Friday 16 October, Day 5

Highlights from the Final Day of The Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

The QDF Factor – The Big Reveal 

In the culmination of an extraordinary travel retail competition – and to the inaugural Virtual Travel Retail Expo – Long Haul Spa and Make Sure were today named as the joint grand prize winners of The QDF Factor. Ethical jewellery brand Article 22 was named as the third place runner-up.

Long Haul Spa and Make Sure will each receive a complimentary six-month listing and incredible three-month high-profile promotion in Qatar Duty Free’s award-winning offer at Hamad International Airport, in Doha, Qatar.

Both winners have also been awarded an additional three-month secondary promotion. They will also each receive a US$50,000 multi-media advertising campaign with The Moodie Davitt Report, including a dedicated eZine.

The third-place runner-up, Article 22 will also receive a secondary promotion courtesy of Qatar Duty Free. It was also awarded a US$25,000 multi-media advertising campaign with The Moodie Davitt Report.

Read the full story here

00.00 (SGT)/17.00 (BST): There was an intriguing session in the Knowledge Hub earlier today featuring Damazo Group’s Oana Damian and Muriel Zingraff, two long-time influential players in the sphere of commercial revenue optimisation in airports worldwide. They revealed a new vision and immediately actionable solutions for the ‘quaternity’ of stakeholders in travel retail.

These involve using the airport’s potential as a brand media channel and how they can generate new revenues through omnichannel strategies, in-airport brand activations and data sharing.

Muriel Zingraff (top left) and Oana Damian discuss their vision with Dermot Davitt in a Knowledge Hub session earlier today

In addition, the duo stressed the importance of new revenue business models, which go beyond precedent and minimum guarantees, and benchmarking that encompasses retail as a whole.

Damian stressed that the time is now for transformation and closer collaboration. She said: “This is the moment when the world is stagnating, we have to do something to understand the consumer behaviour, understand the new strategies and business models and understand the means to future-proof the airport industry.

“Everyone involved now has to understand that if they don’t come together as stakeholders to understand the gravity of this, but also the opportunity of it, they will be left behind. If it’s not done now, delaying action for even six months from now, might be too late. The more courageous organisations have already taken steps. So it’s all a matter of where you as airport operator and/or investor want to be on the curve? Do you want to be a leader or a follower?”

Meanwhile, Zingraff called for a new revenue business model which sits at the intersection between airport space, media and retail brands. She said: “There has to be a more immersive and integrated type of approach. Airports are the perfect environment to bring exciting new experiences to travelling consumers. So I think we’ve all got to put our creative boots on. Oana and I both believe that airports are the perfect space to create all of these new revenue streams both for brands and the airports themselves.”

On the Virtual Expo sessions this week, Damian added: “The entire week has been so positive, we’re leaving this on an encouraging note – it makes us happy to see that organisations in our industry have realised the need to move forward now, not just for the short term, but also for the medium and long term, so that this [the period of airport business stagnancy] doesn’t happen again and catch us all off guard.”

A feature on this session follows on The Moodie Davitt Report.

Read an in-depth interview with Oana Damian and Muriel Zingraff from earlier this year on The Moodie Davitt Report here.

Highlighting the power of ume

It’s Choya time as the ume fruit liqueur producer targets the growing demand for healthy products.

Choya is quick to point out that Japan’s ume fruit contains a comparatively high level of organic acids which are regarded very beneficial to good health.

The company is launching The Choya Aged 3 Years Extra Fruit, noting that the expression is “produced with much time and effort without any artificial additives”.

Ferrero Travel Retail underlines its commitment to sustainability

Ferrero Travel Retail is highlighting its key brands, with bold presentations from Kinder and Rafaello, but it is its commitment to sustainability which is catching the attention of many stand visitors.

Ferrero’s aim is to have all its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. Check out the video below and visit its stand for more details.

20.30 (SGT)/13.30 (BST): A very interesting presentation has just been broadcast in the Knowledge Hub, delivered by Olivier Jager, Co-founder and CEO of ForwardKeys, the travel data analytics expert.

Speaking from Spain’s Valencia Airport, Jager reminded travel retail stakeholders just how important fresh data will be in mapping the recovery. He said: “Today most businesses use data in order to understand trends so that they can adjust inventory, deploy marketing tactics or apply specific strategies.

The power of fresh data: Olivier Jager addresses the Knowledge Hub on location at Valencia Airport

“But essentially these practices have been using historical information. The problem [since COVID-19] is there’s no such thing anymore. We need to rely on a new type of data that’s connected to immediate demand.

“That could be an analysis of searches and booking patterns, it can be forecasts, but using historical components for projections into the future is actually gone. The power of new data can answer key questions so that brands can make the right decisions in near real time.”

Jager stated his company’s most recent prediction – based on advanced flight bookings – that air passenger numbers will finish around -62% for 2020, compared with last year.

This table shows how searches for domestic flights have rocketed in the Asia Pacific region

Using existing ticket data compiled by ForwardKeys, Jager predicts Q4 2020 will see a drop of -71% in air passengers with international (-81%) and domestic (-58%) contributing to that total.

He said soaring numbers of domestic flight searches give cause for optimism, citing the examples of Japan, Thailand, South Korea and New Zealand, where consumers have doubled or even tripled the number of domestic flight searches they have made this year.

Another bright note Jager highlighted was duty free sales on China’s burgeoning Hainan island, where spend has grown a huge +227% year-on-year for the three months to September 30, driven by the enhanced duty free shopping policy introduced on 1 July by the Chinese authorities.

ForwardKeys will be providing very specific information on the key Chinese market in the future, with data and insights from its new Chinese Shopper Tracker. These are sure to be important tools for brands in targeting that crucial market.

For more insights, view the video presentation on demand here.

Happy 100th anniversary Haribo

Haribo is marking its 100th anniversary with a colourful range of travel retail exclusive treats which include its stand-out Candy Tins.

Join the brand’s celebrations through a series of videos which are screening on-stand.

19.30 (SGT)/12.30 (BST): Fashion, Accessories & Lifestyle Walkthrough 

Desigual is taking Virtual Travel Retail Expo visitors on a quick trip to Barcelona, with a special virtual tour of their head offices and their real-life showroom.

Desigual is exhibiting its El Now! collection which features a wide range of colourful womenswear, menswear and children’s styles, with a special focus on accessories. The Virtual Showroom is full of interactive elements and video content, perfect to excite any visitor/buyer. It is supported by a complementary website, which gives potential buyers a more in-depth look at each individual product. It also helps them choose specific colours and sizes for various SKUs and tailor their orders.

Desigual is taking Expo visitors on a virtual tour of their real-life showroom. Click here to visit their #Virtual Stand 

Diamanti Per Tutti is exhibiting its travel retail-exclusive Wanderlust collection, as well as its  Luxor and Marie 2.0 lines. As reported, Marie 2.0 is the company’s latest designer collaboration with Versailles-based Belgian designer Marie Martens.

Diamanti Per Tutti translates to ‘Diamonds of All.’ Click here to visit their stand.

Furla is exhibiting the latest iterations of its best-selling Metropolis range. It is also highlighting the new colours and patterns for the Furla 1927 crossbody. Click here to visit Furla’s stand and discover its latest collections.

Zegna is shining the light on sustainability and showcasing its eco-conscious #UseTheExisting range. It is also highlighting the versatility of its collection with its  ‘5 Multifunctional Must-Haves’ video. As reported, #UseTheExisting embraces the use of pre-existing or post-consumer fabrics and materials across Ermenegildo Zegna’s fashion range. It aims to promote circular economy practices and minimise the brand’s environmental footprint.

Zegna is also taking Expo visitors on a virtual tour of the Oasi Zegna forest, Oasi Zegna is the company’s long-term carbon sink project that aims to combat the effects of climate change. It was launched in 1993, when Ermenegildo Zegna planted 500,000 conifers in the Biella Alps, where the original Ermenegildo Zegna wool mill is located.

Click here to visit Ermenegildo Zegna’s stand and learn more about its sustainability commitments

Happy Socks is showcasing three cruise-exclusive styles for men and women at its #Virtual Stand. The men’s styles are Anchor, Rope and Wave, while the women’s styles are Wave, Anchor and Life Buoy. Happy Socks’ cruise-exclusive styles were recognised at the Travel Retail Awards 2019.

Click here to visit Happy Socks

MCM is exhibiting its travel-focused collection at its #Virtual Stand. ‘Technomad’  features a combination of deconstructed sportswear and convertible tailoring pieces for both men and women. It offers monogram-printed denim shirts and jackets, tribal-inspired geometric printed tops and bottoms, and high and low top sneakers.

Discover MCM’s’ Technomad range at their #Virtual Stand by clicking here

Victorinox is underlining the power of its multi-category portfolio at its #Virtual Stand. As reported, the brand yesterday relaunched its Heritage Fragrance collection through an interactive Engagement Lounge session. It is also highlighting its Airox Hardside luggage range, FieldForce GMT watch line and paying homage to its Swiss Army Knife heritage.

Click here to visit Victorinox’s Stand or watch its Engagement Lounge Session On-Demand here

19.30 (SGT)/12.30 (BST): Alex Seret, the CEO and Owner at Contineo Labs and Generation Research, offered a preview of a new confectionery data panel.

For the panel, five leading confectionery companies (Ferrero, Haribo, Lindt & Sprüngli, Mondelez and Perfetti van Melle) have shared quarterly sales data since the start of 2018.

Seret outlines the alternative method he used to build the confectionery panel

“The strength of this panel is that a key reading of the industry is now available broken down by segment and categorisation, which individual actors can use internally to make their own reports,” Seret told attendees in the Knowledge Hub.

He added that the next steps for the panel will involve Onboarding new participants, having a better geographic split, measuring additional attributes and increasing the scope of the data.

The chance to win a US$3,000 whisky

Bacardi is spotlighting its competition offering delegates the chance to win a bottle of limited-edition Craigellachie 33-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, valued at around US$3,000.

Elsewhere in the Bacardi suite, the company offers an intuitive guide to its diverse spirits portfolio and the latest consumer trends it is looking to capitalise on.

The intuitive Bacardi suite offers clues and information leading into the quiz

“Whisky made by history”: Loch Lomond Group spotlights Glen Scotia

Loch Lomond Group is showcasing Scotch whisky brands Loch Lomond, Glen Scotia and Littlemill, alongside its Ben Lomond gin.

Behind the Glen Scotia brand is a fascinating tale which dubs the Campbeltown region as Scotland’s “whiskiest”. Apparently there was a time when whisky coursed through the town’s streets and there was a distillery on every corner.

Check out the stand for details, along with some fascinating brand videos.

Here is a recap of our favourite moments from Day 4 of The Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

“За здоровье” from Russian Standard Vodka

За здоровье and cheers from Roust as its Russian Standard Vodka relaunches with updated packaging to showcase the brand’s history and Russian origin.

Russian Standard Holding Founder and Chairman Roustam Tariko believes the brand is setting a “high benchmark for the entire industry in terms of the quality of vodka and its packaging”.

“We are pleased to present the first revolutionary update and offer a modern perception of the traditions of high quality of the best Russian premium vodka in the world,” he added.

17.40 (SGT)/10.40 (BST): Camus presented a fascinating introduction to the world’s best-selling spirit: Baijiu.

First of all, Jim Boyce, the founder of World Baijiu Day, outlined the history, fermentation process and a guide to how best to enjoy the spirit.

Camus Director – Chinese Spirits Judal Zhao then detailed the art of toasting, where she explained the fascinating culture behind Baijiu drinking at Chinese banquets.

She then introduced viewers to the Spirit of China collection, a four-bottle range exclusive to travel retail, featuring three bottles from Moutai and one from Shede.

