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BEVERAGE REPORT Capping a weekend of sales seminars and product education, Monarch cabin crew kicked up their heels at a banquet and presentation of the OMG! awards

Front-line

sales by RICK LUNDSTROM

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n the past year, Europe based wine merchants have been fighting battles with currency exchanges, uncertainty over a future with the United Kingdom no longer tied to the European Union and weather conditions that have cut deeply into some of the most popular growing regions in Europe. But what they can be thankful for is a never-ending demand for products from the most premium wines by service-oriented airlines that are spending as much as ever to please the front-cabin passengers. As important as the need to supply premium wines in First and Business Classes are the efforts by low-cost carriers to supplement income with inflight sales. Over the past year, no less a venerable an airline as British Airways began to see the importance of inflight sales, with the launch of Marks and Spencer meals and a wide selection of wines and sparkling wines on its short-haul networks within Europe. British Airways is following a sales model that has been honed and perfected by other airlines in the United Kingdom. Whether British Airways reaches the sophistication in its sales approach of airlines such as Monarch, Thomas Cook and easyJet could be a matter of a few critical, motivated crew members that are at the front lines of the sales force. Evidence of that motivation can be

76  |  PAX INTERNATIONAL  |  MARCH/APRIL 2017

Airlines and suppliers may have to deal with shifts in currency and fickle weather, but on several charter airlines in the U.K., they can count on a motivated sales force to help get products into the hands of passengers

found in the form of Alpha LSG’s regularly held sales performance weekends, capped by the presentation of the OMG! Awards, which are distributed to top-selling flight crew for Monarch and Thomas Cook Airlines. The most recent was held at the De Vere Cotswolds Water Park Hotel in Cirencester January 24-25. In attendance were 88 of Monarch’s top-selling cabin crew. At the end of the weekend, 27 prizes in six categories were handed out to top sellers for the year. In addition to crew and officials from Alpha LSG, suppliers pitch in for a weekend of intense sales training that the airlines say results in remarkable success through cabin sales. Through what airline officials say is a combination of customer engagement and dedicated sales performance and passenger engagement, the Monarch exceeded its “spend per head” targets for 2016. The next step planned to enhance sales is a series of interactive screens that are being installed in crew rooms. On the screens will be information about passengers that Alpha LSG has gleaned in the booking process, social media and by e-mail. In the run up to their flight, passengers are kept informed about top sellers in Monarch’s selection, new products and any promotions the airline might be running. “These screens are an exciting new way of providing information and up-to-the-

minute news about the world of inflight retail, top selling tips, and much more,” said Richard Wood, Alpha LSG’s U.K. Sales and Marketing Director in a recap of the OMG! Awards for Monarch Airlines in January. “They are another great step toward keeping the crew well informed.” A well-informed cabin crew seems to be one of the keys for the holiday airline’s onboard sales program. During the OMG! weekend several suppliers also contributed to the instruction process. “We constantly attend road shows crew trainings and crew events organized by the airlines we are working with,” said Sandro Bottega, President of Bottega SA, the Italian wine and Prosecco bottler who has been spent 40 years in the duty free channel and whose products are now among the sales offerings on Monarch, Thomas Cook easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains. At this year’s WTCE, Bottega will be showing visitors to its stand its selection of products that are available in 20cl bottles: its Bottega Gold (sold on Monarch Airlines) and Il Vinco dei Poeti Prosecco, a refined Rosé from Pinot Niro grapes and a sweet moscato wine called Il Vino dell’Amore. Andrew Brown, Owner of Ratcliffe & Brown Wines and Spirits Ltd. may have spent the year fretting about the fluctuating value of the pound sterling and the related

PAX WTCE Hamburg March/April 2017  
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