18 | www.retailenvironments.org RETAIL ENVIRONMENTS september.2014
new ventures. “It’s definitely working. Our
HMSHost client is seeking notable celeb-rity chefs in virtually every city where they
have a food operation at the airport. And
they’re really pushing that idea, even in
middle-sized airports,” he says.
Out in the open
Retail layouts in airports are morphing from traditional storefront offerings
toward open plans that lead travelers to
circulate through the retail spaces and
to the gate areas seamlessly.
“They’re trying to break down the bar-
riers so that the stores aren’t contained
within sort of a mall-like structure like
most airports are,” explains Shafley. “The
traditional model has been more like a
regional shopping mall with a center con-
course and individual stores on either side.”
As the barriers are being taken down, the
lines between retail and gate areas are being
blurred, as was the case in the redesign of
the T2 Terminal in San Francisco.
“In T2 and at Boarding Area E, instead
of a typical food court, we interspersed
these food and beverage options within the
gate. You would have the comfort level of
being able to sit or stand in line, order food,
but yet maintain a visual connection to
the plane that’s parked outside, or to your
family or friends who are waiting in the
lounge,” says Henry. “This idea of putting
it all together in one spot is a trend that’s
here to stay.”
Airports are becoming more in tune with
travelers’ needs, adds George Waite, senior
program manager at Chute Gerdeman.
They’re creating environments that are
calmer, are more open, and allow more
natural daylight to flood the interior so
that the space feels less confining.
Perhaps the most exciting trend in airport retail environments is the frequency
with which popup shops are entering the
fray. Temporary storefronts and kiosk
spaces are introducing travelers to new
product offerings. Given the sheer number of customers that retailers have
access to in airports, popup shops represent the perfect test market for new concepts and brands.
Popup stores also refresh the airport
space, Bona points out. For frequent travelers, the constant change can create interest
in what’s coming up next. And for retailers,
popups can provide valuable insights into
the potential reception of new products,
Shafley adds that airports are pursuing
popups in their overall brand strategies
because popups can generate high revenues. Airports also benefit from feeling current, lively, and connected to the city scene.
For retailers who have not yet entered the
airport market, popups are a great opportunity to test the waters.
Storefronts are disappearing. At DCA (near Washington, D.C.), travelers can look forward to buying
items for their flight from OTG stores as they walk past them on the concourse.
Unique and iconic brands are
stepping out of their conventional
brand image, as shown in studio|
H2G’s conceptual images.