Click here to view a special edition of The Moodie Davitt Report’s Spotlight series, which gives an in-depth introduction to Baijiu

15.30 (SGT)/8.30 (BST): AOE Founder & CEO Kian Gould presented a keynote address called ‘What got us here won’t get us there,’ which explored how a collaborative mindset can help reinvent airport ancillary revenue generation in the post-COVID era.

According to Gould, the COVID-19 crisis has exposed a lack of investment in digitalisation and online ecosystems in the industry. He also noted the falling spend per pax and drop in conversions.

“In the long-term things will not bounce back quickly,” said Gould. “We have to do a lot more than just hope that pent-up demand will come back. We need to get back to attraction, engagement and excitement. While we can’t do that in the journey, we have to move that to pre-journey and post-journey.”

Gould also stressed the importance of simple, convenient, touchless research, reserve & collect services to engage with passengers. He also urged travel retail stakeholders to start thinking outside of the box and tell real stories of sense of place, sustainability and purpose.

In addition, Gould also discussed how collaboration is key to driving true customer experiences. He said, “Reinvention means a fundamental paradigm shift. We need to move from competition to collaboration, offline to online, unified to achieve not just ‘the new normal’ but instead the new extraordinary.”

KrisShop CEO Chris Pok shared his vision on the future of travel retail. Pok spearheaded KrisShop’s incredible omnichannel transformation over the last year.

“KrisShop was setup with a single goal, to transform the traditional airline retail model,” he said. “We envision commerce as our core. We want to become a premium omnichannel retailer built on service excellence and innovation. We now sell more categories than ever before, and our customers can buy anywhere and anytime with plenty of fulfilment opportunities.”

Commenting on how KrisShop has navigated the crisis, Pok said: “COVID-19 hit us very badly. Amidst the pandemic, we pivoted quickly to better serve our domestic market with ecommerce offerings. In a short time, we onboarded over 200 brands, opened two new concept stores and opened more than ten official brand stores.

“We feel that the future of travel retail remains bright,” Pok added. “Why? Because the core fundamental of travel retail has not changed. It remains highly lucrative because the travel market will always grow post-COVID. More importantly it is part of the core business of the airlines.”

Auckland Airport Head of Omnichannel Jayne Wear concluded the webinar by outlining how Auckland Airport has reimagined the airport retail experience. “Our retail proposition has come a long way. 20 years ago, we were leveraging physical stores, today it is very different,” Wear said.

“Our objective has always been to deliver to our customers a seamless shopping experience. It was during 2017 that we began planning and investing in omnichannel retailing. We launched our vertical ecommerce platform The Mall and unveiled our new logistics and fulfilment platform the Collection Point.”

The Collection Point is a service used by international passengers to collect their downtown duty free purchases before departure at Auckland Airport.

“These were ambitious projects,” added Wear. “However, they provided us with the ability to extend our retail strategy from on-terminal physical to online and off airport. In doing so, we now have the underlying technology in place to cater to different traveller segments with various propositions.”

17.30 (SGT)/10.30 (BST): The extraordinary eco-system that ecommerce powerhouse Alibaba Group has created for its business partners and consumers was eloquently explained in a key Knowledge hub session today by Janice Chen, Head of Cross Border Payment Operations and Marketing at Alipay.

Janice Chen: Reach the right audience at the right moment with the right content

While the technology may be highly complex, the group’s proposition is simple: reach the right audience at the right moment with the right content. It’s data-driven, highly personalised and connects brands and retailers with a consumer audience in constantly evolving ways. And, as the slide underneath shows, travel retail is very much part of that eco-system too, with retailers in Hainan showing surging sales during Golden Week, aided by their digital partnerships with Alipay and Alibaba.

15.26 (SGT)/08.26 (BST): As The QDF Factor – our joint initiative with Qatar Duty Free to encourage and champion creativity in travel retail – draws to its conclusion later today, you can have your say on which of the ten finalists impresses you most. The announcement of the winner will represent a memorable conclusion to the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2020. Vote for your choice below. Tune in at 2pm UK/9pm Singapore time for the Big Reveal, available at this link.

powered by Typeform

Friday 16 October, Day 5

#MyHabanosMoment: Share your Habanos experience on social media

Habanos is encouraging visitors to share their cigar moments on Instagram as it reveals new lines from Montecristo, Bolivar, Partagás, Juan López, Hoyo de Monterrey and H. Upmann.

Trinidad Robustos Extra and ‘golden romance’ Romeo y Julieta are in the Habanos spotlight while a featured video celebrates La Casa del Habano’s 30th anniversary.

14.45 (SGT)/07.45 (BST): A reminder that UK-based independent Out of Home specialist The Talon Group and its international division Plexus are offering a remarkable US$250,000 free airport media space to one business partner that visits its Expo booth. Click here for access.

In addition, the client will benefit from free creative services from Talon’s specialist digital OOH creative agency Grand Visual.

The striking Plexus space at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo this week

The company – which has taken its place in the Omnichannel/Travel Retail Services hall in the Exhibition Hub – is hosting partners and showing its flagship presentation ‘Effectively engaging with the connected traveller during the new consumer journey’.

The opportunity to win the services will be open to any company that believes it would benefit from a multi-market airport campaign. Potential winners can visit the booth and answer some questions based on the group’s presentation, to be entered into a draw. We will reveal the winner after the encore period that follows the Virtual Expo, during which partners can still visit the experience.

12.15 (SGT)/05.15 (BST): All is set fair for the grand reveal of The QDF Factor winner later today, the culmination of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2020. And take a look at how the amazing joint Qatar Duty Free and Hamad International Airport virtual stand is showcasing the moment. You feel as if you’re actually in the airport.

08.15 (SGT)/01.15 (BST): Here are the numbers to date for the inaugural Virtual Travel Retail Expo. We committed from the start to total transparency and we think these figures affirm the validity of the virtual concept.

MONDAY: 2,572
TUESDAY: 2,285
08.10 (SGT)/11.10 (BST): 

One of the highlights of the entire Expo was the interactive masterclass run in appropriately masterly fashion yesterday by Camus.

Who says you cannot have a real tasting virtually? Camus sent out a tasting kit to registrants before the Virtual Expo and then hooked up with them yesterday (twice, to cover off different time zones). These screengrabs do not justice to the wonderfully immersive experience, which you can watch via the On Demand folder in the Engagement Lounge within the Experience Hub. An innovative concept, beautifully executed.

The masterclasses deep dived into the Camus range of Intensely Aromatic Cognacs, through a virtual exploration of the key phases of production and the iconic places where this happens.

Thanks to an unprecedented format which puts together theory and practice, Camus showed links and connections between specific aromas in the glass and distinctive processes that enhance them in the vineyard and winemaking, during distillation and ageing. Through specific call to actions, the audience was invited to smell, touch and taste, using props and liquids which are provided in their tasting kits.

Thursday 15 October, Day 4

23.55 (SGT)/16.55 (BST): It wouldn’t be a travel retail event without Barry Geoghegan and the Duty Free Global team hosting some cocktails, and that is what they did virtually.

The team welcomed guests from all corners of the world for drinks, a chance to catch up and a quiz on the Duty Free Global portfolio. The quiz is still open for any visitors to the Expo that email

Duty Free Global Founder Barry Geoghegan (second from left, third row) welcomed guests from several time zones for cocktails

23.45 (SGT)/16.45 (BST): The highly-respected Hamad International Airport (HIA) COO Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer has appeared on screen in the Knowledge Hub, introducing a very smart video presentation of how the airport has kept on innovating and developing in recent times, despite the manifold challenges of COVID-19.

HIA COO Engr. Badr Mohammed Al Meer introduces a great video summarising recent and future happenings at the Qatari travel hub

The spectacular Doha travel hub is already firmly-established in many people’s favourite airport lists, and its splendour will welcome a huge new audience in 2022, when it will provide an incredible arrival and departure experience to football fans visiting Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.

In the video, you will see how HIA has taken swift, comprehensive steps to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and staff and get a view of its fast-expanding retail and food & beverage offer, and wider airport expansion plans.

Enjoy the video here.

23.00 (SGT)/16.00 (BST): Sales – shaken not stirred

SPARK Group of Companies Founder & President Heidi Van Roon, a dynamo of the industry, carried a strong message about the vital role of sales staff in travel retail in this Knowledge Hub session.

“There is no role on the shop floor that is more strategic than the one which is customer facing,” she said. “If retailers and brands want to host the most effective customer experience then it is time to hold a magnifying glass over the sales function.”

Van Roon said luxury travel retail is undergoing an unprecedented change, a “retail revolution”. “With the industry restructuring, the onus is more and more on brands to ensure a people positive experience.

“Of all the positions the most critical role will be the sales function. This is the role which differentiates physical retail from online retail. This role does what digital cannot do. It brings the brand to life and it creates that bespoke moment and genuine connection,” Van Roon added.

She underlined the need for meeting and exceeding customer expectations. “Memorable customer moments reinforce customer brand power. This brand power, and these branding moments, will prove the relevance of physical retail, and the capabilities of travel retail, to rebound.

“This is the time to elevate the sales profession, to invest in the tremendous weight this role holds because every SKU, every brand, every retailer and every traveller in travel retail depends on the sales role.”

Van Roon suggested retailers study and build on the click-and-collect model to offer click-and-select options. She highlighted improved digital integration to avoid stock problems, a focus on sales effectiveness and staffing optimisation.

23.00(SGT)/16:00(BST): In an illuminating knowledge hub session, Bernstein Senior Analyst and Boston Consulting Group Senior Advisor Luca Solca evaluated the current state of the luxury industry. According to Solca, luxury demand is proving more resilient than expected despite major protracted disruption to travel and lifestyles.  “Despite the challenges of COVID-19, luxury demand is proving resilient. The first half was difficult, most luxury houses reported double-digit decline, but summer was a different matter,” he said.

“While in Europe the COVID-19 situation looks like it is going into a second wave, almost all of the luxury market growth is coming from the Chinese market. China’s market is expected to increase and reach north of 40-45% growth by 2025.”

He added that while COVID-19 has shifted luxury spending to Asia, that Western markets may still see a resurgence. “Europe’s luxury market is down because there are no overseas tourists. However, middle to upper-middle class consumers in Europe and America significantly reduced their spend in the first-half of 2020 and now have a lot of buying power to spend so the luxury demand is there,” he said.

He also illustrated how the luxury goods industry is going through major changes in distribution and communication. “Pre-COVID-19, traffic for luxury brands was already a challenge. As a barrier against losing traffic in their full-priced flagship stores, brands are building a closed loop of their distribution. They have also been investing in new ways to bring traffic back to flagship stores. This includes offering refreshments, cafes, VIP rooms, personal shoppers, by invitation only exclusives, pop-up stores, art installations, in-store events and time-limited capsule collections.”

“All of this activity is very costly,” he added. “Scale matters even more in this environment, so the larger you are the more operating leverage you have, the more you can engage in new initiatives to bring back traffic to stores. However, if you are relatively small and your space productivity is mediocre, your ability to commit new costs to this trend would be limited as well.”

Despite the challenges, Solca also underscored how travel retail remains a strategic growth opportunity for many luxury brands. He said, “The travel retail market has always proven resilient. this was the case in 911 and SARs and in the 90s during the gulf wars. If consumers still have a job and can buy luxury goods in their own country they will.

“With the pandemic we saw a boost in digital consumption. Airport stores used to be a relative niche area but has become a primary and most important axis to brand development and distribution.”

“All brands have travel retail as one of the top two priorities. We need to look at the materiality of how things shape up, without the pandemic being under control – travel will not go back to normal. However, it’s not all bad news. Once things start to turn, travel retail will once again become a top priority in the industry.”

