The DAA is planning to leverage data from tens of thousands of passengers in an effort to significantly boost the €400m-plus annual retail and ancillary sales generated at Dublin and Cork airports.

The semi-state agency is aiming to use existing data from 60,000 shoppers who have used its Loop retail space in both airports.

It also wants to exploit a data warehouse that contains details of about 50,000 customers who have booked car parking and other airport services online at Dublin Airport.

The DAA, headed since last year by CEO Dalton Philips, is also looking at ways to capitalise on the 700,000-plus unique visitors who sign onto Dublin Airport’s free wifi every month.

A smaller number sign in at Cork each month.

The airport operator oversaw total retail sales of €303m generated last year at Dublin and Cork airports, including retail and food and beverage sales by concessionaires.

It also made €127.6m from other commercial activities, including its car parks.

Its total group revenue was €793m in 2016, while it generated an operating profit of €139m.

The DAA’s retail operations are controlled by its ARI (Aer Rianta International) unit, which also oversees retail operations at a number of airports around the world.

Prior to joining the DAA, Mr Philips was CEO of UK grocery retailer Morrisons, a role he left in 2015.

He was previously the CEO of Brown Thomas, owned by the Weston family, and was also chief operating officer at Canada’s Loblaw retail giant, which is also controlled by the Westons.

Wifi users at Dublin and Cork airports do not currently have to sign on or provide any other details in order to use the service.

Dublin Airport, which last year handled almost 30 million passengers, said it was “exploring ways to leverage the public wifi customer database and also provide real-time and location-specific offers to customers”. Such offers could include food and beverage or other retail promotions, it noted.

It added: “It is also DAA’s intention to ask the passengers that avail of Dublin and Cork Airport free wifi to opt in to receive campaigns on airport products and services.”

The airport also noted that if marketing permission was sought and secured at the point of online purchases, such customers could receive newsletters and other communications to “drive return business”.

The DAA pointed out that its online business, while contributing only a relatively small volume of sales, continues to grow.

“The average transactional value online is nearly double that of offline,” it noted, adding that about 10,000 consumers every year use the Loop’s click-and-collect service, where they can order goods online and collect them when they return from their foreign trip.

The DAA said that “given the scale of digital marketing and monetisation opportunity that exists in these businesses”, it had developed a digital strategy that aims to “improve the overall passenger journey”.

It wants customers to feel “engaged in an efficient, personalised and contextualised way”.

Its digital strategy includes the development of “personal, timely experiences that delight customers… driving engagement and revenue”.

In the longer term, the DAA is also considering ways in which it can use its airport flight information displays and digital advertising pods as information-messaging conduits for customers.

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