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4k non-passengers go Christmas Shopping at Belfast International Airport

21 Dec 2018
Marc Ive

Shoppers and charities win big with Belfast International’s Christmas Shopping event, as the airport partners with Rezcomm to deliver an exclusive festive experience.

The Northern Irish airport, which serves almost six million passengers a year, allowed friends and family of the airport staff access to the airside terminal so they could take advantage of local artisan retailers and duty free outlets. As well as providing a boost to retailers and bargain hunters in the run up to Christmas, every penny of the entrance fee of £2 per person has been donated to homeless charity Depaul, and Northern Ireland-based charity Action Cancer.

The airport first ran the event, which is spread over four nights in November and December, at Christmas 2014. The charitable element though, is new for this year. Lessons were learned from the first event, where tickets were free and issued by the airport staff, and then entered manually into a register so that border authorities could cross check tickets on arrival. This proved to be extremely time consuming and as the event was forecast to be even more popular in 2018, Belfast International needed a solution that could automate this process and handle ticketing in a way that was intuitive for the guests and easy to for the airport to manage. Rezcomm already provide a comprehensive e-commerce solution for Belfast Int’s pre-book parking operation, as well as lounge access. Due to the versatility of Rezcomm Shop, the system was easily able be adapted to make provision for the sales of tickets to the shopping event. In the interests of supporting the two charities, Rezcomm waived any fee for the work required to develop the capability.

With a centralised database of guests who had booked to attend, the airport was able to far better manage the additional people who were to be passing through security over a short period of time. The event was spaced over four nights, and was well attended with over 700 people buying tickets for the first night. Overall around 4000 guests were welcomed into the terminal to make the most of the discounts available at the airport. They were greeted by carol singers, and attractive discounts at both the tax free and fashion shops as well as Food and Beverage outlets.

Airport Commercial Services Manager, Deirdre Graffin, said the first evening had been an outstanding success for both shoppers and retailers. Deirdre added:

“Our first evening exceeded expectations, and that was reflected in the amount of business that was generated. “There was a wonderful, vibrant atmosphere, made all the better by the impressive range of goods that are tax free and discounted. Shopping bags were bulging when the crowd made their way back to the car park, hopefully to spread the word that when it comes to Christmas, nobody does it better than Belfast International Airport.”

While the guests certainly enjoyed themselves and the airport’s concessionaires welcomed the additional Christmas footfall, the big winners were the people that Depaul UK and Action Cancer support all year round. Depaul provides support and emergency accommodation to young homeless people around the UK, and Action Cancer is Northern Ireland’s leading cancer charity, saving lives and supporting people across the country.

Rezcomm’s CEO Marc Ive said: “We are thrilled to be supporting Belfast International’s Christmas shopping nights. Our close relationship with the airport and our familiarity with their operations allowed us to quickly implement a system like this at short notice in order to meet with their expectations regarding the popularity of the event. The fact it was for charity was icing on the cake, and Rezcomm is pleased to be supporting valuable causes such as those advanced by Depaul and Action Cancer.”

Rezcomm work with many airports in the UK and Europe, providing a ‘one-stop-shop’ solution to pre-book parking, customer engagement, and an online travel agency. For more information about Rezcomm’s products and services, and to see how Rezcomm can help your airport achieve similar successes to Belfast International’s, get in touch today.