In a Moodie Davitt special series to close out 2020, Heidi Van Roon and the SPARK team were featured as some of the heroes and heroines who stood up as a global pandemic raged and ensured that airport, travel retail store and restaurant environments were safe and hygienic, that shelves were stocked and that customers – though few in number – could still enjoy a reassuring shopping, dining or general airport experience.
Stars of 2020: Heidi Van Roon’s retail heroines Spark hope amid the gloom of COVID-19
By Mark Lane: [email protected]
Source: ©The Moodie Davitt Report29 December 2020
NORTH AMERICA. In our special series to close out 2020, we focus on the heroes and heroines who stood up as a global pandemic raged and ensured that airport, travel retail store and restaurant environments were safe and hygienic, that shelves were stocked and that customers – though few in number – could still enjoy a reassuring shopping, dining or general airport experience.
With the assistance and input of our industry partners, we present the stories of some of those individuals and teams who ensured that a pulse still beat through travel retail this year. As reported in The Moodie Davitt eZine, we salute these front line workers as our People of the Year, with our online coverage building on the pictorial in our year-end edition.
Here, we show how the brand ambassadors trained for airport retail by the Spark Group of Companies have kept smiling behind the mask, in this most challenging of years for the luxury retail brands they represent.
In a year spent searching for chinks of light in a very bleak picture for travel retail, the alacrity of one particular North American dynamo has often stood out.
Spark Group of Companies Founder & President Heidi Van Roon, an expert in HR and sales in luxury airport retail, has always been quick to speak positively on behalf of the industry and look for signs of hope as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged, not least within social media communities such as LinkedIn.
Van Roon and her front line teams of retail brand ambassadors have quickly adapted their ways of working to the in-airport safety requirements brought forward by the pandemic. They have been keeping the retail sales of the brands they represent – such as Sisley, Coty, Amorepacific and Hermès at Vancouver International Airport, in partnership with retailer Dufry – moving, when travel conditions have permitted.
While ecommerce and the digital path to travel retail sales has often dominated industry conversation in 2020, Van Roon has continued to spread a strong message about the vital role of sales staff in airport stores, even though their activities have at times been heavily curtailed in the face of COVID-19.
This peaked in her Shaken not Stirred Knowledge Hub session, delivered at the Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Expo, where her company was a Silver Partner.
During a highly engaging talk, she said: “Of all the positions the most critical role will be the sales function. This is the role which differentiates physical retail from online retail. This role does what digital cannot do. It brings the brand to life and it creates that bespoke moment and genuine connection.”
Vancouver-based Van Roon says that even with the conditions brought forward by the pandemic, it is time to elevate the sales profession on the shop floor, “because every SKU, every brand, every retailer and every traveller in travel retail depends on the sales role”.
Van Roon adds: “We are in a season to change what we can no longer accept. The market has shifted and there really is no other choice than to boldly adapt. It is time for courage, for honesty, for collaboration and for accountability.”
Such sentiments will bring hope to the tens of thousands of travel retail sales staff across the world who have lost their jobs this year in the fall out from COVID-19 due to no fault of their own, for when the rebound comes.
Fragrance Beauty Advisor – English / Mandarin PT
We always enjoy recruiting through our network. Perhaps you or someone you know is interested in a temporary fragrance Beauty Advisor position at WDF YVR from April 3rd to June 7th. This opportunity is suited for someone with beauty/fragrance
2022 Summit of the Americas
Join SPARK at the 2022 Summit of the Americas. The Summit of the Americas is the International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores annual show and will return as an in-person event! The International Association of Airport Duty
Ready for a Sales & Marketing challenge in US airports?
New Opportunities in Travel Retail! Are you ready for a Sales & Marketing challenge in US airports? SPARK is pleased to promote these exciting positions in Travel Retail at the following locations: Sales Promoter - Newark Liberty Airport, NJ
A powerful and poignant contribution to Travel Retail United humanitarian fund for Ukraine
For a cause that is so near and dear to SPARK, we wanted to share coverage by The Moodie Davitt report on our recent donation to the Travel Retail United*, the humanitarian fundraising project
CleanCo Campaign Success
Great coverage by Mark Lane of the Moodie Davitt Report about our participation in a campaign for emerging UK no/lo spirit brand CleanCo in United Airlines Club lounges across four US airports. What an
Fragrance Beauty Advisor – English / Mandarin PT
We always enjoy recruiting through our network. Perhaps you or someone you know is interested in a temporary fragrance Beauty Advisor position at WDF YVR from April 3rd to June 7th. This opportunity is
2022 Summit of the Americas
Join SPARK at the 2022 Summit of the Americas. The Summit of the Americas is the International Association of Airport and Duty Free Stores annual show and will return as an in-person event! The
Ready for a Sales & Marketing challenge in US airports?
