‘Over to you’: Tim Jobber, JES Travel Retail on life during the lockdown period

By Trb Editor |

Over to You guest columns logo lead

Tim Jobber, International Management Consultant, JES Travel Retail has developed extensive experience from working on various projects with the world’s top-25 travel retailers. He has also worked on brand development initiatives with more than 50 airlines across Europe, Asia and Africa and alongside the world’s largest cruise ship distributor/retailers.

In this edition of TRBusiness’ ‘Over to you’ column series, Jobber compares consulting on behalf of brands looking to enter duty free and travel retail with parenting.

Consulting on behalf of brands wishing to enter travel retail is similar to parenting in many ways.

You start with a young bundle of excited joy and after many highs and some lows they eventually break free and enter the big wide world of airport, inflight, cruise and ferry retail.

The current Covid-19 situation has not changed this that much, although we are currently advising our more mature wards to take a gap-period. I am reluctant to use the words gap-year, although this may be more accurate.

While brand representatives are tucked up following a day of travel retail KPI and USP discussions, I am surveying the lay of the travel retail land on their behalf.

In hindsight, the early consulting days were always the most enjoyable. This is because there was a youthful enthusiasm and determination among brands to secure listings with the top 25 travel retailers by Christmas.


Brands also strived to feature on the covers of national airline catalogues and to dominate marine travel retail as part of some Poseidon-esque master plan. This always made me smile.

Tim Jobber, JES Travel Retail

Tim Jobber, International Management Consultant, JES Travel Retail: “While brand representatives are tucked up following a day of travel retail KPI and USP discussions, I am surveying the lay of the travel retail land on their behalf.”

As any parent, I would naturally agree wholeheartedly, while ensuring brand partners don’t go off on a limb and release a press statement.

It’s this youthful energy which makes my work more enjoyable than expected during these trying times. Like any child with a glass-half-full perspective, brands bounce questions and ideas around without a care in the world.

Every day, I tend to read pessimistic news about fatalities and personal protective equipment shortages. After reading these reports, it’s a joy to receive an email from one of your younger brood, asking if double packs would work in the early stages and if a complimentary ribbon would make the product stand out more in store. Bless them.

Like with any family, we also have our what-to-wear disagreements. These normally revolve around the issues brands find tiresome. Issues include the merits of shrink wrapping, whether European Article Numbers (EANs) or Universal Article Codes (UACs) are on trend and the wider appeal of pictograms.

Luckily, we have to come to an agreement, so when you next visit a travel retail outlet and see one of our products dressed in a heat-sealed-shrink-wrap, you will know this discussion eventually ended.

Much like many families, we are currently in lock-down and maintaining regular contact via telephone and Zoom. The main topic of conversation is our cancelled holiday to Cannes in late summer. It would have been lovely to meet with everyone before they ‘leave home’.

Consulting for brands and parenting go hand-in-hand, especially during these surreal times, when my now grown up responsibilities are eager to manifest themselves in the GTR world.

Despite urging caution as a responsible guardian, I will secretly miss my brand partners when things return to normal and listings are forthcoming.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to the columnist and do not necessarily reflect those of TRBusiness.

To read other columns in the series, click the relevant links below. Interested in getting involved? Please contact one of the editorial team at the following: [email protected][email protected][email protected].

John Pearce, Head of Retail & Commercial — Terminal, Adelaide Airport Limited

Andrew Brodie, CEO, Sunshine Coast Airport

James Prescott, Managing Director, Harding Retail

Kevin Brocklebank, Founder and MD, One Red Kite

Alain Maingreaud, President, TFWA

Tullia Ialongo, Business Development Partner, Wand Technology




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