The Opportunities and Challenges of Travel Retail

Travel Retail Job Description

Travel Retail, also known as Duty Free Retail, is the sale of goods to international travelers. This can include shops at airports, on airplanes or cruise ships.

In this industry, space is limited so it’s important to balance merchandising and providing a positive customer experience. To stay relevant with the millennial travel shopper, retailers must offer tailored offers and loyalty programs.


Travel retail (or duty free) is a category of retailers that sell goods to international travelers. Its sales are exempt from taxes because the goods are taken out of the country of purchase before the traveler departs for home. Travel retail is a growing channel for global brands and retailers.

Travel merchandising jobs involve setting up store displays in more than one location, using planograms to select and configure display fixtures. The responsibilities may also include adjusting, cleaning, and repairing shelving. Traveling merchandising professionals often work for a specific brand or product, such as cosmetics, perfume, and accessories.

Travel retail jobs can be rewarding for those who have a passion for people and a desire to travel. However, the industry has its challenges: customers have limited time to shop, baggage allowances are restrictive, and product restrictions can make it difficult to roll out new NPD. SPARK is committed to raising awareness and educating job seekers on the opportunities available in this dynamic sector.

Inventory Management

The travel retail industry, also known as duty free shops, sells products to international travelers. The goods are exempt from taxes and duties because the customer has left the country in which he or she lives. These stores are located at airports, on passenger flights and cruise ships, as well as in downtown locations.

Stocking a retail store with the right mix of products is a challenging task for travel retailers. With limited space on a plane or ferry, and with different shopping preferences between destinations, it is important to understand customers’ needs and make smart decisions about inventory.

Many traveling inventory associate positions do not require advanced educational qualifications, but you must have reliable transportation and visual design skills. You will work with a team to load and unload merchandise and set up displays. You may be required to climb ladders or bend over to reach inventory in high places. You will also manage demand and supply planning for launches/POSM for the NARS makeup brand.

Customer Service

Customer service in travel retail is a key component of the job and requires excellent communication skills. A customer service travel agent focuses on meeting and providing information to customers regarding travel products and services including airline tickets, hotel accommodations, car rentals, cruises, attractions, and other related activities. This role also provides information about destinations and visa requirements.

Customer Service Travel Agents are required to follow cash handling procedures to ensure accuracy involving foreign currency exchange and record transactions into the electronic point of sale system. They are responsible for greeting and assisting customers whilst contributing to maximising sales.

Travel Retail is a dynamic and diverse sector that can provide many opportunities for career advancement, especially in the duty-free areas of airport terminals, cruise ships or international border shops. SPARK is dedicated to raising awareness about the industry and its exciting career options. For more information about how to get into travel retail and for tips on landing your dream job, click here to join our virtual information session.

Digital Marketing

The travel retail industry is in the midst of an exciting period of growth. While sales have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdowns in various world regions, consumer demand remains strong.

As consumers gear up for long-awaited travel adventures, retailers in airports, ferry terminals and train stations must offer a seamless shopping experience that entices passengers to shop and engage before, during and after their trip. Retailers can do this by leveraging the power of digital to provide a truly unique, personalized shopping experience.

Digital marketing is an essential skill for every travel professional to have, whether you work in merchandising, marketing, insights, or e-commerce. Sign up for a free Workello account to make finding better, more affordable marketers a breeze. Start using our automated hiring funnel in less than 3 minutes. Get the talent you need to grow your business. It’s simple, fast and safe. We make hiring easier so you can focus on what matters most – growing your business.

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