New Opportunities in Travel Retail! Are you ready for a Sales & Marketing challenge in US airports? SPARK is pleased to promote these exciting positions in Travel Retail at the following locations: Sales Promoter
Join SPARK at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo October 11-15
The Virtual Travel Retail Expo is a pioneering virtual trade show and symposium designed to both mirror and enhance a real conference and exhibition. Entering its second year, the expo has already established itself
Virtual Summit of the Americas Summary
Virtual Summit of the Americas Summary For a comprehensive recap of the Virtual Summit of the Americas, grab a coffee and a comfy chair and get ready to scroll in every direction. Here are some of our favourite sessions that
SPARK at the Virtual Summit of Americas
SPARK at the Virtual SUMMIT OF AMERICAS While our current team of staff is the smallest it has been in nine years, we are hugely encouraged by the industry recognition in the past year. Among
If ever there was a time to collaborate and align our strengths, it is now.
“If ever there was a time to collaborate and align our strengths, it is now” – SPARK President Heidi Van Roon sounds rallying call ahead of Summit of the Americas by Martin Moodie [email protected]
Turning a Page in the History Books
“Turning a page in the history books” – Heidi Van Roon on elevating the sales profession to a new level By Colleen Morgan [email protected] Source: ©The Moodie Davitt Report 30 March 2021 “The time
Sparking a New Airport Retail Staffing Solution for Maximising Sales
Heidi Van Roon on sparking a new airport retail staffing solution for maximizing sales By Mark Lane: [email protected] Source: ©The Moodie Davitt Report 18 March 2021 Spark Group of Companies has unveiled a bold
SPARK shortlisted for the 2021 DFNI Americas Awards Team of the Year
We are delighted to announce that SPARK has been shortlisted for the 2021 DFNI Americas Awards Team of the Year category. Jessie, Sabrina, Agnes, Candy, Maggie, Shannon, Holly, Fanni, Jenny and Anne have all been selected
The New Brand Partner Program
Brand Partner Program We are pleased to introduce the Brand Partner Program which is quickly gaining attention on social media and in the Travel Retail publications serving North America. This program essentially morphs the typical Brand
Virtual Summit of the Americas
How can the Travel Retail Industry begin to recover from the most complex crisis in history? These and many other questions will be covered at the upcoming Virtual Summit of the Americas from April 5-9, 2021.
Stars of 2020
Coverage from the Moodie Davitt Report: Stars of 2020: Heidi Van Roon’s retail heroines Spark hope amid the gloom of COVID-19: Continuing our Stars of 2020 series, we see how the brand ambassadors trained for airport retail by the SPARK Group of Companies and their leader have kept smiling behind the mask, in this most challenging of years.
Brands and Retail Theatre: A Bigger or Lesser Choice?
Watch the webinar hosted by Peter Marshall, TRUnblocked and our own Heidi Van Roon discuss airport and travel retail.
Adapting The Front Line Team for the Retail Revolution
The roles of all customer-facing staff have become more important than ever. Market shifts that once spanned a decade have happened in six short months. The retail industry, and particularly luxury travel retail is undergoing an unprecedented revolution and we are at the very beginning of it. It is a time for retailers and brands to adapt to every customer-facing function. With retailers restructuring, the onus will be on brands to ensure a people-positive experience for their customers.
Future Airports: From Here to Where?
Portland Design, together with the influential travel retail blog trunblocked.com are launching a webinar series – Future Airports: From Here to Where? – to be staged on the 16th September 2020. This event will bring together a remarkable
Purple Cow: Remarkable Brand Power
This month, our very own Heidi Van Roon, Founder & President, the SPARK Group of Companies, is featured on Trunblocked, talking Brand Empowerment.
