Liqueurs report: Travel Retail

13 August, 2015

Back in Europe the peak summer travel period provides liqueur brands with an ideal promotional platform to raise their profile with key traveller groups. 

For instance, Diageo Global Travel and Middle East (GTME) teamed up with London Heathrow airport and World Duty Free Group (WDFG) in July to promote Pimm’s, which sells around 54,000 bottles at the airport each year (more than a quarter of these are sold to passengers travelling to the US). 

To reinforce Pimm’s British credentials Diageo and Heathrow set up a croquet game in the middle of Terminal 2, which was furnished with eccentric obstacles such as rose bushes and pink flamingos. Using laser-guided mallets and musical hoops, passengers were able to play a quick 15-minute game and sample a Pimm’s Cup afterwards. 

For the length of the promotion WDFG placed Pimm’s on a special price of £9.99 per bottle.  

Pernod Ricard-owned Malibu has also been targeting British young 18 to 30-year-old holidaymakers this summer at both London Gatwick and Manchester airports. With some 2m travellers passing through Gatwick last month, Malibu took over World Duty Free Group’s sampling bars in both the airport’s terminals, decking them out with tropical props such as palm leaves, pineapples and flamingo motifs. 

Pernod Ricard Travel Retail Europe brand manager Libby Wilding explains that the promotional activity was timed to peak with International Piña Colada Day on July 10th. Thus, the Piña Colada cocktail was the lead serve throughout the promotion, but travellers were also offered the less sweet Malibu Black Light, a European travel retail exclusive, as an alternative choice. 

“A key objective for Malibu is to drive awareness of this exclusive product and educate passengers about the versatility of the brand,” says Wilding. 

Another element of the activation was an in-store competition for travellers to win an all-paid trip to the Ibiza Rocks music festival in September. Potential customers were also tempted by an on-pack ice-tray gift with purchase as well as temporary gold-coloured tattoos, free fake palm trees and Malibu logo transfers.  

While Pimm’s and Malibu are clearly keen to drive incremental volume sales during the peak summer months other liqueur brand owners see travel retail as an ideal environment to persuade travellers to trade up to higher-priced purchases. For instance, Grand Marnier has just released its cuvée Louis Alexandre into selected travel retail outlets. 

With its silver seal and blue label, this special blend of Grand Marnier was inspired by founder Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle and uses older cognacs than those used in the regular Cordon Rouge. 

“Travel retail shoppers are the perfect target when it comes to fine products [such as this],” says Anne-Claire Delamarre, international director luxury wines & spirits Europe, the Americas, Middle East, Africa & global travel retail. 

“Our cuvées are a new proposition for travel retail at the intersection of the liqueur and cognac categories,” she adds. “Grand Marnier is one of the few liqueurs with this opportunity since it is a cognac-based liqueur.  

“We have introduced the cuvée in WDFG and Dufry America, and so far results have been better than anticipated.  There is a strong opportunity for Grand Marnier to upgrade its core consumer toward a more sophisticated aged proposition.” 

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