Articles

9th August 2018

Bespoke buy onboard solution improves sustainability

Onboard retail and catering is major source of ancillary revenue for all airlines. 

Versilia is always looking for inspiring ways to make onboard shopping an attractive proposition for passengers. We encouraged our customer, a leading European short-haul airline, to believe that the only way to create a unique retail proposition is to move away from these known and uninspiring formats entirely. 

Kat Cole, Retail Account Manager for Versilia’s Malta operation, elaborates. “This was a very tough decision and new territory for the airline team.  We were able to help allay some of their concerns by looking to bring in quality fresh food choices, including hot snacks. We have also included bespoke and luxury items, to attract the younger end of the market who prefer niche offerings to big brands.

Using the emotional impact of branding as a differentiator

To create a genuinely unique customer offering, the airline accepted our advice and decided to look closer to home for products. Kat continues: “Working with a reputable, but mostly unknown, local supplier is a great way to secure the rights to an exclusive product. Niche products are appealing because they are unique and, if they can be sourced locally, transporting them is easier, cheaper and more sustainable too.” 

Soft toys make a strong emotional impact, and for one airline customer, Kat was able to secure a deal for a marine-themed plush turtle toy, representing an animal found in the local waters.

“This airline is committed to giving back wherever possible and plans to donate a percentage of the sales of this toy to its chosen charity”, added Kat. 

Raising environmental awareness through sensitive product choice

The United Nations Oceans Conference 2017 had heightened an  airline’s awareness of the effects of plastic on marine life. It was keen to reflect its ethical concerns in its branding and tasked Versilia with selecting a product to mirror this.

“Our customer is very focused on recycling and aware of its responsibilities to the environment and the poor reputation of air transport in this arena. We wanted to find something that showed this commitment in flight and so we have created a design for an aluminium reusable drinks bottle, which keeps liquids either hot or cold and has the airline’s branding on the label. Passengers who reuse their bottle when flying with the airline will receive a discount on their hot drink purchase.” 

Kat Cole 
Retail Account Manager

Tags: Onboard retail

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