The Tiffany Blue Box café is an excellent case study of a luxury brand giving customers more reasons to return to stores

Commenting on how luxury brands can win in times of crisis, Solca said: “What this year has taught everyone is that you can never rest on your laurels. To some extent, brands need to continue to reinvent themselves and stay relevant to consumers. They need to integrate new values and ideas that are in-sync with the current zeitgeist and the spirit of the times. Maintaining fresh creativity is key.”

The webinar also featured a brief introduction to the work of luxury consultancy TW.O & Partners from TW.O & Partners Senior Partner Marco Ghiotto. Ghiotto outlined how the company can help support luxury brands with expertise all sides of the travel retail sector from manufacturing, retail, distribution, consultancy and airport operations.

22.40 (SGT)/15.40 (BST): Whyte & Mackay is running competitions in its suite to give visitors the chance to win either a bottle of Jura 12-Year-Old The Bay or Fettercairn 16-Year-Old, both of which are travel retail exclusives.

At the Virtual Expo, Whyte & Mackay is also discussing the universal appeal of its Scotch portfolio and its new omnichannel strategy for travel retail.

Whyte & Mackay is presenting Scotch whisky products from its Power Brands, Discovery Brands and Affordable Malt categories in its Platinum Suite

22.30 (SGT)/15.30 (BST): MAG-O Managing Director Brad Miller discussed how Manchester Airports Group is trying to adapt, innovate and collaborate with its non-aeronautical partners.

MAG-O aims to leverage technology and share information to benefit all stakeholders at MAG’s airports, as well as join up the whole customer journey to create a continuous experience, Miller said.

He added: “We want to shift airports to be more than just landlords. We can give a pretty good indication of average dwell time, and we want to be able to give much more information with certainty.”

22.15 (SGT)/15.15 (BST): There has been some great innovation from liquor companies in the Exhibition Hub.

The diverse Distell portfolio is given a strong airing, with a video for Amarula playing in the background at the stand

Mind the Kraken: Proximo Spirits has put the distinctive Kraken Rum brand front and centre

A wide range of information on the colourful and eye-catching Stoli portfolio is available for visitors to the stand

22.00 (SGT)/15.00 (BST: It has been humbling to see the magnificent creativity and huge effort that has gone into the experiences developed by our partners for this event. Take this beautiful space by Chase Distillery, which features not only a stunning display and the very latest brand presentation, but also bespoke welcomes from family member and brand ambassador James Chase and MD Andrew Carter. Check out the experience here.

A warm welcome to Chase Distillery from James Chase, one of many great partners in the spirits & wines zone

Embracing the KOL Opportunity

The KOL Workshop outlined how travel retail brands can embrace the KOL opportunity

FILTR and leading Asian communications consultancy QINRIVE hosted a KOL workshop today, bringing together a roster of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) covering perfumes and cosmetics, wines and spirits and fashion and lifestyle.

The panel was comprised of Chinese actress and influencer Karen Lee, Josue Romero ‘The Garnish Guy’, Paul Kristoff ‘The City Lane,’ Singapore-based beauty KOL Yurina and DeisgnByGemini and MakeSure Founders Elena and Giulia Sella.

The workshop was co-hosted by FILTR Communications Director James Brown, QINRIVE CEO Kelly Gao and The Moodie Davitt Report Fashion, Beauty & Social Media Editor Hannah Tan-Gillies. It also featured a virtual Q&A session with Yurina.

The KOL panel discussed the most important insights and trends in the growing KOL market and outlined how brands can embrace the KOL opportunity. While traditional means of communication may be curtailed due to the crisis, KOLs represent an innovative avenue to reach customers and engage with new audiences.

(Left) Karen Lee has an audience hailing from all over Asia Pacific (right) Yurina has a following of over 2.95 million on Weibo and is one of China’s top beauty KOLs

“We have groups on WeChat with specific interests like beauty, fashion, tech. These groups are very strong and are very connected to KOLS. Most of the VIP shoppers on my livestreams come from these groups, ” said Yurina. “The people who get into these groups are my true fans and need to be qualified by administrators. I try to go into these groups once a week and talk to my fans.

“Since COVID-19, healthcare and skincare topics have also become more popular in China right now. China is growing so fast, so the content is constantly changing,” Yurina added.

The Sella sisters are also exhibiting their #CleanVibesOnly philosophy and hand sanitiser brand MakeSure at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo

The Sella sisters commented, “What our followers want is our unique point of view and strong aesthetic. We also create Instagrammable installations which is our favourite way to partner with brands and interact with our audience in the real world. We think KOLs will become more important because of the growing digital trend. It’s important for brands to find KOLs that really resonate with their brand values.”

In Asia Pacific, KOLs have found new ways to monetise their audiences, particularly through livestreaming. Livestreaming has become a key growth driver for brands amid the COVID-19 crisis and building relationships with KOLs is key to tapping into this opportunity.

Lee said, “Consumer behaviours are moving towards online shopping. There’s a lot of opportunity for brands and KOLs because we can do a lot of engagement with new audiences who want to imitate KOLs’ lifestyles.”

(Left) Paul Kristoff invites audiences to see the world through his eyes; (right) Joshua Romero creates content around the world of spirits

So, what is the future of monetisation? It’s all goes back to authenticity. Brand collaboration and monetisation will only work by fostering trust, authenticity, and relevance between KOL, brand and audience. Kristoff added, “Brands are realising a deeper connection is required, whereas in the past they would simply pay for sponsored posts. I want to work with brands that really connect with me to find that link. The story is important as well. The influencer you are working with needs to relate with your brand.”

There is still plenty of areas for growth in the KOL market, particularly in the travel retail channel. According to our panel, KOLs can also play a key role in encouraging customers to travel again or help them evoke memories of travel through alternative experiences.

Yurina said, “There’s many ways for travel retail brands to work with KOLs to increase awareness. Many Chinse consumers have never travelled abroad and so KOLs can really help them in that area. KOLs can also help brands online and offline through live-streaming at events and showing their audiences the travel retail stores, enticing their audiences to visit them.”

She added, “In Sanya, they have increased the quota and a lot of Chinese consumers don’t know that. I think we can do a vlog on this and inform more consumers about Sanya duty free’s new shopping policy.”

18.30 (SGT)/11.30 (BST). Puig and Penhaligon’s celebrate 150 years of fragrant tales

Puig celebrated 150 years of fragrant tales by Penhaligon’s at the Engagement Lounge. The webinar showcased the richness of Penhaligon’s fragrance heritage and explored its best-selling fragrances across its British Tales, Trade Routes and Portraits lines.

The webinar was led by Puig Retail Education Manager Dominic Collingridge, who shared his love of and passion for perfumery. Through a series of fantastic animated videos, Collingridge  shared the story of William Penhaligon’s life and his journey to creating one of the UK’s most-loved fragrance houses.

17.30 (SGT)/10.30 (BST). Victorinox took visitors on a journey to through the senses by debuting its relaunched fragrance line. The webinar was hosted by Victorinox Global Fragrance Manager Gloria Dix — a long-time beauty and fragrance sales expert — who helped create the new Victorinox Heritage collection.

As reported, the revamped fragrance assortment, which are presented in updated, eye-catching packaging, incorporate a storytelling approach. The Victorinox Heritage Collection evokes images of crisp mountain air, crystal clear lakes and delicate alpine flowers. Its fragrances, according to the brand, offer the “experience of a unique journey into Switzerland’s beautiful nature,” said Dix.

Victorinox combines its Swiss roots with a stronger brand appearance and product identity in the revamped fragrance collection

16.30 (SGT)/9.30 (BST). Laboratoires Filorga hosted a stellar webinar this morning which traced the aesthetic medicine brand’s history and development in travel retail.

It also highlighted Laboratoires Filorga’s growing international footprint and its latest range of products with a special focus on the Meso-Mask, which has resonated strongly with Chinese consumers.

It also highlighted the NCEF-Essence Daily Perfect-Skin Effect Lotion, the Filorga Time-Filler, Optim-Eyes cream, Optim-Eyed Boosted, Optim-Eyes Refresh and Optim-Eyes On-the-Go.

Laboratoires Filorga is accelerating its travel retail network

The webinar was hosted by Laboratoires Filorga CEO Bertrand Frohly, International Director Jean-Charles Séité, Global Travel Retail Director Nicolas Rimeau, Marketing & Content Manager Jonathan Baughman-Marc, International Merchandising Director Laurent Wickham, and Global Digital Director Thomas Laroia.

It also offered guests a chance to win some Filorga products with a lucky draw.

#kindnessmatters: Women in Travel Retail get together for ImpactHK… and welcomes huge support from FILTR

Women in Travel Retail’s annual fund raising meeting – on a Zoom link and without the usual Palais des Festivals chatter – was well supported by members from all over the globe. As some sipped an evening wine, others were watching the sun rise.

As reported, WiTR’s nominated charity this year is ImpactHK which supports the homeless in Hong Kong, with a particular focus on women and the aged. Women on the streets, as in many other cities, are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to abuse and attack.

The charity’s Founder Jeff Rotmeyer joined the meeting. He was “blown away” by the news that FILTR, The Moodie Davitt Report’s partner in curating the Virtual Travel Retail Expo, was donating US$16,000 to support ImpactHK.

FILTR, and its partner Qingwa, pledged to donate a portion of all design fees from the Virtual Travel Retail Expo to the charity.

The meeting featured an extremely challenging quiz, with Essential Communications Owner Row Holland claiming the top prize of a handcrafted Coccinelle handbag.

18.30 (SGT)/ 11.30 (BST):  

Who says you cannot have an end of day party at a Virtual Expo? No-one told Barry Geoghegan that! Here’s an amazing invitation from his Duty Free Global team.

Dear Friends,

We hope to see you this PM for our Quiz!!

On behalf of the Duty Free Global team, I am delighted to invite you for the very first Duty Free Global End of Virtual Show Cocktail & Quiz, scheduled on Thursday 15th of October from 18h-18h30 CET.

Usually you’d receive an invite for our cocktail on the beach in Cannes at this time of the year.

Unfortunately we’re all in a different situation currently, however, we’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to toast with us on the very first Virtual Moodie Davitt Travel Retail Expo and join us for a fun quiz.

Kindly find the link to the quiz below – please note registration in advance is required:

We’d like to invite you to come and join us and if you like, wear your countries colors to celebrate our global channel.

Have a drink (or drinks) of your preference ready to celebrate friendship at 18h CET.

We look forward seeing you all then and although we’re happy to see you virtually, we hope to see you soon in real life to raise a glass.

All the best,

Barry, Carmel, Harry, Kerri and Nathalie

Team DFG

18.15 (SGT)/11.15 (BST): Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail Global Head of Strategy, Insights and Intelligence Anuj Roy delivered exactly what you would have expected from his job title in an insightful Knowledge Hub session.

Roy revealed how Pernod Ricard is keeping on top of new and evolving trends

Roy said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in people being more wary of enclosed areas. “Our consumer-centric approach has enabled us to fully understand these shifts in behaviour, the impact this will have on our business and ultimately the strategy we have to put into place so that we are ready to meet the change in demand,” he added.

To be ahead of the curve Pernod Ricard has a dashboard monitoring any surges in travel trends and is regularly surveying consumer sentiment, Roy said.

Santa Margherita launches Merlot Veneto 2018

With a dual focus on sustainability and its commitment to travel retail, the Italian wine specialist presents the latest edition to its channel-exclusive range.

