UAE. The final session of The Trinity Forum 2013 ended in Abu Dhabi on Thursday afternoon with a call to take the Trinity concept to the next level. The call from The Moodie Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie echoed sentiment expressed by several speakers, as well as delegate feedback confirming the event as one of the strongest Trinity Forums in its 10-year history.
The Forum’s success was in no small part a result of the outstanding hosting of Abu Dhabi Airports Company. The airport operator provided amazing support and hospitality throughout the event, which was held at the Yas Formula One Circuit International Media Centre and the Yas Viceroy Marina hotel.
This year’s Forum concluded with a superb second day. OTG Management CEO Rick Blatstein kicked off with a rallying cry for the industry to innovate, use technology and never be afraid of change.
His energetic presentation was followed by a critical contribution from Lagardère Services President and Chief Operating Officer Dag Rasmussen, who urged the industry to adopt a ‘Trinity 365’ mentality, cooperating to overcome challenges throughout the year as opposed to simply talking about them during the event.
Rasmussen also called for the establishment of a high-level educational platform for Trinity ideals, where executives from airports, retailers and suppliers could be trained about how to operate in an industry where close cooperation and understanding between all three stakeholders is a necessity.
The S-A-P Group President Bill Matz rovided an insightful, data-driven forecast for some potentially game-changing trends in airport retail planning. And ACI Director of Economics and Program Development Rafael Echevarne told delegates that although the ACI Airport Service Quality survey reveals a gradual improvement in passenger perception of retail and food & beverage offers at airports, a huge incremental revenue opportunity remains in terms of attracting more shoppers.
Echevarne’s presentation followed yesterday’s announcement that, from next year, the Trinity Forum will also incorporate ACI’s ASQ awards in a bid to attract more airport CEO’s to the event – one of the major calls of this year’s event. The Trinity Forum will return to its long-standing late February/early March timing next year and will be held in Asia.
Two consecutive presentations that focused on the influence of new media and social networking made a noticeable impression on delegates. Brown-Forman Travel Retail Managing Director Jim Perry presented the supplier’s attempts to harness social media, stating that the ‘travel retail republic’ would come under threat if it did not react to new marketing channels and technology. And Simpliflying Founder Shashank Nigam delivered an engaging presentation on why and how airports should be engaging with their social media user customers.
In a challenging final session, Kraft International World Travel Retail Managing Director Andreas Fehr, Copenhagen Airports Senior Vice President Retail Carsten Nørland and JR Duty Free Chairman Garry Stock presented their views on how the Trinity can work together to improve business for all three stakeholders.
Day 1 review Abu Dhabi Airports Company provided a a thrilling start to the Forum on 30 January by revealing a five-year extension to DFS Group's concession to operate and manage Abu Dhabi Duty Free at Abu Dhabi International Airport. ADAC Chief Commercial Officer Mohammed Al Bulooki said: "Our plan for Abu Dhabi's growth is well thought out to sustain today's growth. And today we want to thank some of the people who have helped us grow."
Al Bulooki revealed the timeframe for commercial tenders at the eagerly anticipated Midfield Terminal at the airport. The first commercial tenders for the ambitious new terminal will be released in Q1 2014.
ADAC Chief Commercial Officer Mohammed Al Bulooki provides a strong opening in his welcome address on day one
Philippe Schaus: "Be obsessive about being different"
Al Bulooki said: "We are tendering as early as possible to make sure we get it right - the right mix of retailers, of brands and of services."
ADAC revealed that sales at Abu Dhabi Duty Free hit US$220 million in 2012. 2013 is expected to be another record year, with new brands set to join existing retail partners at Abu Dhabi International Airport.
DFS Group's Chairman & CEO Philippe Schaus made his first public speech at an industry conference by delivering a stirring keynote address on day one. He asked a key question of the industry stakeholders: 'How are we creating value for all parties in the Trinity?'
He also urged brand owners, retailers and airports to "aim higher than the High Street and the malls" in the quality of execution and service, noting the "commoditisation" of shop designs and customers. "Even we as retailers are becoming commoditised," he said, "as we climb over one another to sell ourselves as the best operation while often under-serving the customer - when in fact there is no great differentiation between operators."
