Finding 1 - Denver International Airport Allows Some Concessionaires to Bypass the Competitive Selection Process
Denver International Airport’s Premium Value Concessions program is meant to incentivize concessionaires that airport employees believe provide the “best” value to the airport.10 But we identified several problems:
- The program violates a city executive order by allowing select concessionaires to bypass the competitive selection process.
- The airport pays an outside firm a significant amount of money to administer the Premium Value Concessions program even though the program offers no proven benefits to the airport.
- The rules and regulations that govern the program are confusing and difficult to follow.
Finding 2 - Denver International Airport Has Not Evaluated Whether It Uses the Optimal Contracting Approach for Its Overall Concessions Program
Denver International Airport’s concessions team has never analyzed how it structures the overall concessions program — particularly to identify the appropriate mix of concessionaire contracts that would most benefit the airport.
The airport developed a concessions master plan in 2019 to forecast passenger demands and future customer needs. The master plan includes important factors such as predictions of passenger counts, current and future construction projects, branding principles and concourse themes, and future development efforts.
However, airport employees developed this plan without determining the optimal mix of prime concessionaire contracts and direct contracts with individual concessionaires. The mix of concessionaires may impact profitability, customer service, and other goals important to the airport.
Finding 3 - Some of Denver International Airport’s Concessions Contracting Practices Are Unfair
We identified practices in the airport’s concessions contracting processes that are unfair. For instance, we found the airport allows certain concessionaires to “hold over” when their contract ends and it allows them to stay in their leased concessions space indefinitely without going through the competitive selection process that other vendors must go through. This results in inequitable treatment of concessionaires at the airport.
We also found the airport destroys scoring information after a concessionaire is selected. As a result, the airport is not transparent in how it selects vendors to receive airport concessions contracts.