Rémy Cointreau GTR on transforming show windows into shop windows

By Faye Bartle |

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

The Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail team at the 2023 TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

Following “the busiest TFWA the team has seen so far” in Cannes in October, Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail is pursuing new avenues for growth and collaboration in the channel, bolstered by its latest wave of innovations.

“Notably, we’re on the cusp of launching our dedicated travel retail range for Bruichladdich single malt whiskies, which will feature eco-friendly packaging,” revealed Fida Bou Chabke, CEO, Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail, in an exclusive interview with TRBusiness.

“We’ve been able to reduce carbon emissions by 65%, not only by the removal of the gift tins, but by making the bottles lighter through the use of more recycled glass and organic inks.”

Further to the above, Champagne Telmont’s organic champagne, Réserve de la Terre, made its travel retail debut at the industry trade show.

“Telmont is transitioning to 100% organic production, which is very rare in the Champagne category – only 4% of volumes are currently organic,” explained Bou Chabke.

“Transparency is key with Telmont, everything about the wine is shared on the label and the product’s carbon footprint has been reduced as much as much as possible by removing unnecessary packaging and by using the lightest bottle possible. This underscores our vision for a more sustainable and innovative future in the spirits industry.”

A key milestone in 2024 will be the 300th anniversary of Rémy Martin and we can expect to see a variety of of animations and dedicated limited editions popping up in GTR.

A new team and a refreshed vision

The headline announcements follow a restructuring of the GTR leadership team earlier this year, with Bou Chabke stepping into her new position from 1 July and Alice Hoffman named the New Marketing Director for the channel, overseen by Ian McLernon as CEO for EMEA, North and South Asia-Pacific and GTR.

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

Left: Fida Bou Chabke, CEO, Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail. Right: Telmont Réserve de la Terre.

“This year and coming year we are focused on fully rebuilding our footprint in travel retail,” said Bou Chabke. “This will be achieved through optimising distribution to align with traveller’s routes and preferences.

“We will also be dedicated to driving client engagement by expanding our on the ground team in order to educate travelling clients on our brands.

“The new structure places an emphasis on agility and a strong partnership within the trinity, allowing us to adapt swiftly to changing market dynamics and meet demands effectively.”

The vision is to amplify the visibility of the portfolio. In addition, there’s a renewed commitment to delivering unique and memorable consumer experiences to further build brand loyalty.

Leveraging premiumisation, traveller exclusives and gifting opportunities

As expected, premiumisation will continue to be a key part of the strategy in 2024, with Rémy Cointreau set to introduce The Drop in travel retail: single 10ml bottles of LOUIS XIII Cognac designed to be worn as fashion accessories.

“The introduction of The Drop will revolutionise how travellers enjoy LOUIS XIII, providing an innovative means to attract new clients,” said Bou Chabke.

“In addition, we will continue to focus on leveraging traveller exclusives, a strategy that has already been set in motion with the launch of two outstanding products: Rémy Cointreau Club Exception and The Botanist Hebridean Strength, both of which will continue to roll out over the year.”

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

The Botanist Hebridean Strength will continue to roll out in GTR in 2024.

The Lunar New Year is considered a prime opportunity for travel and gifting, and next year will be especially significant.

“300 years ago, Rémy Martin’s was born under the year of the dragon, this celebration will form a big part of our upcoming plans,” said Bou Chabke.

“This is a huge milestone for the brand and activity will roll out through a number of animations and limited edition offers. We will also be introducing a number of additional small batch limited edition offers that will be distributed through our loyal clients.”

Transforming show windows into shop windows

Once of the most thought-provoking phrases being championed by the company is that travel retail is a “shop window, not just a show window”. With this in mind, Bou Chabke explained the tools being utilised to ensure Rémy Cointreau’s permanent visibility effectively drives its brand messages.

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

The new merchandising for LOUIS XII has aided Rémy Cointreau GTR in turning ‘show windows’ into ‘shop windows’ in the channel.

“We achieve this by investing in visually striking and informative displays that make sure our brands are not just seen, but also understood by travellers,” she said.

“Some examples of how this has been achieved to date is through the new merchandising of Rémy Martin and LOUIS XIII. We have also implemented permanent visibility to showcase the Islay origin for The Botanist Gin and Hebridean Strength.

