March 2 2018  |  Airlines & Airports

The Design Solution shares the recipe for design success with commercial drivers at Sangster International

By Jas Ryat

The Design Solution has partnered with MBJ Airport Ltd. to bring out the full duty free potential in the limited space

The Design Solution, retail design specialists, has partnered with MBJ Airport Ltd. to create a newly renovated design for the terminal at Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay, Jamaica.

The design adopts an effective walkthrough strategy that demonstrates just how effectively design can support relatively small airports investing to drive non-aeronautical revenue streams. The design allows for MBJ to achieve a major upsurge in the scale of passenger exposure to the retail offer, giving 100% of passenger’s sight of the retail offer. The new development of space (6,600 sq. m) is anticipated to be undertaken in 2018-19.

This deisgn shows the current layout of the Sangster International AirportThe new design layout allows for retail stores to capture traveler footfall with a better use of limited space

Robbie Gill, founder and managing director of The Design Solution, explains the revenue-driving approach and the key challenges behind the designs: “As is common with the layout at many airports, Sangster International’s two-level layout presented a serious challenge to achieving the optimal exposure of passengers to the retail offer.”

After check-in on the ground floor, entry to the upper floor brings passengers to the middle of the duty free shop and, with gates at each end of the building, those travelers who turn towards the northern gates have no exposure at all to the core retail space located towards the southern end of the terminal. This loses around 40-45% of footfall so our design needed to address the huge opportunity especially as, currently, the northern retail space is principally focused on souvenirs and the category opportunity is much broader.

The combination of the walkthrough route and the clear sightlines created in the openness of the space ensures not only that 100% of passengers pass through the main duty free store but they can also see the broader retail offer in both the northern and southern areas of the terminal.

By increasing the exposure of passengers to the core duty free store MBJ Airports Ltd can achieve a strong return in investment in its existing space. The airport also has the future Phase 2 option to further expand the retail space and our designs can then integrate a further development of the passenger flow that will deliver the optimum goal of almost every passenger passing every shop.

This new design ensures ease of a major expansion or small phase developments in the future.

There is a major emphasis on Jamaica’s natural beauty and its appeal to tourist included in the design. The local elements, like globally renowned Jamaican coffee and spice, are a significant focal point in the design elements.

The key to successful design is the understanding of space with highly effective planning of how the space works, especially regarding passenger flow.

Lastly, the vital complement to that strategic planning is that The Design Solution believes that passengers should have a unique experience of an airport that is firmly embedded in the country or city that they serve. Passengers at Sangster International will not only discover a dramatically enhanced retail offer but they will enjoy it in an engaging environment that is unmistakably Jamaican in spirit.

Rafael Echevarne, CEO of MBJ Airports Ltd, comments: “Like most airports we are constantly seeking the optimal commercial return on our investment in our terminals, particularly through driving retail footfall and penetration. We are committed to creating an amazing experience for our passengers and are delighted that The Design Solution has created an adaptable new layout that not only drives our commercial imperatives but also delivers a unique and authentic expression of our island.”

Robbie Gill adds: “Right now we are very active at a number of airports across the Americas and we are seeing a surge of airport investment in retail spaces focused on conveying a true sense of location while delivering optimal commercial returns, stretching from Toronto and New York (JFK) to Rio, Cancun and Bogota among others.

Developments such as Rio and Cancun demonstrate that the Americas can match the best in the world for retail adventures. As these exciting new developments are launched across this region the expectations of the passenger will be raised and other airports in the Americas will face increased pressure to raise their game.”

Please reach The Design Solution media enquiries: tds@kavanaghcommunications.com

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