Merlot Veneto 2018 is presented in innovative packaging from 100% recycled paper. According to Santa Margherita, the wine “brings a whole new dimension” to its dedicated travel retail range, which, until now, has focused on Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Brut and Sparkling Rosé Brut, and best-selling Pinot Grigio Valdadige.

Beniamino Garofalo, CEO of the Santa Margherita Wine Group, comments: “Tailoring what we offer, and seeking out new differentiation strategies, are the pillars on which our constant research for the duty free sector is founded.

“As a brand which is known and loved on a global scale and present in 94 different international markets, it is only right that we devote ourselves to this premium channel and we will continue to do so, working towards launching other new products with exclusive packaging into the market over the upcoming months.”

As reported, Santa Margherita Gruppo Vinicolo was recently named ‘Winery of the Year’ by the Gamero Rosso Italian Wines 2021 guide.

Click on the YouTube link above to watch our favourite moments from Day 3 of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

18.30 (SGT)/ 11.30 (BST):Have you visited @TONYMOLY’s stand at the Beauty & Wellbeing Hub yet?  #VirtualStand BT-S13. 

TONYMOLY offers colourful K beauty products that combine quality ingredients with an innovative spirit and playful packaging. The brand was launched in Seoul in 2006 and is hailed as a pioneer of South Korean beauty. It is highlighting its Intense Care Gold 24k Snail Cream range and its Chok Chok Green tea Line made with fermented green tea.

A reminder also, that Long Haul Spa, one of our exhibitor partners in the Beauty & Wellbeing Hall, is giving away a beautiful Long Haul Spa kit to one lucky retailer visitor every day. One visit equals one entry to the draw.

So far, the lucky winners have been

Oct 12, Monday: Diane Yoo from Lotte Duty Free

Oct 13, Tuesday: Hasith Jayamanne from King Power

Oct 14, Wednesday: Yeok Was Chua from The Shilla Duty Free

Click here to visit Long Haul Spa

An international blend

Platinum Partner, Beam Suntory,said it has “brought together the world’s most highly regarded whisky regions” for its latest travel retail exclusive.

Suntory World Whisky Ao, which will be available in 16 markets, is a blend of whisky from renowned distilleries in Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Canada and the US. The name Ao, meaning blue, refers to the oceans that connect the five countries.

Read the full story here

Blue is the colour: The name Ao refers to the oceans that connect the five countries

18.00 (SGT)/ 11.00 (BST): Three Out of Home advertising specialists – oOh! Chief Commercial & Product Officer Robbie Dery, Talon Outdoor/ Plexus Director of International Tom Perrett and Havas Media Director Asia Pacific Franck Vidal – met in this special Knowledge Hub session to assess the airport media channel and how it is coping with the crisis.

As leader of the Plexus team, Perrett is responsible for delivering Smarter as Standard, which aims to find solutions for clients across multiple markets and environments. He considered how the channel can help the airport world of the future and how new demands from consumers and advertisers will change the way the industry works.

He highlighted three key factors – compassion, adaptation and understanding –  in post COVID-19 advertising and the importance of adjusting to changes in customer mind-set. Recent research, he says, indicates that 87% of travellers would use tech to to navigate their way around the airport and 71% will limit human interactions.

This move from a seamless to a “genuinely touchless” consumer journey experience in airports, and the way it impacts advertisers and how they communicate, can’t be underestimated, he added.

Vidal discussed integrated solutions which fuse mobile and oOH, with a focus on major Asian markets and highlights how COVID-19 has accelerated digital expectation for travel retail advertising.

He said that airports and airlines are facing unprecedented challenges but should be taking the opportunity to accelerate their digital transformations to adapt to the new traveller experience shifting towards online transactions.

“We can’t also forget what airports provide in terms of physical experience and brand experience. Airport media operators should fill the gap to uplift the duty free store visits,” he said, using the crisis as an “opportunity to collectively create a holistic approach to travel retail brands”.

Dery addressed the question of how partnerships can and should evolve, and the value of more robust data in shaping the future of this channel.

He identified quality environment and high dwell time as key value drivers for airport advertising. Value drivers for brands, he said, will remain but with a greater focus on return on investment.

He underlined the importance of airport-specific, data based future advertising projects. “Brands are looking for audience solutions as opposed to specific asset solutions,” he said, adding that sharing data with partners will be a differentiator and a key factor in success for airports.

1600 (SGT)/0900 (BST): Watch out for what promises to be a compelling session from a key partner today (12.30 UK/ 1930 SGT): JCDecaux: Drive to Store, Increase Sales, Measure Results. Hear how an advertising giant sees how the future will take shape.

15.00 (SGT)/8.00 (BST): Philip Morris International (PMI) gave visitors to the Experience Hub’s Virtual Showcase room an introduction to its product innovations.

The company presented the most premium IQOS device available: the IQOS 3 Duo Exclusive Traveller Edition, which has launched across 12 airports in South Korea, Japan and Dubai.

PMI then showcased the HEETS Dimensions collection: a range of flavours it collaborated with mixologists and chefs to create. The range launched in in July, but the company was still keen for a major omnichannel launch despite the COVID-19. One part of this allowed customers to scan a QR code to match up to the flavour most suited for them.

PMI is demonstrating its latest innovations throughout the Expo in Virtual Suite TO-P3

Outlining the importance of travel exclusives and limited editions, PMI Marketing Content Manager Emma Wilkie added these represented a “win-win” for both customers and operators.

09.20 (SGT)/02.20 (BST):

“Welcome to Campari Group. Please fasten your seat belt and prepare for take off.”

One of the most engaging stands at the Expo is that hosted by Campari Group.

09.00 (SGT)/02.00 (BST): Some great prizes are on offer to retailers and airports visiting exhibitors at the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo, which concludes tomorrow (16 October).

As part of the Virtual Expo platform, a running ‘Leaderboard’ sits on the top of the site, based on how intensively a visitor has engaged with exhibitors based on several criteria (see table) below.

Our competition is open to retailers and airport executive visitors.

The following great prizes are among those on offer:

          • A bottle of Bowmore Mizunara Cask Finish. This is a seriously amazing liquid and currently on resale for between US$1,800 and US$2,100. It will surely increase further in value based on current auction prices and the rising value of the Bowmore Islay whisky brand under the careful nurturing of brand owners Beam Suntory (Wines, Spirits & Beer Hall). See for details.
          • Courtesy of, two pairs of 2 return flights from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok available for the next one year (i.e. two separate prizes).
          • 1x luxury beauty gift set courtesy of Shiseido Travel Retail (Beauty & Wellbeing Hall)
          • Courtesy of Duty Free Global (Wines, Spirits & Beer Hall): A bottle of Scarabus Islay Single Malt and a bottle of Gunpowder Gin Special Ceramic edition (i.e. two separate prizes)
          • 1x Ray-Ban sunglasses, courtesy of Luxottica and their Virtual Try-On app (Sunglasses Hall)

    All prizes have been kindly donated by our Virtual Expo partners, each of whom has enjoyed a hugely successful week, plus, whose CEO Karen Chan (below) delivered such a brilliant presentation on Monday in the Knowledge Hub

Retailer and airport executives in the top 25 as at 09.00 SGT this morning

Yasith Amarasinghe: Flemingo Duty Free Senior Category Manager – Liquor & Tobacco

Eishwar Turshani: Muscat Duty Free Sr. Business Analyst

Philip Au: DFS Group – Senior Assistant Manager Merchandising & Planning – SWT

Hasith Jayamanne: King Power Traveler Co, Merchandising Executive

Sylvester Menon: King Power Traveler Co, Merchandising

Michael Stewart: Harding Senior Buyer, Liquor Tobacco & Confectionery

Choong Bie Kein: Malaysia Airports Niaga Sdn Bhd, Senior Executive

Naresh Weerasinghe: King Power Traveler Co, Head of Merchandising

Chathura Lakmal: King Power Traveler Co, Merchandising Executive

Avi Hayoun: James Richardson, Category Manager

Wednesday 13 October, Day 3

The Vision Drive lenses reduce glare and maximises contrast and depth perception. They have already been introduced in several Porsche Design collections.

Rodenstock is highlighting its new Vision Drive polarised lens technology. The new lenses feature an innovative combination of contrast enhancing technology and high-tech polarising filters. They are divided into three lines: Polarised, Polarised XTR and Photochromic.

23.45 (SGT)/16.45 (BST): Simpliflying CEO Shashank Nigam discussed how airlines need to be antifragile (something that is just as strong under pressure) in the current climate.

Shashank Nigam: “Can you think differently about the whole business and rethink the way customers are coming to you?”

He put airlines into three groups:

  • Those trying to preserve cash as much as they can to be ready right away for a restart (Porter Airlines, Lufthansa)
  • Those trying to grow a loyal customer base while competitors are resting (Wizz Air, Volaris, Qatar Airways)
  • Those looking to transform by both growing and changing their business in the pandemic (AirAsia)

Nigam added: “Take the opportunity to question everything. Can you think differently about the whole business and rethink the way customers are coming to you?”

Click on the link above for a walk through of some of our Beauty & Wellbeing Exhibitor Stands at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo  

Dr.Ci:Labo is showcasing its Super White 377VC High Penetration Vitamin C Serum, it’s clinic-inspired brightening skincare line. As reported, the brand has also revealed its newly-launched brand identity.

Watch out for Dr.Ci:Labo’s Virtual Bear ‘Shiropy,’ who is the personification the bradn’s founder, Dr. Shirono.

Oribe Hair Care is taking visitors on a journey through its history and highlighting the professional salon quality of its products. Their #Virtual Stand features testimonials from Oribe Hair Care Founders Daniel Kaner & Oribe Canale. It also features easy instructional videos on how to use Oribe products to achieve voluminous, healthy and shiny hair.

Unilever is highlighting its BedHead, AHC and Olly brands at its #Virtual Stand. Bedhead is the company’s salon professional haircare brand, and Olly is it’s millennial-targeted gummy vitamin brand. AHC is Unilever’s new hyaluronic acid-infused skincare line.

Unilever has put a special focus on the AHC’s New Premium EX Hydra B5 Range

20.00 (SGT)/13.00 (BST): TripurX  Ecommerce Marketing Director Sisi Zhang outlined the opportunities in digital commerce and communication in Chinese travel retail.

TripurX has also teamed up with China Duty Free Group to host weekly livestreaming sessions. Recent sessions include brand collaborations with Clarins, Estée Lauder and L’Occitane.

According to Zhang, traditional travel retail is sometimes restricted by targeting outbound travellers, brick and mortar limitations and Chinese consumers’ unfamiliarity with the channel.

In Chinese travel retail however, retail activities are increasingly occurring on mobile, which allows travel retail stakeholders to connect with more potential customers in the digital sphere. “The travel retail industry in mainland China is quite different from the rest of the world,” Zhang said. “In 2020, only 29% of Chinese consumers travelled by air and only 7% of Chinese shoppers travelled abroad. This decreased group is what travel retail usually targets, but by embracing digital, travel retail stakeholders can increase their target market.”

So — how did Chinese travel retailers adapt and pivot to the challenges of COVID-19? According to Zhang, it’s all about accelerating digital. She said, “The answer is to embrace ecommerce and build digital connections.”

According to Zhang, WeChat is China’s top social media platform and vertical industry companies have benefitted from the maturity and openness of WeChat’s ecology, including TripurX.

Zhang also underlined the importance of KOLs and livestreaming in China’s increasingly digital retail landscape. “KOLs are trusted advisors for their followers and so their recommendations on products or events are able to draw up considerable traffic and convert to sales.

“While ecommerce livestreaming in China has existed for several years, it has only now become a widely accepted means of promoting and selling products. In travel retail, it is still developing and offers a big opportunity for brands and retailers looking to connect with audiences.”

