Strategies and models for in-terminal airport concessions continue to evolve. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, airports had to demonstrate resiliency and use innovative thinking to adjust existing agreements and provide operational flexibility to concessionaires in a new environment. Additionally, escalating capital, labor, and operating costs have strained the existing business model of in-terminal concessions, while e-commerce, digitalization, and changing demand patterns have challenged traditional ways of understanding airport in-terminal concessions. Airports are looking for opportunities and approaches to become more agile and ensure their concessions programs provide a best-in-class experience for passengers while optimizing revenue to help meet increasing airport operating costs and ongoing debt and enhance airport financial self-sufficiency. There are opportunities for airports to reevaluate their concession program strategies and models while creatively reinventing their programs to improve the travel experience and maximize non-aeronautical revenue. Building a concessions program requires airports to have the data and business analytical tools necessary to determine the best concessions model and strategy for their airports. The goals of a concessions program include optimizing concessions space, ensuring a balanced mix, partnering with the most aligned businesses and vendors, and identifying appropriate contracting and management practices to balance financial risk. Airports require data and business analytical tools to determine the best concessions model and strategy. They also benefit from a new, up-to-date, evidence-based, data-driven resource for developing and implementing airport concession programs.
The objective of this research is to develop a guide to help airport concession managers and other stakeholders (1) understand the financial and operational challenges affecting the concessions business model and agreement terms and (2) identify and execute more robust concessions programs.