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DALL·E 2024-04-29 15.57.52 - Create an image for a blog post titled Travel Retail_ Steps Brands Can Take to Guarantee the Luxury Experience. The image should be wide, sized 1200


The travel retail market is predicted to reach $150.38 billion in 2028.

That figure seems almost unfathomable until we compare the growth to what we saw in the travel retail space from 2023 to 2024: a 14.1% increase, $79.2 billion to $90.4 billion, respectively. Even in the recovery stages from COVID-related travel restrictions — and Chinese travelers not traveling as frequently as they once did — the travel industry is primed for a growth spurt.

Experts attribute the exponential surge to the rising demand for personalized, luxury shopping experiences — customers looking to “make memories for years to come,” according to Israel Assa, Global President, Travel Retail of Estee Lauder Companies.

Despite growing global interest in travel retail, brands face frustrations with high employee turnover, a disconnect from frontline teams, and breakneck competition.

Employee Retention on the “Sixth Continent”

L’Oreal calls the travel retail environment the Sixth Continent in part due to its monumental annual sales, but mostly for the diverse customer base that has its own set of styles, budgets, and needs.

Located in airport terminals, border shops, and cruise and ferry landings, the industry has seen a recent surge in international travel and subsequent international shoppers. Thus, frontline travel retail employees are expected to meet a wide array of customer expectations. With billions of international travelers that pass through these spaces each year, luxury brands must equip employees with the tools necessary to create memorable, succinct brand experiences.

High employee turnover is a given, of course, not just in travel retail spaces. However, with high-end stores in remote, international locations, it’s vital to have consistent onboarding and training strategies in place. With these characteristically small teams, major turnover can feel catastrophic. 

The brand experience is set by headquarters, but executed by your frontline travel retail employees. Empower them to confidently create consistent and professional interactions with each customer. Setting learning incentives in place allows frontline workers to take ownership of their employment opportunity with your brand.

The Data Disconnect

Large international brands are utilizing the travel retail sector to strategically introduce product launches, promotional marketing, and exclusive experiences. Often, these products may not yet be available in local stores.

“With the development of low-cost airlines and the growing purchasing power of the world’s middle classes, more and more people are traveling by plane, and over the past 40 years, retail areas have grown along with the airports,” writes the L’Oreal Groupe. “The success of these airport outlets is such that L’Oréal sells a number of products exclusively in ‘aeromalls’.”

It’s imperative that employees have access to updated data to support the ever-changing products, goals, and quotas set by headquarters. 

However, with luxury brands occupying travel retail space in over 150 countries, the physical location environments vary drastically. Challenges can look like POS disconnections to network, spotty WiFi, and outdated data.

Both the frontline employee and the brand suffer when they don’t have consistent access to data. Consider streamlining your data and analytics to a platform that has reliable “offline” features, like SimpliField.

Relying on Field Teams

International brands in the wholesale travel retail space also have hundreds of individuals working on flexible field teams to bolster ongoing work.

Field teams performing store visits on these duty free stores  are tasked with specific action items to increase operational excellence and proper merchandising.

With these routine checks happening on a cyclical basis, it's imperative that field teams make the most of their visits by consolidating valuable feedback for HQ. Ensure they're equipped with the tools to do this quickly and efficiently.

Miles of Competition

The window of time between travelers going through TSA and boarding their next flight is familiarly known in airports as “Golden Hour.” 

Store after store is packed into limited real estate of airport walkways. Luxury stores compete to engage with new and seasoned customers to deliver a unique brand experience. It’s congested, it’s stressful, and it’s imperative to stand out.

49.6% of all travel retail market share is claimed by fragrance and cosmetics. Especially in the beauty sector, it’s difficult to make a lasting, positive impression.

Leading beauty and cosmetic brands have embraced this challenge — introducing innovative ways to catch the eye of new customers with fresh advertising and unique purchase experiences. We’ve seen a significant rise in contactless stores and vending kiosks, delivery robots and automation, and immersive shopping.

With the goal of aligning the luxury experience with the travel experience, brands must master frontline employees completing daily tasks with excellence while adding attention-earning elements.


Key Takeaways

  1. Streamline frontline task management and communication. This improves operational excellence and overall brand consistency for the growing travel retail customer base.

  2. Empower new hires and long term employees to align each customer interaction with brand standards. Cater to dwindling attention spans by training your teams with bite-sized content, e.g. videos, surveys, documents, and checklists.

  3. Switch your employee communication and data platform to one with offline capabilities. HQ-frontline disconnect in travel retail teams can cause missed sales, missed expectations, and ongoing frustration. 

SimpliField, Designed to Bridge the Disconnect

SimpliField’s platform was honed to meet the needs of luxury teams around the world — allowing brands to operate with visibility and excellence.

Our platform gives headquarters and frontline teams the ability to communicate easily, even amongst challenges like network issues, employee turnover, and keeping brand consistency.

Let us show you how simple it is to integrate SimpliField into your workflow. SimpliField is the best tool to help your frontline employees save time and spend it more on customers.

Book a demo today, or learn more about our capabilities.



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