Why creating a “sense of place” is good for business: The experiment at Bagdogra Airport
Moutat, Sikkimis, Art Gallery, Potrait painting, Biswa Bangla, Sikkim-Darj Handicraft, Painting of DHR as mural, Music & dance of Bengal and Nepal and khata which is a traditional way of welcome guest on the mountains.
Bagdogra is in the midst of tea country of India. The team at Bagdogra undertook an endeavour to recreate the environment of the area viz. Tea, mountains, local handicraft of Darjeeling and Sikkim, the iconic “toy train” of Darjeeling, music and dance of Bengali and Nepali culture, local food to Gujarati tourists who flock in large numbers and the ever-present “Khata.” I must add that creating a sense of place is excellent business as the return to the airport is awesome and the concessionaires also earn a good revenue by appealing to the last minute shoppers desiring to collect a memorabilia or gifts for near and dear ones. In addition it serves to greatly enhance the ambience as a spinoff. The concept of ‘sense of place’ has developed an extraordinary momentum, featuring in almost every airport announcement of a new or planned development, particularly as a flagship element in any modern airport design. Indeed, new benchmarks in everything from the ambition to the retail and F&B experiences, particularly in its deeply embedded focus on ‘local’ input, passionately emphasised not on ‘passengers’ but on ‘the guest experience’. Distinctly local elements contribute strongly to the expression of the terminal’s sense of place, from the character of the architecture of the terminal building to how retailers and brands invoke the location in their offer. The perspective is that ‘sense of place’ begins with the architecture and design of the airport space, creating exciting spaces that deliver operational and commercial efficiency (OPEX).
MOUTAT: THE INTOXICATION
Moutat is a concept that was conceived in the very heart of the Darjeeling tea gardens, Siliguri, an idea each and every one of us will relate to. The majority of the Siligurians do not find the pleasure in the tea as do the tea lovers in countries like UK, Russia and China. The basic motive of Moutat tea boutique is that they develop the taste of the tourists transiting through the region and people of the city who although have been living within the plethora of exotic Tea gardens but are not able to enjoy the aroma and the pleasing taste of the Darjeeling Tea. Moutat is basically a group of four Women who want to bring out the best of the culture of our region and present it to our people. A free cup of tea is served to every honourable passenger boarding the flights from the Bagdogra Airport as “WELCOME TEA”. The concept of creating a sense of place is best exemplified by Moutat – Bringing the tea gardens to Bagdogra Airport.
TEA COUNTRY : MAKAIBARI, GOLDEN TIPS & GOPALDHARA
ART MART ART GALLERY
Artmart Gallery is the world’s leading online art gallery, connecting people with art and artists they love. Artmart Gallery offers an unparalleled selection of paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography in a range of prices, and it provides artists from around the world with an expertly curated environment in which to exhibit and sell their work. Based in Siliguri, Artmart Gallery is redefining the experience of buying and selling art by making it easy, convenient and welcoming for both collectors and artists. It is our continuous endeavour to provide you with best quality hand painted art of modern taste, and at most affordable prices possible online. They couple this with best pre-sale and post-sale customer service to make buying experience at Artmart Gallery only as satisfactory. They have a strong network of 100+ associated artists that can probably make any kind of art with top quality and detailing, and ensure we meet varied demands of every customer. They proudly support lot of economically backward artist communities that have a great hand and art sense, but just lack opportunities to be visible in front of potential customers. All paintings are 100 % hand painted and our artists and communities do not use any rouge techniques to make them – like canvas prints, canvas transfers, or painting on prints etc. They guarantee 100 % hand painted and of topmost quality. The Art Gallery set up at Bagdogra Airport serves the dual purpose of providing “a sense of place” as well as improving the ambience of the airport.
Art Mart have an outlet at Bagdogra Airport from where they promote local artists and display paintings on local theme which the region exemplifies Tea gardens, mountains and wildlife of Dooars.
BISWA BANGLA and SIKKIM & DARJEELING HANDICRAFT SHOP
Biswa Bangla echoes the heartbeat of West Bengal — its art, craft and culture. Their products are authentic hand-crafted items that connect customers and connoisseurs to the lives of Bengal’s people and their myriad expressions. While the products retain the deep-rooted elements of the state’s heritage, those are strategically developed in contemporary design to suit the needs and preferences of today’s customers. Biswa Bangla reaches out to hundreds of craftsmen and weavers in the state to develop handicraft products that stand out in terms of quality and uniqueness. Their ‘social business’ approach is creating entrepreneurs out of artists at one hand, and bringing back profits to the bottom of the pyramid on the other. This helps sustain the art and craft by creating viable livelihood opportunities. Bagdogra Airport proudly hosts an outlet of Biswa Bangla in the waiting area. The well-stocked shop attracts a large number domestic as well as foreign tourists who are looking for a local memorabilia.
Visitors to the showrooms are tacitly enlightened on West Bengal’s heritage art and craft forms that help them appreciate the heritage and culture of West Bengal. Their objectives are better achieved when customers learn to appreciate the nuances of Bengal’s heritage through our in-store experience.
When you shop at Biswa Bangla showrooms, the tourists not only hold a piece of Bengal in their hands, but reach out to make the lives of thousands of weavers and craftsmen a little better. Biswa Bangla which runs under MSME Govt of West Bengal have made a pledge that every penny that they make goes back to them as an appreciation of the wonderful things they create and the joy that they give us.
MUSIC & DANCE OF BENGALI AND NEPALI CULTURE
In order to further enhance passenger experience as well as improve earnings, the experiment continues and is expected to yield rich dividends for all stakeholders. It enhances the ambience too and gives a cheerful look to the airport environs. Creating a sense of place that reflects the architecture, culture, cuisine and local community served by the airport has become a common goal of all stakeholders of Bagdogra Airport. Creating a sense of place is a proven concept that gives the passenger, particularly a visiting passenger a differentiated experience from other airports and provides direct linkages with the local community. Creating a sense of place is popular with passengers and has been shown to encourage additional spending and increase customer satisfaction as customers are able to experience local cuisine or acquire merchandise that is different from what they have seen elsewhere.
Rakesh R Sahay
Airport Director, Bagdogra Airport (West Bengal)