Onboard Hospitality 90 June/July 2022

Page 78

78 / retail Xxxxx tech

Connected retail Onboard technology is driving retail sales and supporting new routes to profitability post-pandemic reports Laura Gelder


s the summer season begins in the northern hemisphere, airlines face their biggest chance to boost recovery and their biggest test in a while in terms of onboard service. All are looking for ingenious ways to increase profit margins and cut waste, and buy-on-board is proving key. Fernando Guinea, vice president of Gateretail, reports that growing interest in digital onboard retail programmes is no longer limited to lowcost carriers, and attributes this to the customer service angle: “A digital retail programme allows passengers to customise their travel experience while also limiting cost and waste linked to loading items that are not truly wanted. Airlines are then better able to meet varying customer

expectations and improve the overall customer travel experience,” he says.

From ground to air Of course, long before Covid-19, the increased personalisation of onboard retail, including F&B, was a trend gathering pace, and technology was the force driving it forward. Tom Szwed, head of commercial at gategroup’s tech partner Beyond (formerly Black Swan), points out that self-service via technology has become the norm – from supermarket checkouts to order and pay-at-table apps in restaurants. “It’s not a surprise to see this trend translate to onboard retail,” he says. “Passengers now just expect to able to browse, order and pay on a mobile device.”

onboardhospitality.com onboardhospitality.com

RetailTech_v7.indd 78

5/26/22 12:21 PM