Personal shoppers at Frankfurt Airport assist Chinese passengers with their shopping therapy

By Raymond Kollau,

With Chinese outbound tourism growing more than 20 percent annually and overseas spending by Chinese tourists in 2011 totalling USD55 billion, airlines, airports and tourism destinations around the world are rolling out the red carpet to make Chinese travellers feel more at home, a trend dubbed ‘RED CARPET’ by

Personal shoppers
Following earlier initiatives by European airports such as Amsterdam Schiphol, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Helsinki Vantaa tailored at Chinese passengers, Frankfurt Airport has recently launched a free personal shopping service for travellers from China.

The personal shopper staff speak fluent Mandarin and are familiar with the culture and preferences of Chinese passengers. The assistants, who wear bright orange jackets, provide Chinese travellers with information about orientation and facilities at Frankfurt Airport, assist them in making purchasing decisions (such as translating inquiries about products)  and help in obtaining refunds on value-added tax (VAT). On request, the airport’s personal shoppers also escort Chinese passengers through the security check and onward to their departure gate. Video of the service (in German) here.

Frankfurt Airport initially trialed the shopping service with one personal shopper in June, and is now making it a permanent feature at the airport, with eight staff.

According to an airport spokesman “the advisers very quickly won the confidence of Chinese passengers and were able to help them communicate. Their assistance was gratefully accepted, and after arriving back home many passengers praised the personal service in Frankfurt to their acquaintances and business associates. As a result, many visitors arriving from that country now specifically ask for a Chinese personal shopper.”

No advance registration is required to use the service and passengers who would like a personal shopper just need to call a telephone number for assistance. The shopping assistants also pro-actively approach passengers from China to see whether they can be of assistance.

Increase retail spend
Frankfurt Airport says the personal shopper service is aimed at improving the passenger experience, as well as increasing the amount Chinese passengers spend. The airport is also looking at the possibility of introducing personal shoppers for Russian passengers.

About a million passengers from China now pass through Frankfurt Airport each year, making them an increasingly important market. The airport earlier this year also launched a Chinese version of its mobile app.


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