TRConnect Covid-19 webinar questions answered: Stewart Dryburgh, Nestlé ITR

By Charlotte Turner |

Stewart-Dryburgh-Nestle-ITR-ACI-Iceland-leadOn 5 May, TRBusiness hosted the inaugural Travel Retail Connect (TRConnect) Covid-19 webinar, which received a huge number of viewers tuning in from all over the world.

The 75-minute session hosted at 14:00 CET attracted 899 registrations, with just over 500 permitted to watch live [to view a repeat of the webinar, click below].

Entitled, ‘Emerging Stronger in a Post-Covid World’, the first showing in TRBusiness’ series of incisive, thought-provoking webinars struck to the root of what is a multi-faceted topic and as viewers discovered, one with many converging opinions.

During a dynamic Q&A session, panellists agreed to address unanswered questions at a later date. We can now provide the answers to those questions submitted to Stewart Dryburgh, General Manager at Nestlé International Travel Retail, below.

Register for the second TRConnect Webinar here.



In your opinion, how has the relationship changed between brands/operators/airlines or even cruises following the outbreak of Covid?

Stewart Dryburgh: It’s too early to say at this point however the relationship, which is also extremely critical here, is that between the brand and the consumer. Ensuring that brands continue to communicate effectively, sympathetically and responsibly in domestic markets is critical.



Stewart Dryburgh, General Manager at Nestlé International Travel Retail.

I believe that communication between brands and retailers is now one way only and it is getting less sustainable for a brand to survive in travel retail…

I can say that there is always a sustainability challenge for brands (particularly in confectionery and food) where trade margin demands are concerned


Given the usual level of conversion in TR ranging from 1-40% depending on the channel, what do we think is the best way for us to attract and engage, and then convert a higher percentage of passengers into buyers?

In the current Covid-19 world attempting to attract consumers using traditional methods such as sampling and tasting is likely to generate a significant backlash. Consumers need to be given space not crowded, and that will be very counter-cultural for both retailers and brandowners alike.


After probably a -50 to -70% sales drop this year, do we expect back to normal in 2022, 2023?

Any forecast this early into the crisis is prone to a high level of variability, however we do see industry forecasts suggesting global pax numbers will not return to 2019 levels until 2023.


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