The success of Taobao, Douyin and Little Red Book also dip into this livestreaming space. In addition, TripurX’s WeChat account, Globuy, which aims to become the KOL of Chinese travel retail is also making waves in the KOL sphere. Globuy has a monthly audience of two million views and features content on the latest duty free news — in collaboration with The Moodie Davitt Report — on its weekly Duty Free News Flash.

21.45 (SGT)/15.45 (BST): We’ve heard some strong and positive messages about the future of the industry in the Knowledge Hub sessions – the latest a forward-thinking view of collaboration from Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports.

The idea of extending the Trinity to a ‘quaternity’, involving airlines, is not a new one, but Griffiths has laid down a new path that could actually substantially increase the size of the pie for all four components of it.

He said: “I would be very, very happy to talk to our airline partners and say that travel retail, the airport and the airlines need to work together [to sell products]. There needs to be a mechanism for rewarding that shared space. And I think if airlines would participate in boosting travel retail revenues at key airports like DXB, we would respond by rebating the costs of doing business at the airport through a commission structure based on sales.”

A high class panel gave their thoughts on how collaboration could benefit the travel retail industry

Griffiths proposed that each airline would receive a rebate of its landing fees based on the amount that they were able to contribute towards the travel retail revenue generated. He added: “If we could make it work, we’d all benefit from the increasing volume. And we’ll all be prepared to share the upside of that with the people that make that possible [the airlines].”

He said that the COVID-19 crisis has brought into very sharp focus the ecommerce potential threat, but also the opportunity, for travel retail. He continued: “Fulfilment gives us all a massive opportunity, because clearly fulfilment is far better handled on the ground. But the opportunities to see [view products, using wifi] exist mostly in the air. So the disconnection of those two things enabled through ecommerce could actually mean that we rethink the whole travel retail chain, from start to finish, and everyone has a different part to play.”

Griffiths noted that very few airlines have integrated retail operations with partners on the ground, because they have “the obsession of carrying the stock with them in the air”. He said: “This is incredibly wasteful, and expensive. So why not combine the almost limitless availability of products on the ground with opportunities to view them in the air and not limit the catalogue to anything that you can carry on-board?”

He believes such an approach will bring “huge benefits, huge cost savings and huge efficiencies through the combination of logistics”. He added that the opportunities to see could only go one way and that is up. He said: “I think we have to get this conversation going quickly. And we have to get people talking a different language, to use the tools that are now available and very, very familiar to the consumer thanks to the crisis.

Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said the airports under his jurisdiction including DXB (Dubai International, above) are open to change and innovation

“Because of COVID-19 airlines around the world will take many years to recover financially. So this could be the exact moment to put together a consortium of airports, airlines, travel retailers, advertisers [i.e. brands] into some form of think tank to say ‘how can we use this opportunity?’. I think there’s a huge amount of revenue and profit and efficiency to be gained by furthering this.”

Griffiths ended a great session – which also included strong contributions from Jean-Charles Decaux (JCDecaux), Vincent Boinay (L’Oréal) and Dag Rasmussen (Lagardère Travel Retail) – with an urgent rallying call to the stakeholders of the travel retail industry.

“This crisis will actually reward those who can be flexible and innovate and I think over the next few years what will be accelerated is that dinosaurs of our industry will quickly die out if they don’t see this as an opportunity to collaborate, to innovate and evolve a completely new business model.

“We’re here, we’re open for business, we’re open to change, we’re open to innovation. A great deal of flexibility is required to create a new industry around the current components of travel retail and I think it will be very successful if we move quickly and get it right.”

More on this session will appear on The Moodie Davitt Report website soon.

You view the full session here.

21.00 (SGT)/14.00 (BST): The first fruits of a new retail consumer research partnership between acclaimed Indian data analytics firm Voiceback Analytics and The Moodie Davitt Report have been shared in a revealing Knowledge Hub presentation.

Voiceback Analytics managing director Manishi Sanwal and Group President Sujay Misra presented ‘Decoding the post-COVID international air travel in China and India’. The research from the study focuses on consumers in these key travel markets, based on data from 4,000 detailed interviews divided equally across the two countries.

The presentation was conducted by Manishi Sanwal and Sujay Misra of Voiceback Analytics, an Indian data analytics house which uses the power of modern algorithms to extract actionable insights from raw data

Key findings from China

  • About 27% of international travellers from China are open to international travel immediately. In 2021, outbound trips from China could be as high as 65% of the 2019 figure.
  • Risk concerns relating to COVID-19 are waning among Chinese travellers, with a low percentage worrying about it being unsafe.
  • Safety perception associated with shopping in airport duty free is high, with only 22% considering that buying from duty free categories is unsafe.
  • Disposition to spending on purchasing products across the duty free categories is slightly higher than pre-COVID times, with the exception of cosmetics and tobacco.

Key findings from India

  • About 17% of international travellers from India are open to international travel immediately. In 2021, outbound trips from India could be 56% of the 2019 figure.
  • Safety perception associated with shopping in airport duty free is moderate, with 37% currently considering that buying from duty free categories is unsafe.
  • Risk concerns remain high among Indian travellers – they will come back looking for more contactless operations in the airport.
  • Disposition to spend on purchasing in the key liquor category is higher than the average in pre-COVID times.

A more detailed analysis will appear on The Moodie Davitt Report website soon.

View the full presentation here.

20.00 (SGT)/13.00 (BST): Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail hosted a session in the Knowledge Hub dedicated to the emerging opportunity of digitisation in travel retail.

Pernod Ricard Global Travel Retail Global Vice President Marketing Craig Johnson was joined by Molzi Chief Strategy Officer Charlie Merrells, Wavemaker Global Head of Ecommerce Mudit Jaju and SharpEnd Founder & CEO Cameron Worth, as well as moderators Global Drinks Intel Retail Editor Doug Newhouse and The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie.

Newhouse, Johnson, Merrells, Moodie, Jaju and Worth (clockwise from top left) discussed the opportunity of digitisation for travel retail

Outlining the spirits company’s efforts to embrace digitisation, Johnson said: “The first thing we have done is to try to understand consumer behaviour. We have spent the last two years diving into the consumer and how they are using technology, where they are going and what sites they are doing their research on.

“All of these things have been disrupted by the COVID crisis, so rather than cut our insight budget we have really tried to understand how the crisis is impacting consumer behaviour.”

Merrells emphasised that the customer journey is no longer linear. He added: “Customers have touchpoints throughout the journey. That includes doing research, as well as seeing adverts and various types of media around. This can lead to persuading them to try a product and make that purchase at a relevant point of their journey. I think that is something travel retail really has an opportunity to capitalise on.”

The pandemic means that people are consuming more media than ever, according to Jaju. He said that the purchase journey is now more omnichannel than ever before.

Worth added: “The principles of building brands in a connected world haven’t changed, but the tools have. Before COVID, testers were one of the key drivers of purchase, but now people aren’t going to be touching things for a while.

“Within wines & spirits, products aren’t just sold in travel retail, they are sold in bars and supermarkets. That means you have the ability to use the post-purchase experience with things like connected bottles as a way of inspiring people to travel again.”

A new merchandising unit is on show on the Martell stand in Virtual Suite WS-P3

In Pernod Ricard’s Virtual Suite at the Expo, the company is showcasing fresh touchpoints for its brands, including the new Martell wall bay. This travel retail-specific merchandising unit utilises touchless technology allowing consumers to explore the Cognac brand’s range without having to physically handle products.

“Take the good times wherever you go”: Mazaya introduces its shisha line-up

Shisha specialist Mazaya aims to “seduce your senses” with its extensive range of over 150 flavours, many of which are tailored to local market preferences.

Visitors can also take a tour through the company’s production facilities. It’s easy; just follow the circles. You can even measure your footsteps.

Focusing on sustainability: Nuwave highlights eco-sense Bitmore range

Travel retail agency Nuwave is highlighting its ‘eco-sense-powered’ Bitmore tech accessories, which aim to reduce the content of plastics in product categories such as audio, power and charge, by up to 35%.

Natural wheat stalk material is used in product production and some lines feature naturally-sourced and sustainable bamboo cases.

Nuwave’s product line-up also includes a new TripClip which allows its travelling user to attach a smartphone or tablet to the seat in front of them at eye level.

17.00 (SGT)/ 10.00 (BST): The Virtual Sunglasses Workshop 2020 — which was held in a virtual format today for the first time at the Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo — presented an upbeat picture of the sunglasses category’s road to recovery and eventual renewed growth.

The workshop was moderated by The Moodie Davitt Report President and Editorial Director Dermot Davitt. It was opened by FILTR Co-Founder & Managing Director Alex Cook, who outlined the key findings from a Sunglasses category retailer survey.

The Virtual Sunglasses Workshop 2020 is a category initiative by Kering Eyewear, Luxottica Group, Marchon, Marcolin and Safilo conduced by FILTR

The survey revealed that majority of retailers believed that sanitation, price promotions, and product novelty were the key factors to drive growth once the pandemic eases. Retailers also believed that key challenges and priorities for the sunglasses category in the ‘new normal’ of retail are inventory optimisation, digitalisation and price promotion.

These insights were reflected in the ensuing panel discussion which outlined the sunglasses category recovery roadmap from a retailer’s perspective. The panel included: China Duty Free Group Deputy Director for Fashion Julie Kwok; The Shilla Duty Free Luxury Fashion & Fashion Accessories Merchandising Director Jaephil Yoon; Duty Free Americas CEO Jerome Falic; and Dufry Luxury, Fashion, Sunglasses, Watches, Jewellery and Accessories Category Management Director Manuela Facheris.

Read the full story here 

19.00 (SGT)/ 12.00 (BST): Nestlé – Tackling Cocoa Sustainability

Nestlé Cocoa Plan Head Darrell High and Nestlé International Travel Retail Marketing Manager Tamara Spada discuss the work that Nestlé is pioneering across the cocoa supply chain in this Engagement Loun ge Virtual Foodie Corner session.

High explains how the company is tackling problems related to ensuring a sustainably-sourced cocoa supply through a three-pillared Cocoa Plan strategy which focuses on better farming, better lives and better cocoa.

He considers the work Nestlé has done, and is doing, to transform the cocoa supply chain. Education of both cocoa farmers and workers is key, as is offering solutions to problems of gender inequality and child labour.

Nestlé Cocoa Plan supports the work of women in cocoa farming and underlines the importance of education

Core to the Cocoa Plan is farmer training and better agriculture adoption which includes the mapping of all farms to ensure they are not in protected areas. High spotlighted Nestlé’s Tackling Deforestation Progress Report 2020 which underlines its commitment to ending deforestation and preserving and restoring existing forests.

“It’s a cliché but we depend on cocoa; you can’t have chocolate without cocoa and these issues are really critical. If we don’t solve them, the supply of cocoa will decrease in the world and we won’t be able to enjoy chocolate so much”

Maintaining the Cocoa Plan, High says, presents “an incredible challenge”; one that is important not only for the future and livelihood of cocoa farmers and producers but also for the confectionery business.

“It’s a cliché but we depend on cocoa; you can’t have chocolate without cocoa and these issues are really critical. If we don’t solve them, the supply of cocoa will decrease in the world and we won’t be able to enjoy chocolate so much,” High concludes.

Click on the YouTube link above to watch our favourite moments from Day 2 of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

Celebrating one of the greatest milestones in history

Symington Family Estates spotlights Graham’s 2003 Colheita, a vintage port produced a centenary after man’s first controlled flight in a heavier-than-air aircraft.

First Flight is exclusive to travel retail and featured by the Portuguese wine and port specialist along with a Graham’s Traveller’s Pack and Graham’s Blend No.5 Port.

