Skift Take

With China's dominance as the largest outbound market for international departures, it was a smart move by Paris Duty Free to create a WeChat Mini Program. The program encourages Chinese travelers to buy items curated specifically for their tastes. Will other Western airports follow suit?

The departure lounge can conjure up a particular type of sadness for homebound travelers. A journey has concluded, and the impending strains of daily life press close. Such feelings might be familiar to Chinese travelers leaving behind the city of love and light, but for those returning home via Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport, comfort can now be found in a duty-free flourish.

Paris Duty Free’s WeChat Mini Program has incentivized spending by Chinese travelers. The program creates a link between French history and historical brands, according to partner Talents Travel. Courtesy of Talents Travel

That remedy is a specially created WeChat Mini Program designed by Paris Duty Free in partnership with the China tourism experts at Talents Travel. The innovative program first tasks users with a playful personality test that matches them with a famous figure from French history. “Tough muscle men” might resemble Napoleon while “proud princesses” might find a soulmate in Marie Antoinette. Users are then advanced a duty-free shopping discount that befits their profile, ranging from French cosmetic sets and high-end chocolates to electronics.

Users take a personality test before being assigned a French cultural icon. Image: WeChat

“The purpose was to offer a new attractive gaming experience,” said Charlotte Paradin, customer director at Talents Travel. “We want to introduce shops at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and create a link with French history and historical brands.”

Having launched Alipay throughout Charles de Gaulle stores in 2017 and WeChat Pay the following year, the airport has now learned that building site-specific Mini Programs is a dynamic way to further digitize Chinese travel experiences while proving their commitment to those customers. But it’s also a highly effective means of incentivizing spending. Since launching earlier this year, Paris Duty Free’s Mini Program has been used by more than 15,000 travelers, 90 percent of whom have used the provided coupon.

Keys to such a high level of activation, one which Paradin said has “exceeded all our expectations,” is an extremely visible QR code and a training staff that makes Chinese travelers aware of the promotion. For Talents Travel, the Mini Program will likely serve as a template that can be adapted and rolled out in many different areas.

Offering departing travelers the chance to find kinship with icons from French history might seem gimmicky, but it’s proving to be a popular farewell for Chinese travelers before they board a 12-hour flight home.

This story originally appeared on Jing Travel, a Skift content partner.

Additional links from Jing Travel:

November 16, 2022
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Tags: airports, charles de gaulle, china, duty-free

Photo credit: Paris Duty Free partnered with Talents Travel to create a WeChat Mini Program to target Chinese shoppers. Adobe