According to the airport, the surprise move – Heathrow has been named the ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ in the Skytrax World Airport Awards for six years running – is designed to help it realise its corporate vision to deliver the best airport service experience in the world.
Indeed, to many in the industry Heathrow is often referred to as a shopping mall with runways.
However, Heathrow insists that it wants to further cement this legacy with an extensive review of its retail service offering to transform the airport retail experience and provoke discussion with brand partners to raise standards in airport retail.
Service experts, Quintessentially, will be given access to Heathrow’s retail operation over the next three months in order to survey the airport’s current retail offering and consult with passengers, commercial partners, and staff.
It will review Heathrow’s full retail proposition including shops, restaurants and services such as Personal Shopping, Shop & Collect, and Reserve & Collect.
Following its review, Quintessentially will provide Heathrow with a full, independent analysis complete with recommendations based on their expertise in service across the globe.
The report will be designed to complement Heathrow’s own expertise in travel retail, helping the airport set a new benchmark for service standards and offer passengers the best airport service in the world.
Jonathan Coen, retail director at Heathrow, explained: “Over the past 30 years, Heathrow has been at the forefront of travel retail on a global scale.
"We are delighted that we have been consistently recognised by our customers, but we cannot be complacent. This initiative is about building on our strengths, listening to our passengers and surrounding ourselves with experts in service.”
Fiona Noble, managing director at Quintessentially, added: “Service is such an intangible concept, but so powerful when you get it right, inspiring loyalty, passion and advocacy.
"We are proud to be working with Heathrow on this innovative brief and look forward to working together to build some recommendations that will enable them to continue their leadership in delivering surprising and innovative service propositions that set the standard both in the industry and beyond.”