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The retail experience in airport departure lounges: reaching for timelessness and placelessness

Rowley, Jennifer and Slack, Frances (1999) The retail experience in airport departure lounges: reaching for timelessness and placelessness. ISSN 1758-6763

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Abstract

It is reasonable to assume that a sense of timelessness and placelessness is particularly likely to be experienced by travelers in transit, involved in international travel between distant places with different time zones. Therefore an examination of the environment in airport departure lounges might be expected to offer an insight into the post-modern environment in which time and place are beginning to lose meaning. Retailers have a significant role to play in the creation and shaping of such environments. The research described in this article was conducted in pursuit of the following aim: to investigate airport departure lounges as environments in which timelessness and placelessness might be exhibited. This environment is analysed in terms of: servicescape and ambience; the range of retail outlets and their product ranges; marketing messages and communication; and, the customer experience. A level of sameness is uncovered, but there are also national and cultural dimensions which invade the experience. This creates a softened, but not entirely absent sense of place and time.

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