According to an ACI economics report, 40.4% of global airport revenue comes from duty-free and other travel retail. And this is no coincidence... Airports are built in a certain way. From your first step inside, you’ll go exactly the way they want you to and feel relaxed enough to leave them tons of money before your takeoff.
We at WeGoRo have decided to give you a little peek at some tricks and techniques airports use to open up our wallets.
The navigation in airports is very easy: there are signs and moving sidewalks everywhere and the design itself leads us in the direction they want us to go. Right after the security check we can usually see the tarmac, but we can’t reach the plane without passing through long corridors of duty-free shops.Using a tactic called wayfinding, this type of design makes us feel that we intuitively know where to go. This gives us the impression of having more control over our journey and increases our satisfaction level. It’s efficiencies also leave us more time and set the mood for shopping.
The walkways curve from right to left with more shops on the right. This is because most people are right-handed and see more things on the right while walking left.
A stressed person is not really a good shopper and plenty of people feel pretty nervous before their flight. For this reason, airports are lightening up their mood a bit with things like panoramic windows, lots of light, and different pieces of art. Some airports have even installed yoga zones which create the perfect atmosphere to relax before hitting the duty-free shops.
The waiting area at airports is designed to feel like home. Cozy chairs, side tables and carpets make the terminal feel like your living room. This comfort encourages us to buy a cup of coffee, eat a sandwich, and maybe read a little something from the airport book store.In the case of a delay or long connection they hope the home-like atmosphere will allievate your stress and encourage spending.
Airport check-in and security lines can be ridiculously long. This may not seem logical but the use of one line is actually less stressful than using multiple lines. When there’s only one line, no one worries about which one is moving faster and it gives us the feeling of being treated fairly.
The more time we have between security check and boarding, the more time we’ll spend in the duty-free shops. This is why airports are trying to speed up the check-in, bag-drop, passport control and security check processes by automating them. They also place vending machines in the duty-free zones so not only do we have the chance to spend more money on retail, but this automation also saves airports on staffing costs.
There are flight information screens everywhere, especially near the waiting areas. This is so we’ll always know we’ve still got plenty of time for shopping.
They strategically place the shops and products according to well-known always-working marketing rules, so we’ll buy more. They also create a local atmosphere, sell authentic souvenirs, local brands, and local services. It makes us feel like we’re in a special place and that only here, only today can we purchase this specific product.
It’s kind of a monopoly. Not only bottles of water, but all airport drinks and snacks are slightly overpriced. You’re trapped in the duty-free zone and you don’t have any other place to turn if you’re thirsty or hungry. We wonder what else airport security would like to ban just to make a profit from it inside the gate.
Airports never give up. There are always some duty-free shops for the arriving passengers. On our way from the baggage carousel to the exit we still have the chance to spend a little more money. There are also different products, food and beverages that are offered in the meeters and greeters hall for our friends and families.
Airports want us to waste as much money as we’re ready to spend and we fall into their trap every time.
Did you buy something overpriced or unneeded at an airport lately? Or maybe you know some ways to bypass their tricks?
Preview photo credit U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Wikimedia