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Beyond the lease: True partnerships between airports and concessionaires
Airports and concession operators are naturally aligned in their mutual goal to provide great customer service that drives passengers’ traffic and higher revenue. Airports must lead this effort with concessions and other operational stakeholders to initiate measurable programmes. Mutual focus on engaging passengers with memorable experiences, along with a strong sense of place is associated with increased sales and airport traffic. To increase non-aeronautical revenue, one must create happy passengers — and that is in everyone’s interest. Innovative programmes such as CSAC (Customer Service Action Committee) at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) and the Premium Value Program at Denver International Airport (DEN) are two best practices that strengthen relationships and deliver results. Key ingredients for success include creating programmes that build relationships within an airport, defined programmes, firm scheduled meetings, measured results, identify stakeholder problem solving, and always celebrating success. Programmes that identify barriers such as airport ‘hassle factor’ for employees and passengers, individual labour markets issues and operational challenges are also fostered when disparate airport teams come together. Airport management alone can bring the various stakeholders together to support and drive customer service excellence and communication within an environment of cooperation. These programmes build strong airports.
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Pady Regnier is the Founder and CEO of St. Croix Airport Retail, Inc., an award-winning airport concession operator based in Minnesota and with stores in five US airports and with 27 stores in development in three additional airports. St. Croix offers airports global and proprietary brands in specialty, travel convenience and in 2018 St. Croix will launch its first food and beverage concepts at Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) in partnership with HMS Host. St. Croix continues to win numerous awards for customer service, best retail specialty concept, sustainability and business innovation. St. Croix is known for its cutting-edge concepts, laser focus on passenger customer service and finding great talent for its operations.