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How to Make Upselling an Expectation Through Airport Retail Training

In airport retail and services locations, it is imperative to not only serve your passengers well, but also to take full advantage of the super busy times to maximize sales and profits.


Those who work in or serve the airport environment are very familiar with the cyclical nature of passenger flow.  Depending on enplanement schedules, retailers, services, TSA, etc. can be super busy or waiting for passengers to come their way. 

Upselling is one of the most effective means to improve the bottom line; reaping rewards for the business, its employees and the airport. 

Through our extensive experience in airport retail training and consulting with frontline employees, supervisors, and managers of airport concessions programs, we have identified these top 3 reasons why employees don’t upsell:

  1. No time- the line is too long and don’t want to take the time to upsell
  2. Too much work- why should I do it?
  3. Upselling is not an expectation- very little time or attention is paid to upselling

In this blog, we explore the 3rd reason: the behavior not being an expectation, and the steps you can take to make it an expectation among your staff.

In order to make upselling or any other behavior an expectation, follow these steps in conjunction with airport retail training:

  1. Communicate the expectation.  Often people do not perform specific behaviors because they have not been made aware of the expectation.  As a leader, it is your responsibility to clearly state expectations, and communicate them frequently.
  2. Show & Tell.  The next step is to be sure that your team knows how to achieve the expected behavior.  Give examples, share best practices, and model the behavior for them so they can see how it is done.
  3. Accountability.  Hold people accountable to the behavior.  What gets rewarded gets repeated. Be sure to recognize when people are performing the expected behavior, and coach them when they are not performing to expectations. 
  4. Make it Fun! When people have a stake in the game, they are more motivated and often willing to perform the behavior.  To improve upselling percentage, focus on a specific item and track results for employees to see.  Share and communicate their good work though recognition,  prize or monetary rewards with those who reach  predetermined goals.

You will find, when you follow the steps above, that upselling will first be fun and then develop into a contest and finally a habit and expectation.  Soon, your employees, business, terminal, and/or airport will reap the rewards.  Congratulations!

sample airport customer experience program