AUSTRALIA. The Australian Airports Association’s inaugural Airport Retail & Commercial Forum concluded 21 July, with themes such as digital innovation, the future for food & beverage, airport property opportunities and the way forward for regional airports prominent.

As reported, the event was organised by the AAA, The Moodie Davitt Report and The Mercurius Group. It was planned as a celebration of survival and resilience for the airport commercial sector as well as an opportunity for airports of all sizes to better understand how to improve non-aeronautical revenues.

Margy Osmond: A powerful advocate for travel and tourism business interests in Australia

Adelaide Airport Landside & Digital Business Manager Christina Selvanayagam took delegates on a journey through the ambitious investment drive behind digital at the southern airport, including the introduction of the ADL Order Now platform in partnership with Servy.

Christina Selvanayagam: The power of digital reach at Adelaide Airport

A strong food & beverage panel discussed the challenge of growing passenger spend rates and sustainability, respectively from Kieran Fitzpatrick, Chief Operating Officer at Delaware North, and Shane Beyer, Chief Operating Officer APAC at SSP. Guests also heard inspiring success stories from two F&B operators at smaller airports, Katelyn Aslett, Founder of Taste Whitsunday and Nerida Baker, Owner and Manager of Beach Grill & Salt Bar at Ballina Byron Airport.

SSP Chief Operating Officer APAC Shane Beyer underlines how sustainability is now a key factor in consumer and investor perceptions of companies. Below, Nerida Baker and Katelyn Aslett on succeeding as small F&B business owners at airports. 

Driving digital innovation across the airport marketplace was the theme of a further panel featuring oOH!Media National Commercial Director Elise Taylor, Wilson Parking Chief Technology Officer Paul Sidwell, First Parking Managing Director Daniel Hitchcock, CPI Partner Jeremy Corfield and Plaza Premium Group Regional General Manager Poh Kiat Lee.

Margy Osmond, CEO of Tourism & Transport Forum Australia, has been a strong voice on behalf of the visitor economy through the pandemic. She outlined the role of tourism in the economy as travel returns, as well as the challenged faced by Australia’s tourism sector from labour to market reputation.

Plaza Premium Group Regional General Manager Poh Kiat Lee on the digital transformation of airport hospitality

DesignInc Director Cathryn Drew-Bredin and Think Global Managing Director Kristy Ihle delivered insightful presentations on the power of design and understanding the traveller, respectively, while the customer experience was the focus for consumer expert Claire Donnellan.

A fascinating look at how regional airports are bouncing back from the impact of the pandemic featured Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager – Operations & Commercial Kate McCreery Carr, Newcastle Airport Commercial Development Manager Andrew Warrender and Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Manager Airport and Commercial Services Paul Tsikleas.

The final session of a memorable two days concerned a key revenue source for many airports: property use. It featured a range of views from Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager Property Development Andrew Hay, Lecturer, Researcher and Consultant in Aviation Dr. Mirjam Wiedemann and Kevin Murphy, who heads investor relations at hospitality consulting brand Horwath HTL.

We will bring you more highlights and images from the event shortly.

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