17.30 (SGT)/10.30 (BST): In the Experience Hub’s Engagement Lounge, Bacardi spoke to whisky specialist Becky Paskin about the latest trends in whisky and how the spirits company is looking to capitalise on them.

In the session, Bacardi Malts Brand Ambassador Matthew Cordiner and Dewar’s Brand Ambassador Fraser Campbell looked at the Bacardi whisky portfolio of Dewar’s, Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Aultmore, Royal Brackla and Glen Deveron.

Cordiner (centre) and Campbell (right) discussed Dewar’s, Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Aultmore, Royal Brackla and Glen Deveron with Paskin (left)

Discussing current whisky trends, Cordiner said: “People are after something small-batch, unique and super-premium. On flavours, people are looking for something smoky. Finishes are massive as well, such as different wine casks and different styles of sherry. Getting these insights is helpful when it comes to creating our next innovation.”

Campbell added: “It’s the same for single malts as well. A lot of people are looking for something small batch or special within cask finishing.”

Explaining these trends, Cordiner told viewers: “In the past 20 years since Scotch made a huge resurgence: flavour and experience has become what people are after – whether new to whisky or not. When someone is going through an airport, they want to know what amazing, limited whisky they can buy for someone.”

“A festive drink with all the wine benefits without the alcohol”: Barton & Guestier introduces Veuve du Vernay Zero.

The French winemaker has also extended its B&G range to include a “more prestigious” concept, which is tailor-made for travel retail. The five AOC wines are: Bordeaux Rouge, Bordeaux Blanc, Saint-Emilion, Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes de Provence Rosé.

These and other exclusive new releases are featured at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo.

Story-telling the Ricola way

Swiss herbal drop specialist Ricola is determined to bring its sweets to life through a series of on-stand videos.

Watch Ricola CEO Thomas P. Meier team up with the company’s longest-serving employee, Thomas Fringeli, in a light-hearted but fascinating glimpse into the making of the herbal drops.

17.00 (SGT)/10.00 (BST): Beam Suntory President of Brands Jessica Spence spoke insightfully on both gender in the alcohol industry and the importance of an empowered, diverse talent pool.

“Brands are collections of memories: constructs in consumer minds that are built from every tiny detail,” Spence said. This can extend from brands to product categories, she added.

Beer marketing has in the past been male-targeted with male protagonists. As a result of this, beer is thought of as a masculine product, Spence said, adding that the same can be said for whisky.

When shopping in travel retail, Spence said she feels welcome in the beauty environment, yet in the whisky section she is approached more rarely and most often asked if she is buying for a gift. “That does establish over time a message that this is not my world and somewhere I am not necessarily expected to be,” she added.

Jessica Spence: “Where you do not see that level of inclusion, take quick, active and visible steps to address it.”

Spence told viewers in the Knowledge Hub that recent years have seen an improvement in the way whisky is seen, but that a lot of the category still sees women in an objectified and passive way.

Using the recent outing of sexism in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, identified by whisky commentator Becky Paskin, as an example Spence said: “It’s amazing we’re still having this conversation. The language in the Whisky Bible belongs in the 1960s; the fact we are still debating this in 2020 is quite shocking.

“What is it going to take to build up a different set of memories that can overcome that past that is embedded in the way consumers think about us?”

Spence identified three solutions:

  • Put connecting with new consumers at the heart of growth
  • Constantly assess the experience delivered by brands
  • Have a diverse and empowered talent pool throughout a company

Diving into the final one of these solutions, Spence added that she has felt supported at companies, but there have been times where she did not feel empowered to make certain points. This was because making the point could have a negative impact on her as she might be seen as an over-sensitive woman.

Spence concluded: “Where you do not see that level of inclusion, take quick, active and visible steps to address it.”

16.20 (SGT)/09.20 (BST): Super viewing figures from an outstandingly well-received session in the Knowledge Hub just now. 1,079 unique views and no doubt many more to come via replays from our On Demand folder (proving very popular in a 24-hour event such as ours).

No wonder I suppose given the calibre of the quartet involved.

Jean-Charles Decaux, Co-Chief Executive Officer, JCDecaux
Vincent Boinay, General Manager Travel Retail Worldwide, L’Oréal
Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Airports
Dag Rasmussen, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail

Report to follow.

15.30 (SGT)/08.30 (BST): Rituals and The Simple State of Happiness

Rituals Creative Director Dagmar Brusse talks with Mo Gawdat, former Chief Business Officer for Google X, an entrepreneur, and the author of the book Solve for Happy, in this morning’s enlightening Engagement Hub session.

Gawdat is adamant that, in our busy lives, we often forget about the simple state of happiness. And he is on a mission with Rituals to spread joy to one million people.

Everyone, he says, should treat themselves to a 21-day ritual, to include mini silent retreats, and set up a ‘happy list’ to remind them of their happiest moments.

Former Chief Business Officer for Google X, Mo Gawdat is the author of the book Solve for Happy

Are you a whisky enthusiast? Want to hear more about cask finishing, whisky creation and maturation, from people with a passion for the product? Go to our Engagement Lounge On Demand folder for a re-run of a superb William Grant & Sons-hosted session from Tuesday about the Glenfiddich Grand Series Range.

Master Blender Brian Kinsman, Global Brand Ambassador Struan Grant Ralph and Brand Ambassador Kevin Canchola talked Glenfiddich and its evolution, with an emphasis on the latest ranges, including the ground-breaking Grand Cru series.

An insider guide to the Glenfiddich Grand Series courtesy of William Grant & Sons on Tuesday (available on demand)

Of Grand Cru, Brian Kinsman said: “It’s surprising, it melts in your mouth, and you know you have something good from the way the Cuvée finish comes together. Grand Cru didn’t happen overnight. We worked hard to get the right casks, flavour and partners.”

He also highlighted the soon to launch 26-year-old (Q1 2021) with a Cognac cask finish, which will help ensure the Grand Series “comes together as a coherent range”.

The elegant William Grant & Sons virtual experience, with Glenfiddich front and centre

11:30 (SGT)/04.30 (BST):

Some of our exhibitor partners have knocked it out of the park with their digital ambition, vision and ultimate execution. And some, such as Philip Morris International, have knocked it out into the next canton.

11:00 (SGT)/04.00 (BST): Newly formed Moodie Davitt Virtual Expo Company presents its four next virtual Expos from our stand in the main atrium. Look out for Beauty Tech Live (a jv with BW Confidential), World of Spirits (local market drinks industry, a consumer + trade event), Summit of the Americas (with IAADFS and ASUTIL), and Wellbeing World (consumer + trade).

In every case our event curation partner will be FILTR (newly merged with fellow agency Qingwa), which has put together this event with such panache and painstakingly hard work.

09:50 (SGT)/02.50 (BST): Breaking news on the show’s success to date. So far there have been 3,527 unique visitors, 2,528 on Tuesday alone. At a time when the travel retail channel is in such distress, we think they are excellent numbers.

Transparency has been a key mantra to us in organising this event and every exhibitor is presented with complete analytics showing total visitor details; and a precise account of who has visited their virtual stand and what digital activations they have engaged with.

A roaring success: Gautom Menon’s Wild Tiger Beverages is truly earning its stripes this week. The stunning virtual stand features the brilliantly packaged new Gindia line and, of course, a certain kindrid rum-tastic spirit.

 08:00 (SGT)/01.00 (BST):

The 24-hour nature of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo ensures a constant flow of visitors from all around the globe. Day three of this pioneering event and social media (especially LinkedIn) is telling the story of a very different kind of experience from physical trade shows. We all miss face-to-face encounters but the virtual offering is allowing brands big and small to mix with a vast and diverse global audience. And, as the images below show, some of the virtual stands are extraordinary.

Welcome onboard: Has there ever been a travel retail exhibition stand like this? Cruiseline concessionaire Harding wows visitors to the Expo

Krisshop brings its acclaimed omnichannel offer to life at its dazzling virtual Platinum Suite

(Above and below) Luxottica wows with its Virtual Travel Retail Expo presence , describing the event as “a special occasion to let our customers explore and experience Luxottica’s digital-first initiatives, new launches on the iconic brands, and innovative tools to enhance the eyewear category”

Changi Airport has been hard hit by the pandemic but, as always, its management is looking forward, using the Virtual Travel Retail Expo to make a vibrant statement about its offer and its future

Tuesday 13 October, Day 2

For those who haven’t heard our official song today… Just click on the link below to hear Jannine Weigel and her smash hit single, Passcode.

23.30 (SGT)/16.30 (BST): Three of the leading voices in cruise retail have been discussing how the channel will emerge from the choppy waters of COVID-19.

MSC Cruises Head of Retail Adrian Pittaway said innovation would need to keep driving the three core business areas of customer experience, product assortment and business model.

Starboard Cruise Services President & CEO Lisa Bauer added that the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of a lot of the recent trends seen in cruise retail: experiential, luxury, omnichannel, digitisation, personalisation and conscious consumerism.

Harding Managing Director James Prescott then emphasised that cruise is coming back and will come back stronger than ever. He added that the bright future needs to be built on solid foundations: cruise DNA, experiences, insights, people and partnerships.

Prescott (top right), Pittaway (bottom left) and Bauer (bottom right) in conversation with The Moodie Davitt Report President Dermot Davitt (top left)

23:00 (SGT)/16.00 (BST): How can the integration of F&B help your retail brand or retail business thrive? Ground Control CEO Kevin Zajax CEO presents Love at First Bite in this afternoon’s Knowledge Hub session.

“Experience,” he says, “has been and will continue to be an increasingly important element of consumer engagement. And what is more experiential, emotive and sensory than eating and drinking?”

He suggests it’s time for a change in travel retail. And why should brand owners or retailers be considering F&B integration? The answer, according to Zajax, is simple: “Eating and drinking make you feel happier” and happy customers are more likely to be happy shoppers.

 Zajax outlines a natural progression to more integrated spaces: “You shop, you dine, you imbibe, you experience and you engage”.

“Why not combine powerful and complementary brands to create a unique user experience and increase the opportunity to engage with customers?” he asks.

Zajax says the integration of F&B in travel retail can drive footfall, encourage longer dwell time and increase engagement with customers. It can also give airports the opportunity to market themselves as retail and dining destinations; it brings new opportunities and offers new experiences.

Ground Control is ready to take your questions…

22.30 (SGT)/15.30 (BST): Diageo Global Travel Head of Customer Marketing Ollie Palmer and JLL Executive – Capital Markets Tom Foley told delegates the inspiring story of how they went from zero rowing experience to winning one of the world’s most arduous rowing races (the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge) in two years.

In the stirring speech, Palmer and Foley discussed how they overcame adversity, worked as a team and the ultimate power of a positive mindset on the 3,000-mile, 30-day rowing race from the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Foley and Palmer discuss their training on the Channel nine months before the race

The four-man team Palmer and Foley were in managed to open out a lead early on in the race when there was a headwind after a few days at sea. The temptation was to drop anchor as progress would be slow and hard going into the wind, but they tried to push through it and row as hard as they could for 48 hours.

Palmer added: “We just focussed purely on our objective and, coming out of that 48 hours, we found ourselves 26 miles ahead of second place. That small buffer allowed us to start enjoying the race.”

The team held that lead until the final week of the race, they told viewers in the Knowledge Hub, but that was when they found themselves rowing into a tropical storm with 12-metre waves. In this storm, the boat capsized with Foley thrown overboard, a moment Palmer described as “terrifying”.

Yet they righted the boat, dried out their equipment, worked their way through the storm and were ultimately the first team to arrive in the Caribbean. “I can’t describe the emotions when we arrived in Antigua,” Palmer added.

