Global Blue opens Mayfair VIP lounge to target affluent tourists

Tax-free shopping specialist Global Blue is opening its first VIP Globe Shopper Lounge on Albemarle Street in Mayfair, underlining the importance of London's West End to the luxury industry and to the tourist sector.


The Global Blue Paris lounge is similar to the London location opening this month


The lounge is the first of its kind in the UK market with the company saying that it offers a new and unique way to connect with high-spending shoppers. It comes as other businesses, such as Matchesfashion, also open dedicated physical spaces where VIP shoppers can be cosseted and make the most of perks designed to reflect the boost their high-spending lifestyles give to luxury brands and fashion-focused shopping neighbourhoods.

With Max Mara, Aquazzura, Longchamp and Fortnum & Mason all confirmed as partners and more to be announced soon, the 240 sq m lounge is expected to greet over 40,000 guests in its first year. And while that might seem like an ambitious target, the company is basing it on its experience of its existing lounges, which it said have seen “phenomenal success” in Milan, Rome, Venice, Madrid, Munich and Paris. So far, they have hosted over 130,000 guests between them.

Global Blue said its new lounge offers “a unique opportunity for merchants to connect with high net worth individuals (HNWI) while they are at destination, via tailor-made and measurable multi-channel advertising.”

And there will be opportunities for merchants to partner with the firm on the London lounge, from whole room takeovers to video display or VR experiences.

The fact that the company chose August to open the new space is significant because the month is fast becoming one of the UK’s strongest periods for international spend, the firm’s own data shows. In 2017, figures for August increased by 7% compared to the previous year and by 16% among Chinese shoppers. With those stats in mind, the company expects to welcome over 3,500 VIPs in its first month of operating.

Jace Tyrrell, Chief Executive of New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses in London’s West End and Mayfair, said: “With a quarter of visitors to London’s West End and Mayfair coming from abroad and spending on average £3.5 billion a year, the opening of the VIP Globe Shopper Lounge will be a great addition to an already world-class shopping experience. It opens as we complete our £10 million makeover of Bond Street and the new multi-billion pound Elizabeth line arrives, linking the West End to Heathrow Airport in under 30 minutes.”

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