He said: "The industry needs leadership, refinement, multi-sensory experiences, creativity and more audacity. Let's be obsessed by being different."
There were a number of strong panel discussions on day one. The first included a review of the Trinity concept over the past ten years, with Muriel Zingraff-Shariff, Retail Concessions Director, London Heathrow Airport; Andrea Belardini, CEO Europe, The Nuance Group; Francis Gros, Group Travel Retail Director, Luxottica; and Dan Cappell, Senior Vice President Commercial, Abu Dhabi Airports Company.
There was broad agreement that the Trinity ideal had helped bring progress to the industry conversation, but that the prevailing model had not changed substantially in the past decade. However, new dynamics - such as brand owners engaging directly with airports - was applauded.
The panel discussions centred around the future of Trinity relationships
A later panel, titled 'A Trinity challenge issued; a Trinity challenge accepted', brought together Roland Stieger, Commercial Director, Nestlè international Travel Retail; Peter Jacobson, Commercial Director Global Travel & Middle East, Diageo; Murat Akyildiz, Director Global Distributor and Travel Retail, P&G Prestige; Muriel Zingraff-Shariff, Retail Concessions Director, Heathrow Airport Limited and Eugenio Andrades, Chief Commercial Officer, World Duty Free Group. They revealed a combined project that runs across categories in the two weeks to 14 February at Heathrow Airport, aimed at growing penetration, footfall and spend. It aimed to add value to the airport experience and to maximise revenues. The partners were candid about the challenges of working together on the project, and on the associated investment - and pledged to reveal full results once the campaign ends in the weeks ahead.
Another Trinity case study came later in the day when Peter-Jan Rozenberg, Director, Schiphol Airport Retail, and
Alan Brennan, Customer Marketing Manager at Nestlé International Travel Retail revealed how a relatively small investment in a store redesign had paid off not only for confectionery but across categories, raising spends and basket sizes on foot of a number of principles around NITR's 'The Perfect Store concept.
The question of whether airports and their partners are really delivering a Sense of Place was the subject of an excellent panel including René Baumann, Vice President – Commercial at Bangalore International Airport and Eric De Jager, CEO Travel Retail, Tourvest.
Later, a further panel assessed how the Trinity could and should raise its collective game to grow the pie for all - this session featuring Susan Whelan, Senior Executive Vice President, King Power International Group (Thailand); Keith Hunter, Senior Vice President, Qatar Duty Free and Barbara Lavernos, Managing Director, L’Oréal Luxe – Travel Retail Worldwide.
Other notable contributors on day one were Roland Abella, Managing Director, Diageo Global Travel & Middle East; Dr. Zhou Ting, Associate Professor of Beijing's University of International Business and Economics & Dean of Fortune Character Institute;
Opening Cocktail The Trinity Forum began on 29 January with a stunning Welcome Reception co-hosted by DFS Group and Diageo. The cocktail took place in the Skylite Bar of the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel. DFS Group Chairman & CEO Philippe Schaus praised the Trinity principles and noted the suitability of the location to travel – surrounded by an iconic Formula One racetrack and under the flight path of one of the world’s major hub airports.
The stunning Skylite lounge was the venue for the DFS and Diageo sponsored Welcome Reception
Diageo Global Travel & Middle East Managing Director Roland Abella toasted the drinks company’s strong partnerships with travel retailers and airports around the world, and gave guests the rare opportunity to sample Johnnie Walker The Spice Road, the first in the brand’s travel retail exclusive Explorers’ Collection.
DFS Chairman & CEO Philippe Schaus and Diageo Global Travel & Middle East Roland Abella welcomed guests to the Trinity Forum 2013
The Moodie Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie (above) and ACI Director General Angela Gittens (below), co-organisers of the Trinity Forum, addressing the guests
Diageo brought the travel retail exclusive Johnnie Walker The Spice Road for a unique outing at the reception
Twitter coverage For the first time the Trinity Forum was covered by a live Twitter feed featuring quotes, speaker pictures and feedback from delegates and interested Twitter users around the world - an audience of well over 30,000 received tweets with hashtag #Trinity2013 in their Twitter feeds. The graphic below illustrates the Twitter coverage and response.