Nigerians have emerged top spenders in luxury retail and VIP services at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport by passenger traffic. Although over 70 percent of people in the West African nation live on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank, its riches, concentrated in the hands of a few are freely spent on luxurious services abroad.
“Heathrow’s VIP Service was originally designed for dignitaries such as Heads of State but we recognised that the privacy and exclusivity that we offered is something that many passengers are looking for in their own lives. Making the service available to First Class and Business Class passengers, we now provide a quality experience that allows our passengers to enjoy a personalised service and we’re delighted to welcome many of these from Nigeria,” Jonathan Coen, Heathrow’s Retail Director said in a statement.
According to recent statistics from Heathrow, Nigerian travellers – who patronise this service – spend an average of £1,059 ($1,594) per visit on luxury retail.
“The Personal Shopping service is incredibly successful at Heathrow, especially with our international passengers. The service started in October 2013 with a five-member team and just over a year on, we have grown to 15 members who are on hand from the first to the last flight and offer assistance in 38 languages,” Coen added.
For departures and arrivals via Heathrow, the service offers a dedicated entrance to the airport, a chauffer-driven luxury car ride to and from the aircraft and a private lounge as a waiting area. The passenger is assisted with their check-in, immigration and baggage collection procedures, creating an exclusive travel experience.
Apart from the VIP service, Heathrow also offers the Personal Shopping service, which is available to all passengers flying through the airport. The bespoke service affords passenger a dedicated Personal Shopper to accompany them to the terminal of their choice and for consultation during purchases. Personal shoppers cater to language requirements with staff members who are fluent in Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo as well as other local and international languages.