Last week’s Trinity Forum held in London was generally acknowledged to have been a success, with the standard of presentations generally high and an acknowledgement amongst most attendees that there is no single solution to
the continuing need for airports, retailers and suppliers to work more closely together.
While a full report will be featured in the October issue of The Business, a few highlights stood out from this ‘Thought Leadership’ event which are worthy of note. One of the best addresses covering commercial opportunities was given by World Duty Free Managing Director Mark Riches on the first day.
At the same time, the hypothetical modelling of commercial opportunities at a non existent airport also raised some good ideas, although this fell a little short of the original brief, with a strong women’s team delivering hard considered input, but not aided by a no show by the men’s team. The contribution by Cathryn Davis, Director of Deussen Global Communications was particularly notable in the summarising of the women’s team’s recommendations.
But not good was the session on branding and communicating the global travel retail industry. The presentation by Mark Hogan and Brendan McElroy of Owens DDB not only failed to address the brief, but it was frankly disappointing.
But this was the only presentation that really disappointed and it was more than made up for by the afternoon session where King Power Group Managing Director Travel Retail Sunil Tuli took on Randy Emch, Director of Global Airport Services in a lively debate. Tuli argued the case for the concessionaire and Emch responded with the merits of the case for the airport owned retail model.
Good debate, lively interaction and good moderation by The Moodie Report’s Martin Moodie made this one of the highlights of the event and the general feeling amongst attendees was that the Tuli v. Emch debate ended in an honourable draw. This was followed by excellent input from Aer Rianta International Middle East Managing Director John Sutcliffe and Georg Jensen’s President and Ceo Hans-Kristian Hojsgaard.
Unlocking the value of airport retail was the next topic and this was covered brilliantly by Kerrie Mather, Ceo of Macquarie Airports in one of the best addresses over the two day event. Other addresses of positive note were given by Susan Whelan, Deputy Managing Director King Power International Group (Thailand) and Steve Thomson, Managing Director, Consumer Products and Retail, GfK NOP.
Day two began with the second of two films flagged up as a guided tour of the best travel retail stores in the world. As with the first film shown on day one, this was very informative, with credit due to Peter Marshall of Marshall Arts International.
This was followed by a welcome address from Barry Gibson, now Chairman of Harding Brothers and the man credited with turning BAA’s fortunes around in retail terms many years ago. Gibson showed that he had lost none of his direct, no nonsense approach as he addressed the revolution in retail. Similarly, the Nuance Group’s President and Ceo Roberto Graziani impressed many in the audience with his honesty about where he wants the industry’s leading travel retailer to go and some of the mistakes the company has made along the way.
Silja Line’s Senior Vice President, Passenger Services, Pekka Helin also impressed as he outlined the challenges now facing the world’s biggest travel retail ferry operation. Simply inspiring was the address given by Interbaires Ceo Enrique Urioste who addressed how transparency can boost footfall, penetration and average sales. Urioste’s address covering the achievements primarily at Buenos Aires Ezeiza airport was a case study in what can be achieved when an airport and a retailer work closely together.
Good addresses were also given by Rainer Beeck, Senior Vice President, Corporate Real Estate Management, Munich Airport and by Hans Bakker, Commercial Director, Airport Authority Hong Kong. A filmed interview with Sydney Airport Corporation Executive Chairman and Ceo Max Moore Wilton and a one to one interview between Martin Moodie and Sydney Airport’s General Manager Retail & Commercial Development Bob McFadyen also proved good value.
Also very informative was the address on the impact of lifestyle and demographics on the Asian consumer, provided by Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Economic Advisor (Asia Pacific) of MasterCard International.
All of which was concluded with a group session looking at where next for the industry and also for the Trinity. This featured many well known names, incuding Brown Forman’s Patrick Moran, Nestle International Travel Retail’s Stewart Dryburgh, Aer Rianta Retail’s Frank O’Connell, Alpha Airport Shopping’s David King and others.
DOUG NEWHOUSE COMMENTS: This event, coorganised by The Moodie Report and Tax Free World Association (TFWA) was thought provoking and worthwhile. While some might say that the heavyweight presence of so many leading executives from the industry was reason enough to attend, most agreed that the event delivered much more than mere networking opportunities. Crucially, it also delivered many attendees from airports amongst the 200 plus audience, which the first event failed to do.
Of course, it would be unfair to compare this event with the first Trinity Forum held two years ago. Indeed, the tension within the industry at that time, due to the less than favourable trading environment, provided a different backdrop altogether.
Importantly, this event proved that industry thinking has thankfully moved on from the intransigent position that there can ever be any single solution to bettering relations between airports, retailers and suppliers.
This is to be welcomed considering the wide canvass of operating conditions prevailing between airports, retailers and suppliers around the world. But while the Trinity is an excellent exercise aimed at encouraging all participants to take a step back and take a look at what they and others are doing, it is also a useful barometer and reminder of how entrenched some positions still remain.
The bottom line is that Trinity, like the industry, is organic. For the second event in a row it has flagged up the important issues and then sought out alternative views on how to address them. For this the organisers should be congratulated.
Martin Moodie in particular has done an excellent job in keeping the momentum going and encouraging the overall debate. The arrival of TFWA as a coorganising party this year has also visibly added more professionalism to the event. While The Business is proud to have worked very hard to assist with the debut Trinity event two years ago, it is gratifying to see the standard and honesty of overall debate evolve on to a new and more intelligent level.
A full report covering all of the addresses and debates will appear in the October issue of The Business.