“In addition, our sales ambassadors play a key role in bringing our products to the consumers. They receive extensive internal training directly from our Maisons, this ensures that they are well equipped to engage travellers, responding to their enquiries, and offering personalised recommendations. This human touch contributes to crafting a unique and memorable shopping experience for consumers.”

The experience is complemented by immersive activations, such as cocktail tastings and food pairings, enabling travellers to experience the spirits and connect with the brands on a sensory level, helping to forge more meaningful interactions.

“In addition, this approach can be further amplified through digital platforms, allowing us to connect with clients throughout the various stages of their journey,” she added.

Responsible retailtainment

Top trends being highlighted by the company include retailtainment (perhaps best demonstrated by the launch of the TREX Rémy Cointreau Club Exception, with high profile activations inviting travellers to engage in interactive tasting sessions), as well as the need to develop eco-responsible solutions.

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

An example of how the company has brought ‘retailtainment’ to life over the last year was through the launch of Rémy Cointreau Club Exception, a travel retail exclusive that was unveiled with high-profile activations across multiple locations.

“Rémy Cointreau has taken strong commitments on CSR from terroir to the shelf,” stressed Bou Chabke.

“In GTR, the redesigned LOUIS XIII coffret blends design and ecological responsibility with packaging crafted from 100% cellulosic materials. The result is a package that is 24% lighter and 14% smaller than before, reducing carbon emissions by 57%, underscoring our focus on sustainability.

“We’ve also been proactive in rethinking our packaging methods, opting for more eco-friendly options such as eliminating the use of outer tins for Bruichladdich PHD Malts and the gift box for Mount Gay Black Barrel. This change not only minimises unnecessary waste but also contributes to a reduction in transportation-related emissions. Currently, at a group level 78% of our bottles are sold without secondary packaging, and we are set to reach 85% goal by 2025.

“Our commitment to eco-responsibility also extends to the materials used in merchandising construction and the reuse of fixtures for activations. For instance, our TFWA stand was made with responsible design, transportation and construction principles in mind. The booth used responsibly sourced timber, all elements were either fully reusable or recyclable, and low-energy LED lighting and water-based paints have been used throughout.”

Rémy Cointreau Global Travel Retail

The Rémy Cointreau bar at the 2023 TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes.

A shrewd move is the push to attract luxury buyers who are historically focused on fashion and cosmetics products, into shopping the Rémy Cointreau portfolio. The strategy for this, said Bou Chabke, revolves around crafting an “exceptional journey for every travelling client that’s not just memorable, but unique”.

“We understand that luxury buyers look for experiences that resonate with their refined tastes,” she said. “LOUIS XIII, The Drop, is one example of how this concept has been executed. This product, typically confined to a specific category, defies expectations by crossing boundaries and appealing to an unexpected audience, yet maintaining its allure for the exclusive clientele.

“We are also working closely with high-net-worth-individual clients from retailers. We want to offer super-premium products, by tailoring our offerings to cater specifically to luxury buyers and ensuring that they find something truly exceptional within our portfolio.”

Strong pipeline of innovations

On top of the new releases mentioned above, upcoming products previewed in Cannes included the Rémy Martin Club Exception traveller exclusive, as well as new launches from Metaxa, St-Rémy, Mount Gay rum and Cointreau.

“Our strategy centres on a multifaceted approach recognising the importance of several elements,” said Bou Chabke.

“Firstly, we place great emphasis on assortment, and offer a diverse range of products that cater to our clients’ varying needs and preferences. However, even as we focus on providing a wide assortment, we equally value our core range as we understand that clients often seek the products that they know and love.

“Simultaneously, we also see value in having exclusive travel retail products in our portfolio. By offering travellers something unique and distinct, we create a sense of discovery and intrigue, appealing to shoppers who seek one-of-a-kind offerings.”

Moving forward, the company sees the current climate as a pivotal moment to build on and revitalise its presence in GTR.

As Bou Chabke summarised: “After a prolonged period of challenges brought about by Covid-19, we are committed to working hand-in-hand with our partners to ensure that we offer travellers with exciting shopping experiences.”

READ MORE: The Botanist Gin brings Hebridean Strength TREX to UK with Avolta

READ MORE: Asia GTR shows ‘very strong’ growth, but Rémy Cointreau Q1 sales slide

READ MORE: Rémy Cointreau names Fida Bou Chabke new Global Travel Retail CEO

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