, and whilst it is not an area that concerns me personally, I do listen more carefully when they start talking about the potential for airports to increase revenue from areas that have traditionally been the domian of the airlines. Loyalty programs is one such idea that comes to mind, as is just about anything that uses the term ancillary revenue. On this latter point, I saw an interesting slide deck from industry consultants SH&E talking mainly about the evolution of LCC’s, but it did contain one slide relevant to todays topic.

I thought it nicely illustrated the point about both sides trying to encroach on what has traditionally been the territory of the other. I’ve spoken about the Bow Tie model plently of times, and the crux of this model is all about bringing traveller spend forward in order to reduce the influence of those to whom it has traditionally gone. Retailing is huge business for airports these days, and one example is airlines are trying to bring forward the purchase of duty free by selling it on their website to passengers with upcoming trips.

Another option for airlines is to improve how they sell inside the cabin to catch opportunities missed by the airport. I’ve always suspected this could be done a lot better, and I was interested to read recently from Travalo in regard to British Airways that “the fragrance atomiser has become the best-selling accessory on board the UK flagship carrier.” The story followed with “Refillable perfume atomiser Travalo has become the best-selling product in the accessories category on board UK flagship carrier British Airways.”

At first I was surprised that this was really the top selling item on board the plane, but go back and read it more carefully. It says: “best-selling product in the accessories category.” In the good old tradition of some other fine flacks with clever copy, without knowing what else (if anything) is actually classed as being in the accessories category, I have no way of knowing how impressive this claim really is. But who cares about small details when most people will have just taken away that Travalo is actually the best selling product on the plane. Nice work.