MIDDLE EAST. Beirut Duty Free has partnered with Inflyter, a digital services provider, to launch a new mobile application for its retail business. The initiative will be showcased to delegates at next week’s MEADFA Conference in Dubai.

Inflyter said it aims to connect travellers across the complete travel environment, providing information on flights, other transportation options and airport services including duty free. From the time that a traveller buys a ticket, they can take advantage of opportunities across the value chain, it noted. In retail terms these include:

  • A smart mobile eShop
  • An embedded multi-currency payment processor and automated VAT refund (for purchases made with non-duty free partners)
  • Various delivery options (automated pick-up at the airport on departure or arrival, and (currently being studied) onboard pick-up and home/hotel shipping).

Inflyter also has its own loyalty programme, called inMiles. The platform can be used by all passengers who sign up, regardless of their airline or airport. It takes advantage, said Inflyter, of an increasing appetite among travellers for tailored services, once they provide their personal data.

Inflyter: The digital services company says its app offers opportunities across the travel industry’s “value chain”

The company was created in 2015 by CEO Wassim Saadé and COO Amir Abbaszadeh. Both have experience of the air travel market and entrepreneurship – Saadé with Airbus, Air France and Altran Group; Abbaszadeh with Rothschild, McKinsey and Amadeus.

The eShop is especially noteworthy, they said. “We managed to build a walk-through-designed eShop that ensures exposure to users, even when they are only looking for flight information,” said Saadé. “The average 23 minutes exposure at an airport becomes 58 days, which is the average time between booking and boarding.”

On the wider opportunity, Saadé said: “We are now at an inflection point. The use of Big Data is becoming a crucial way for leading companies to outperform their peers. In the travel retail industry, established competitors and new entrants alike will leverage data-driven strategies to innovate, compete, and capture value. Indeed, gathering data – or even gathering the appropriate data – is not as easy as it seems. And treating this data correctly and intelligently is a real challenge.

“Air passengers’ daily and behavioural data will help air travel actors to create new growth opportunities and entirely new categories of companies, such as those that aggregate and analyse industry data. Many of these will be companies that sit in the middle of large information flows where data about products and services, transport and accommodation, consumer preferences and intent can be captured and analysed.

“Inflyter proposes a new model to capture all this data by simplifying and enriching the traveller’s journey from departure to arrival, no matter which airport or airline they are using.”

*Delegates to The MEADFA Conference (29-30 January) will hear more about Inflyter during a session titled ‘The MEADFA Challenge.’ The company’s initiative with Beirut Duty Free is also covered in The MEADFA Guide, published by The Moodie Davitt Report, out in coming days.

Wassim Saadé and COO Amir Abbaszadeh: The Inflyter partners will present their concept at MEADFA next week