Flemingo Duty Free was awarded the new contract for ‘Core Category’ Duty Free at the Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka in March and the new concession is for a period of five [ 5] years effective 15th of March, 2017. With the signing of the new contract, Flemingo has moved to new locations at both the arrival and departure lounges, with the departure space having increased to 5060 Sq. Ft which is a 65% increase over the previous space . The arrival terminal space however remains the same.
“Plans are afoot to remodel the arrival lounge, hence the arrival shop refurbishment will coincide with the remodeling of the arrival lounge at the BIA, where in we expect to have a larger space which will enable us to deliver a better shopping experience for our customers. Our new facility in the departure lounge opened last month and the initial response has been very encouraging and positive”, said Mr. Thimmayya.
The primary objective in the design of the departure duty free store was to create a unique passenger experience and ease of navigation. “We have considered the local sensibilities and tried to add a sense of visual familiarity and relevance with the target customer’s culture by adding lotus flower motifs across the store. The ceiling was looked at as a visual spectacle to offset the generic and branded floor fixtures. The objective was to create a visual ‘wow’ effect and a sense of energy coming from within the store, which is enhanced by a relatively bright store environment”. The layout of the store has been designed to give passengers clear vistas to all categories at any one time. “By adapting a well-defined category strategy and by space planning, we have made it easy for passengers to find, understand and navigate the store, all of which was kept in mind at the time of designing and also while formulating our category strategy”, said Thimmayya.
Some of the highlights of the store are the flow and distinct category zones, a design that ensures passengers navigate the entire shop and travel through categories and expanded product category ranges especially in perfume, cosmetics and confectionery. Mr. Thimmayya said that discussions are already underway to bring additional international brands especially in the perfume and cosmetics category. Some of these brands are not available in the country and Flemingo plans to launch them by year end for the first time in Sri Lanka.
Flemingo currently employs more than 300 people for its Sri Lankan operations.
The new contract has come at a time when Tourism and Travel is booming in Sri Lanka. The development programme of the country under the current regime is resulting in a massive infrastructure growth with close to 8000 city apartments being planned. One other aspect is the number of international hotels that have recently opened and further major companies are looking to open up in the next two years.
Flemingo is committed to deliver value and benefits to the customers as well as make BIA a favorable shopping destination and is continuously working on unique ways to do the same. One such initiative is Flemingo Duty Free’s Loyalty Programme. “One of our key marketing objectives is to retain and build loyalty with our existing customers. To this effect, Flemingo launched its loyalty program “Flemingo Privilege” with the objective of adding value to travel and giving an exciting shopping experience for frequent travelers”.
Flemingo Privilege which was launched in June 2015 for the first time in Sri Lankan travel retail history has now over 25000 loyalty members. As a member, customers can accrue points on every purchase and redeem these points as well. The points awarded are different for different tiers, thus ensuring that the more loyal the customer is the more he / she is rewarded. Flemingo has dedicated staff on the shop floor to assist privilege members and make their shopping hassle free. “We also have a customer hotline number for loyalty members to call and a dedicated backend customer service team to handle all the queries and feedback”.
Flemingo has also tied up with Sri Lankan Airlines’ Flysmiles partnership, wherein Flemingo offers special deals and also an opportunity to earn miles for their transactions. Flemingo has partnered with UnionPay to target the fastest growing customer segment, namely the Peoples Republic of China. In addition, Flemingo is also discussing with several card partners for promotions across the year in a bid to make it more interesting for the discerning customer. In the past, Flemingo has partnered with MasterCard as well VISA offering special privileges to their customers.
In a bid to make the shopping experience more exciting Flemingo runs promotions with partner brands and in the past, have given away Gold, Apple products, Cash prizes, etc. Mr Malith Disala, who participated in the recently concluded Pernod Ricard promotion is the winner of a $1000 cash prize and Mr M.M.K.Ranawana who participated in the Diageo promotion emerged as the winner of the mega prize - 100 gms gold coin.
Flemingo Foundation, the active CSR arm of Flemingo is proud to support The Music Project for a second year as part of their group CSR initiative. “We have been privileged to be able to support the musical development of the children of the Lakdasa De Mel College of Kurunegala. The fund will pay for the weekly classes of specialist music teachers who teach the children of the orchestra, holiday programmes, festival programmes, the residential UNITE programme, assist the school with music education for the public exams and support concert performances. The children have performed in several locations such as the Galle Literary Children’s Festival, venues in Colombo and the BIA. Additionally, the children of the Lakdasa De Mel College won the Ministry of Education Western Music competition in the recorder category and were given an all island first in the A1 category.
The Music Project is inspired by El Sistema of Venezuela, the celebrated music education programme which aims to change the life trajectory of children through music. The programme fosters a sense of musical achievement on an individual and personal level and ensures that children whose lives have been blighted by poverty or conflict are able to fulfill individual and personal goals through opportunity the programme provides. The Music Project like many other similarly inspired programmes throughout the world emulates the ethos and principles of the El Sistema model. The project in Sri Lanka too focuses on the sense of community, developed through being part of a wider orchestra such as connecting with their peers in the north, provides children with the discipline of membership of the orchestra and the mutual respect shown for working together as a cohesive whole. Additionally the programme aims to harnesses creativity and a sense of performance through constant exposure to performance artists and performance opportunities. The Music Project of Sri Lanka also works on using music as the link language and promotes social cohesion between the communities of the north and south. The children of both communities meet regularly to work on a shared repertoire within a shared space, thereby providing chances to network and interact through their journey of music.
The staff of the Flemingo Group have been privileged to associate with the children and have participated in workshops leading to a performance supported by parents and staff of the school. “We hope that through the support of their musical education the children would gain exposure and opportunity and further their aspirations”.
Mr. Thimmayya reiterated the fact that he and his team are committed to bring travelers a unique and value-added duty free experience through a wide variety of products and brands, exciting offers and benefits and customer service.