MULO Outposts are In Vogue Street Fight

MULO Outposts are In Vogue

Share this:

What do we mean by a MULO (multi-location) outpost?

It’s a brand that’s located within a “non-traditional” venue. For example, Hudson News is a standard airport tenant that sells magazines, treats, and travel-related incidentals for travelers to grab en route. They have more than 1,000 stores now in 37 states.

Imagine this writer’s surprise when she went to get a cold beverage at a Hilton gift shop and discovered that she couldn’t charge the purchase to her room because the shop was operated by a third-party company—Travel Traders. Their website says they operate in 26 US states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So, think of them as a MULO within MULO.

It makes sense on many levels. Just because a hospitality company excels at providing comfortable beds, pillows, and well-equipped bathrooms, that doesn’t mean that they are also experts at retail purchasing, merchandising, and inventory management.

However, gift shops are not the only category with a tenant/landlord relationship at popular travel locations.

Fast casual restaurants, as well as popular sit-down options, have long been a staple of airports. In fact, this site analyzes which airports have the most quick-serve options per traveler. Like their outside-the-airport footprints, these brands are experimenting with self-serve options to speed up wait time (especially important when people have to catch flights).

Casinos and college campuses are other popular outposts for highly-regarded MULO food and retail brands. Visitors and students from within and outside the U.S. look for names that represent product quality. These locations also give newbies an opportunity to sample a new option before returning to their home location.

Other MULO categories that have “infiltrated” non-traditional locations are spas, gyms, and nail salons.

But tenant beware! Negotiating leases with an airport or hotel chain may involve nuances and terms that traditional MULO retailers are not familiar with. Build-outs can be complex, due to space limitations and other real estate-related requirements.

And, the example of a hotel store that doesn’t accept room charges is a great case study of how consumers view “outposts” as being affiliated with the main brand. Think about the entire consumer journey (literally) and how a negative experience can reflect on the “landlord.” Shoppers and diners don’t really care about your operational deal or financial set-up. We just want to get that beverage, burger, or souvenir shot glass!

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.
Previous Post

Pizza Industry Tech

Next Post

Why Granular Voter Data Matters for Ad Buyers