Offering some rousing closing words, Foley said: “A lot of people have their own Atlantic Ocean – whether that is writing a book, running a marathon or starting a business – and the one thing that holds them back is their own self-belief. If you have self-belief and are positive about something, what you can achieve is far beyond what you ever thought would be possible.”

22:00 (SGT)/15:00 (BST): Global SK-II Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Seth and Ever Rich Duty Free President Kevin Chiang explore how business can be a force for good in a compelling webinar hosted by Martin Moodie. The webinar was organised into three broad areas: the pandemic’s impact on the travel retail industry today, the evolution of the travel retail business and consumer, and the community we live in.

The crisis has shown that leadership has never been more important and both Seth and Chiang have exhibited how leadership has driven their respective companies’ CSR-programmes during these unprecedented times.

Seth outlined the core tenets of SK-II’s react, respond and re-emerge strategy; while Chiang explained how Ever Rich Duty Free’s strong family values have reinforced its commitment to keep all of its 6,000 employees staff onboard.

Sandeep Seth re-emerging after COVID-19 is all about “serving and not selling”

Seth said, “The question now is how we re-emerge from the much cliched ‘new norm.’ A couple of things will change forever. Technology will become an integral part for brands, business and everyday human life. It will be critical to understand the human side of the pandemic and show empathy to what is happening around us.

“Consumers will now expect brands to show a clear point of view and do more than just sell a product. Agility and digital adoption will make the biggest difference as we re-emerge, it’s all about serving not selling,” Seth added.

Commenting on Ever Rich’s incredible decision to keep all staff on payroll despite the financial impact of COVID-19, Chiang said: “Because the conditions around the world keep changing, you have to keep adjusting your strategy. The most difficult part is fighting this crisis while keeping our staff intact. We are one of the few companies that hasn’t laid off any staff. They are our biggest asset.”

Ever Rich Duty Free kept 6,000 on payroll through the COVID-19 crisis

Both SK-II and Ever Rich Duty Free donated PPEs, sanitising gels and medical equipment to global relief efforts at the height of the pandemic crisis, underlining the importance of the human-side of doing business. “We need to look at this as a human crisis and not just a business crisis,” said Seth. “When things go wrong, we need to deal with it at a human level and try and understand each other. We talk a lot about social-distancing during this period, but what people are really looking for is social connection.”

Both Seth and Chiang also discussed the forced acceleration of ecommerce, stating that while online is indeed growing, there will always be a demand for offline experiences.

Chiang also highlighted the importance of collaboration in times of crisis. “We need to play our part, we need to do things like the Virtual Travel Retail Expo and talk about how we can bring back the industry and align our regulations, which will boost recovery.”

Global SK-II Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Seth and Ever Rich Duty Free President Kevin Chiang have helped make their businesses a force for good and a force for growth in travel retail and beyond

21.30(SGT)/ 14.30(BST): Luxottica – Smart Shopper and Virtual Try-On Technology

Luxottica takes eyewear shopping experience to next level at the Engagement Lounge. Its Smart Shopper is an in-store, digital, interactive tool that enables an integrated shopping experience while offering endless product assortment.

Smart Shopper leverages new, in-store technology to engage consumers, to increase sales service and store conversions.

Consumers can shop from an expanded sunglass assortment and receive the product in a store. They can also customise their Ray-Ban and Oakley models through an interactive screen which lets them choose colour, frames, lenses, temples, tips and cases. They can request engravings and decorations, making eyewear selection a very personal experience.

The Virtual Try On with integrated camera is available on iPad. By scanning the QR code, consumers can virtually try on different frames.

21.30 (SGT)/14.30 (BST): Ian Macleod Distillers marked the launch of Edinburgh Gin Gooseberry & Elderflower into travel retail with a virtual tasting of the brand’s portfolio.

Attendees were sent four bottles of full-strength Edinburgh Gin miniatures: Classic, Rhubarb & Ginger, Raspberry and the new Gooseberry & Elderflower flavour, as well as a bottle of Fever-Tree Tonic.

From Edinburgh to the world: Attendees were able to enjoy the diverse flavours from Edinburgh Gin in the virtual tasting session

The session concluded with a prize draw where Dufry Global Category Head of Liquor David Miguel Laguna won a VIP tour of the Edinburgh Gin Distillery and an overnight stay in the city.

19.00 (SGT)/12.00 (BST): Wow. What a rich session – watched by 1,149 unique viewers live – has just been seen and heard in the Knowledge Hub, as Martin Moodie put many of the big issue questions facing the travel retail channel to Dag Rasmussen, Chairman and CEO of Lagardère Travel Retail.

If global travel retail needed a pep talk in these dark COVID-19 days, Rasmussen delivered it. He said: “We believe in a strong future for travel retail. It’s where the major launches should take place. It’s where the best products are most-promoted, it is where we can create experiences that capture shoppers, better than any other shopping environment in the world.

Lagardère Travel Retail Chairman and CEO Dag Rasmussen has given the travel retail industry a big lift today with his strong belief in the channel’s future

“What we’re missing now is passengers. Simple as that, and I’m confident that once travellers are reassured on certain conditions, they will travel again. We are already seeing that in China.

“I think we should be ambitious. And travel retail can be the first continent of the retail sector – by quality, attractiveness and as a launch engine – and evolve even stronger. We should be the continent brands want to enter first. First, because we have the best customer profile. We have people who come to us, more than downtown, we don’t have to bring the passengers, airlines and airports do that for us.”

Asked if he was concerned about brands closing travel retail departments, downscaling operations and concentrating resources elsewhere, Rasmussen replied: “The way brands organise themselves is obviously up to them. I think it’s much more efficient when they do have these great TR divisions because we grow a very good understanding with them – the more focused the brand [on travel retail] we have, the better.

“At the end of the day, if we have the best passengers in the world, we have great stores, great experience… the brands will be convinced. And I think, after some time, they will really want to reinvest.”

Does Rasmussen think travel retailers should be pivoting more towards downtown investments?

Pointing out that Lagardère already has“good risk hedging” in its portfolio, Rasmussen replied: “Downtown investment is not our top priority if we are to invest in growth. I would consider consolidation opportunities [from within travel retail] if any arise rather than going into other segments. Each segment has its own challenges and downtown have had their own as well. So I prefer to keep focused on what I think we do well.”

Much more follows on this session – on subjects such as ecommerce, sustainability and airport retailer contracts – on The Moodie Davitt Report web site later today and in-depth in a follow-up feature. 

You can watch the full session on demand soon. We will share the link here.

Click on the YouTube link above to watch our favourite moments from Day 1 of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

19.00 (SGT)/12.00 (BST): A brilliant live Masterclass from Jägermeister Global Brand Ambassador Nils Bose in the Engagement Lounge Virtual Bar today.

The interactive session explored Jägermeister, Jägermeister Manifest and Jägermeister Cold Brew Coffee, with the enthusiastic and informative Bose presenting the “best spirit every created” and sharing his knowledge and tips – but not the brand’s secret recipe – with participants.

18.30 (SGT)/11.30 (BST): Introducing the APTRA Exchange panel session, APTRA President & King Power Group (Hong Kong) Group Chief Executive Sunil Tuli said: “We challenged ourselves to be challenging with this session and we have a panel that will do just that.”

Living up to Tuli’s billing, the session, which was overseen by Ground Control CEO Kevin Zajax and The Moodie Davitt Report President Dermot Davitt, saw all sides of the travel retail Trinity come together to debate how industry stakeholders can effectively collaborate to navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

From the retailer perspective, Delhi Duty Free Services CEO Philip Eckles said: “I am not sure that there is a lot of evidence of the Trinity coming together during this crisis. There is certainly a lot of bilateral activity – from our perspective as an operator with our airport and with our brand companies individually – and there is a huge amount going on, but on that bilateral basis, not a Trinity basis.”

The diverse panel offered candid insights from all sides of the travel retail Trinity

Imperial Brands Regional Manager APAC & Global Duty Free & Export Julia Bauer called for greater openness and collaboration. “Understanding that everybody has a role to play in this recovery is something that needs to be discussed openly,” she said.

Lacoste Travel Retail Director Asia Pacific Erin Lillis said that she felt the Minimum Annual Guarantee (MAG) contract model is not feasible in the current climate. “If MAGs remain or go up, what will happen is the operator will squeeze the brand for more margin,” she told viewers. “If we could have some kind of transparency and an open table where all parties make a fair profit, everyone – including the consumer – would be happy.”

Auckland Airport Head of Retail Lucy Thomas was, however, keen to point out that airports are not the “bad guys” in the Trinity they are sometimes portrayed as. “We need to get past thinking that it is all the airport or landlord’s fault because it does also cost us tens and tens and tens of thousands per square metre to create real estate and we have to make a return. From a concession structure point of view, some creativity is required,” she added.

Life’s a wheel of fortune and it’s your turn to spin it

Global travel retail agency Goodflow is offering visitors the chance to engage and ‘spin’ the Wheel of Fortune to win prizes from its highlighted brands.

All you have to do is answer a quick series of questions and, who knows, Lady Luck may come your way from one of Goodflow’s five brands: Anassa Organics, Article22, Kuida Skincare, PhoneSoap and Worldwide Buddies.

Article 22 is one of the ten finalists in the QDF Factor. The brand takes its name from a section of the United Nation’s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights and offers a range of jewellery made from recycled residues from bombs in Laos.

16.30(SGT)/09.30 (BST): H&H Group on inspiring wellness

“Now, more than ever, is a time to embrace holistic wellness with open arms”: This was the message from global health and wellness company H&H Group at today’s Engagement Hub session.

The H&H Group team highlighted its “premium and aspirational” Suisse, Biostime and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare brands, which all have great growth potential for Asia Pacific, Europe and Americas travel retail.

17.00 (SGT)/10.00 (BST) There is so much to explore this week at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo. Check out our stunning Sunglasses workshop room complete with virtual photo booth, where you stand a chance to win a pair of sunglasses and have some fun doing it. You can also sign up for the Sunglasses Workshop at 10.00 (UK) on Wednesday, where we plan to examine the health and future of a key category. You can find out more or register here:!/SunglassesWorkshop_SG-P2Hall

Nature lover from the city: Dermot Davitt pays a visit to the Sunglasses Workshop virtual booth

15.30 (SGT)/08.30 (BST) One Red Kite – The Diamond Model For Travel Retail

Kevin Brocklebank, Founder of One Red Kite, the outsourced services provider, shares a new perspective on driving peak performance in travel retail with visitors to the Engagement Hub.

Based on his retail background and cross-functional experience in travel retail, Brocklebank has developed the Diamond Model which, he says, can be applied to any business within the travel retail channel. And it can make a real difference.

Brocklebank encourages stakeholders to “let go of all beliefs” and reframe travel retail. His Diamond Model borrows principles from the peak performance of Formula 1 pit stop workers, and the success of the UK cycling team in the Tour de France competition. It is “all about continuous improvement to achieve peak performance”.

“The more a company is aligned to these principles, the faster it will see progression. To really drive performance it is best to really reframe what is possible,” he added.

“A Formula 1 pit crew mentality for the shop floor really does make a massive difference in improving effectiveness and efficiency,” he added.

Brocklebank described the Diamond Model as a “simple, easy to adapt commercial approach to driving any travel retail business forward”.

His only query, however, was whether travel can reset its beliefs.

15.00 (SGT)/08.00 (BST): Heathrow Head of Retail Fraser Brown superbly articulates the challenge of operating one of the world’s largest airports in the middle of a pandemic in this morning’s first Knowledge Hub session. He pays tribute to those retailers such as WHSmith and Boots when passenger traffic dropped to just 3% of normal levels, and backs calls to government for a robust airport testing regime to instil traveller confidence. More on this story to follow.

