Holidaymakers at Heathrow Airport are unwittingly being encouraged to part with their cash, according to an investigation by Channel 4's Dispatches.

Reporters working for the programme claim Britain's biggest airport has hired staff - dubbed Heathrow Passenger Ambassadors - to push passengers into spending money.

On its website, Heathrow claims its Passenger Ambassadors are there to help holidaymakers navigate the airport.

"Whether you're looking for flight information, directions or any kind of help with your journey, our team will get you quickly on your way," it says.

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However, when Dispatches sent an undercover reporter to work as a Heathrow Passenger Ambassador, they found the job description was very different to the role portrayed on Heathrow's website.

"The majority of the role will involve interacting with passengers, persuading them to shop if they had not planned to, or encouraging them to spend more by talking to them about offers and promotions across the terminal," it said.

"The average spend per passenger must go up as a result of your presence on the terminal floor."

According to Dispatches, Passenger Ambassadors, who wear a distinctive purple uniform, are set aggressive targets to persuade travellers to spend between at least £2,500 ($4326) a day.

"Approach all passengers with a smile and a benefit statement regarding the promotions on offer," advises the job description. "The more passengers you approach and help, the more conversions achieved. A minute should not pass without a conversation with one or more passengers."

Though executives at Heathrow have not yet seen the Dispatches programme, which airs tonight, they defended the use of Passenger Ambassadors in the airport.

"Passenger Ambassadors are an important part of our business and we expect the team to put the needs of our passengers first," a spokesperson for Heathrow told Telegraph Travel.

"Under independent Government regulation, the airport provides fantastic restaurants and stores in order to offset the cost of running the airport which ultimately keeps the cost of air fares down for passengers.

"Heathrow has been consistently recognised by passengers for the quality of the airport experience as well as providing a world leading shopping experience."

Heathrow Airport made a record £612 million in rent from retailers and car parking charges last year, meaning the airport's retail division now accounts for nearly a quarter of its overall revenues.

This article was originally published by the Daily Telegraph UK.