Airport Update – August 2020
Airport Update – August 2020 Capital investments and airport infrastructure improvements provide vital context for the development of the Travel Retail industry. Airports have come to depend on non-aeronautical revenues and in many cases,
August 2020 Travel Retail Market Update
It is a pleasure to bring you a collection of Canada and USA Travel Retail insights. As our precious industry deals with this unprecedented crisis, we hope the collection informs some of the recovery
June 2020 Travel Retail Market Update
Among the silver linings throughout this industry crisis is the proliferation of excellent publications, it is encouraging to see information sharing from the experts. While aviation has dropped to historically low levels, the industry pulse among passionate leaders continues strong and healthy.
Embracing The Challenge Against The Odds
Here we are, amid an industry crisis that is encountering unprecedented headwinds. In a few short months, the industry has experienced a setback that could not have been anticipated in degree and in kind. Metaphorically speaking, the headwinds are so strong, we need to pedal downhill just to stay on the bike and in the game. Physically, emotionally, socially, and professionally seemingly unsurmountable challenges loom large. Exhaustion, hunger, pain and delays will take their toll.
The Road to Recovery – Virtual Travel Retail Expo
Throughout the live 5-day Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2020, the Symposium Hall and Workshop Rooms will host industry dialogue around the theme ‘Road to Recovery’, exploring how the travel retail channel will (or should) look in the future. The powerful line-up of speakers includes our very own Heidi Van Roon.
Airport Update – June 2020
Airport Update - June 2020 For an interactive Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Map – bookmark this amazing IATA link to see the country by country travel restrictions: In our March Market Update, we included a
How can we accelerate Travel Retail’s recovery?
The rebound of the travel retail industry will need to quickly embrace the increased customer expectation of a seamless, omnichannel experience where the customer determines how they interact with the brand.
SPARK Careers in Travel Retail Virtual Information Session
Travel Retail offers diverse and dynamic career paths in the duty-free areas of airport terminals, cruise ships and international border shops where global retailers and global brands depend on aspiring professionals. SPARK is committed to
Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo
Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo We are happy to announce our participation at the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo. The Expo – which takes the form of a ‘live’ 5-day event followed
Airport Update – May 2020
Airport Update - May 2020 With substantial support from the government, most Canadians whose employment is affected by COVID-19 are supported through various initiatives for a lay-off period of up to 16 weeks. We are
Post COVID-19: The Trinity Initiative
A great example of bright minds and voices converging preparing for the post-COVID-19 recovery is the Trinity Initiative. This collaboration is an invitation for airports, retailers and brands to join in a conversation about the new commercial model.
Post COVID-19: The Rebound
On the demand side, the rebound will depend on the economy and customer confidence. Like a drastic plot change, the commercial model is shifting overnight. We are on that first page of a new chapter. What an amazing opportunity that history would award this writing to the members of the industry today.
Post COVID-19: Staff Fundamentals
Investments supporting the people's assets of an organization are the surest guarantee of continued innovation, creativity and newfound success.
Post COVID-19 Consumer Behaviour
To address the topic of post-pandemic consumer behaviour it is imperative to understand the last connecting point so that the line from A to B has purpose and context regardless of industry
May 2020 Travel Retail Market Update
May 2020 Travel Retail Market Update Amid the current COVID-19 crisis we are all the more committed to standing with our peers and advocating for our workplaces by sharing another collection of Market insights. With
Travel Retail Voices – Heidi Van Roon
In Crisis - Travel Retail Voices is a podcast series by The Moodie Davitt Report, one of the UK’s most successful multi-media business-to-business publishers and an indispensable source of reliable and real-time business intelligence on
COVID-19 Summary of Support from the Canadian Government
In light of the current pandemic, I thought to sketch a basic overview of the Government of Canada initiatives for Employees and Employers that are in non-unionized settings. I have also calculated a basic comparison
March 2020 Travel Retail Market Update
March 2020 Travel Retail Market Update We stand with you as our industry is brought to its knees. Who could have anticipated the extent of our global crisis and the extenuating impact on travel retail?
A Word from Our Founder and President
There’s one thing you need to know about me: I love sales and I love people. What motivates me—what motivates everybody at SPARK —is discovering how an exceptional sales organization can create win-win-win outcomes for staff, retailers, brands and customers.