ITALY. Whether it’s playing games, posing for photos or simply welcoming passengers, Lagardère Travel Retail hopes its new humanoid robot Romeo will prove a popular addition to the Aelia Duty Free store at Rome Fiumicino Airport.

The retailer has introduced the robotic shopping assistant as part of its ‘Here and Nowhere Else’ strategic pillar in an attempt to take the passenger experience to the “next level”.

O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Lagardère Travel Retail says the robot can “create original emotions and convert them into retail benefits”

Lagardère Travel Retail has used the name Romeo for the Italian market, but the robot is also known as Pepper – the name given to it by manufacturer SoftBank Robotics. [HMSHost  is another company to have used the robot at airports.]

Romeo can greet customers in English and Italian when they enter the 1,850sq m store in Terminal 3.

The robot is also able to entertain visitors with several animations for the purpose of collecting e-mail addresses. In a photo booth animation, Romeo detects faces and takes photos with a built-in camera. Travellers can apply a filter to the photo and leave their e-mail address to receive a souvenir picture.

Touch screen interface: Romeo can speak both English and Italian

Passengers can also play a travel-theme game called ‘Guess Town’ with Romeo. In it, they are invited to guess what European cities are represented by a series of shadows. Whether they win or not, travellers can leave their e-mail address in order to receive a €10 discount voucher for purchases of up to €130.

Customers can also choose to leave their e-mail addresses and directly retrieve the voucher without playing games.

In the ‘Guess Town’ game, passengers are invited to guess the shadows of European cities

Lagardère Travel Retail said it had strategically positioned the robot at the front of the perfume & cosmetics area to increase the visibility of the store’s most popular category.

Romeo also has the ability to present other activities to customers. These include an in-store replica of the famous Bocca della Verità marble mask (also known as the Mouth of Truth) and the fine food area Casa del Gusto.

Lagardère Travel Retail said it “strongly believes in the potential of Romeo to improve the customer experience in airport retail”