Fraser Brown, speaking from a quiet corner of Terminal 2, about the Heathrow response to COVID-19

14.30 (SGT)/0.7.30 (BST): Camicissima – An Italian Story

Fenicia President and Camicissima CEO Fabio Candido takes visitors to the Engagement Hub on a fascinating journey through the Italian brand’s development. From its humble beginnings in 1931, when Giovanni Candido decided to start a small business making men’s tailored shirts, to the present and its strong international presence.

It’s a fascinating tale of the brand’s heritage and determination to continue to all exceed expectations, underlining its roots and values, and doing things the Italian way.

Click here to read Candido’s thoughts on family, tradition and pioneering in times of crisis in a recent interview with The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman & Founder Martin Moodie.

12.35 (SGT)/05.15 (BST): Day 1 of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo attracted 2,762 unique visitors, an encouraging number, especially as it included a very strong representation from the top 25 travel retailers and many of the leading SME companies; together with an encouragingly high representation from airports. All exhibitors are presented with full analytics on total visitor numbers and those pertaining to stand visits and stand touchpoints activated.

12.15 (SGT)/05.15 (BST): Want to discover what kind of marketeer you are? Then visit the joint FILTR/QINGWA virtual stand and click ‘Try Me’. It’s easy and fun. FILTR are our brilliant event curation partners for the Virtual Travel Retail Expo and have done a world-class job here.

Apparently I am ‘The Thinker’. Good to know!

12.00 (SGT)/05.00 (BST): Big news from Diamond Partner The SEVA Group as its Dubai-based operation Organico Travel Retail unveils an exclusive Middle East travel retail partnership with William Grant & Sons.

“It’s a dream come true to work with the world’s number one in malts, category-transforming brands like Hendrick’s and Monkey Shoulder – and of course the talented team behind it all,” said Organico Travel Retail Managing Director Roger Jackson.

Click here for a major interview with The SEVA Group Founder & Chairman Severino Pušić, published yesterday.

Monday 12 October, Day 1

Click on the YouTube link above to watch our favourite moments from Day 1 of the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 

22.30 (SGT)/15.30 (BST): Pernod Ricard took visitors to the Experience hub’s Engagement Lounge into the world of Chivas Regal. In an insightful conversation, Chivas Master Blender Sandy Hyslop spoke to Chivas Head of Heritage and Education Alex Robertson about both the precise art of blending Scotch Whisky and the versatility of the Chivas liquid.

Hyslop introduced viewers to the Extra 13 range: a new Chivas collection that combines an extra year of maturation with a diverse range of finishes and maturation. The range includes a mellow American rye cask selective finish, a rich whisky selectively matured in Oloroso sherry casks and one with a sweet rum selective cask finish.

The extra year of maturation for the Extra 13 range has introduced additional flavours to the whisky, Hyslop says

Speaking about the Chivas Extra 13-Year-Old Rum Cask, a travel retail exclusive, Hyslop said: “To produce this expression was an absolute joy. The freshly emptied first-fill rum casks are amazing and work perfectly with the Chivas blend. In the blending room, myself and the team are testing the samples to be sure the flavour is coming through just at the right level; we wanted to really complement that base blend but also give it something extra, and it just works.”

22.00 (SGT)/15.00 (BST): Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman & CEO Colm McLoughlin gave a candid insight into leading the world’s biggest single location duty free retailer through the COVID-19 crisis.

Speaking in the Knowledge Hub, McLoughlin said: “We have not experienced, in my opinion, anything as serious previously. We had SARS, Gulf Wars and 9/11, but they have paled into insignificance to a certain extent.”

McLoughlin outlined both the financial and employment impact COVID-19 has had on Dubai Duty Free.

Colm McLoughlin (right): “We have not experienced, in my opinion, anything as serious previously”

Sales for the retailer thus far in 2020 are down -68% year-on-year, McLoughlin said. He added that traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) for the year is expected to be 22 million this year, a -75.2% drop compared to 2019 when 89 million passengers passed through the airport.

He added that Dubai Duty Free currently has 2,200 active staff, in comparison to 5,900 before the crisis; it also has 3,300 on furlough; and 642 have either retired or left the company.

21.00 (SGT)/14.00 (BST): Big news from the Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo Knowledge Hub. During a highly engaging presentation by Hainan Provincial Bureau of International Economic Development (IEDB) Director General Mr Han Shengjian, the 2021 China International Consumer Products Expo was announced. It will be hosted on Hainan Island next year (7-10 May).

The Moodie Davitt Report will work closely with Hainan IEDB to promote the event, which is sure to attract widespread interest from international brands.

Hainan IEDB Director General Mr Han Shengjian announced the 2021 China International Consumer Products Expo on the Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo Knowledge Hub

Co-organised by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Hainan Provincial Government, the event will become the only national level expo focusing solely on the import of consumer products. It is billed as the “ideal gateway” for brands to enter the lucrative China market.

For more details of the wide-ranging presentation about the opportunities for brands and retailers in the coming years on Hainan, click here.

Watch the presentation in full here.

20.00(SGT)/13.00 (BST): CEO Karen Chan delivered an illuminating presentation on how has adapted to the new travel world. has successfully rethought its entire go-to-market strategy and explored new business verticals and product offering through COVID-19. The company has recently achieved coveted ASEAN Super App status and is now the largest low-cost carrier in Asia Pacific and the region’s fourth largest airline. is committed to becoming a platform where “community meets commerce,” said Karen Chan

“AirAsia flies 100 million passengers annually” said Chan. “Our platform is a way of life. It’s all about connection. Connecting people with people and becoming a platform where community meets commerce so everyone can fly.”’s strategy is to become a unified platform across travel and lifestyle with three strategic business verticals: travel, ecommerce and finance.

Commenting on’s travel-led vertical Chan said: “We believe we can be a better OTA because we are the only OTA with an airline. SNAP (flight and hotel bundle) is our secret weapon, because we can bundle flights and hotels – giving us the price advantage.”

“We have also launched AirAsia health this week,” Chan added. “Medical tourism is a very fragmented industry and its still arranged by offline agents. is now offering the first complete end-to-end online transaction from initial consultation to booking a personal concierge with translation services.”

With regard to’s ecommerce vertical, Chan said: “It’s all about driving consumers to our app.” The company has enabled duty free delivery and also food and grocery services, pivoting its duty free product offering to more essential goods through the crisis. Finally, The finance vertical allows customers to use their points across’s entire ecosystem.

Travel, ecommerce and finance are the three pillars of’s omnichannel strategy

All three verticals are underpinned by a robust media platform and powered by data and extensive consumer reach.

Over the last few months AirAsia has worked hard to expand its platform across Asia Pacific. It sold 200,000 ‘buy-now-fly-later’ Unlimited Passes and 2,000 room nights in less than four hours. “These new offers give us cash-flow liquidity in a time when the entire industry is hurting,” said Chan. “We are now launching SNAP offers across the entire ASEAN region.”

Chan also highlighted a case study of how has pivoted to save jobs and support local communities through the AirAsia Shop. The company launched the #InThisTogether campaign that invited SMEs to become e-tailers on AirAsia Shop. has also teamed up with 1,200 delivery partners, onboarded, 2,000 small independent business, and flown 1,000 cargo flights across Asia Pacific. The company is also working to promoted digitised and sanitised travel across the entire traveller journey.

19.30 (SGT)/12.30 (BST): Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Akbar Al Baker has revealed that all ten finalists of the QDF Factor, due to be announced later today, will secure a six-month listing at Hamad International Airport.

As reported, the winning brand (to be announced on 16 October) will secure a six-month high-profile listing at the Doha airport. Al Baker has now said all ten finalists will also be listed.

Al Baker (right) concluded his interview in the Knowledge Hub with the surprise announcement

Concluding a wide-ranging interview in the Knowledge Hub, which also covered the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Qatar Airways commercial model, Al Baker said: “I am very excited to be involved with the QDF Factor. There will be ten shortlisted finalists, one of which will get the crown. However, we have decided to allow all of the ten finalists to have their product listed at Hamad International Airport free of charge for six months. That means they will benefit from this world-class airport we operate.”

Watch out for a full report from the interview coming soon.

“Please fasten your seat belts and prepare for take off.”

Campari gets off to a flying start with a stand-out presentation that is set to surprise.

“What’s your fancy?” the group asks visitors as it highlights its Aperol, Wild Turkey and Glen Grant brands in an innovative way and very engaging way.

Just one click on the stand takes visitors on a first-class experience to Italy, Scotland and the US to share brand experiences and tastes.

‘Choctails’ and a journey across wild Siberia

Welcome to the world of Schlumberger as the Austrian wine and spirits specialist serves up Mozart chocolate liqueur cocktails in the Engagement Lounge before introducing its Mamont Siberian vodka.

And there are more tempting drinks to try before taking a trip to the Mamont Camp through the Mamont Foundation which organises expeditions to the most remote and wild parts of our planet.

Cheers and enjoy the experience!

18.30 (SGT)/11.30 (BST): Diamond Partner, SEVA Group, hosted a session in the Engagement Lounge, entitled Beyond Resilience. Benjamin Western, Founder of Showing Up, humanitarian and TED X speaker, discussed how we can make ourselves and our organisations stronger despite external challenges.

“If you get +1% better at something every day, by the end of the year you will be +38% better at it. In this session, we hope to get you on the path to being +1% more resilient,” he said.

Benjamin Western: “If you get +1% better at something every day, by the end of the year you will be +38% better at it”

Using the analogy of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the Bible, where the Babylonian king had a dream that saw him have a head of gold, a body of silver, legs of iron/brass and feet of clay. Western told attendees to write down things that are gold (greatest strengths), silver (strengths that need work), brass/iron (weak points that are known to people) and clay (weaknesses that you brush under the carpet) in personal and work life.

He then set two challenges for viewers: do something that you think is beyond your current limit every day for 100 days and address one of your feet of clay weaknesses in order to become that bit more resilient.

17:15 (SGT)/10:15 (BST): APTRA President and King Power Group (Hong Kong) Group Chief Executive Sunil Tuli delivered a compelling keynote address outlining how crisis can be agent for positive change. He also underscored APTRA’s role in guiding the industry to recovery.

Tuli highlighted the historic role of the Asia Pacific region as a growth driver for travel retail and the impact of COVID-19. Since March, APTRA has lobbied 45 governments in the region to secure relief measures necessary for the industry’s survival.

“Travel retail contributes 45-50% of non-aeronautical revenue in Asia Pacific. Our message to governments is that our normally vibrant and successful industry cannot operate and urgently needs financial support.

“A unified voice has clout, especially when we can demonstrate that we are essential profit drivers for airports and a source of great national pride. Travel retail is recognised as a global brand-building channel especially for emerging markets,” he added.

“Our interdependence has never been more important or more fragile,” said APTRA President and King Power Group (Hong Kong) Group Chief Executive Sunil Tuli

Tuli also stressed the Trinity’s role in securing the 320,000 jobs in Asia Pacific travel retail and the 63.4 million jobs currently at risk in the Asia Pacific tourism industry. He said, “We need airport authorities to support our political lobbying and also to protect their non-aeronautical revenue streams. When travel returns to scale — and it absolutely will — travel retail needs to be in good health.”

According to Tuli, the biggest challenge to the industry’s recovery is the inconsistency of COVID-19 regulations. He also underscores the importance of mass standardised testing at airports and unified COVID-19 quarantine regulations. APTRA is working hard to maximise regional alignment of health and safety and testing protocols in order to restart the aviation industry’s recovery.

He added, “Our interdependence has never been more important or more fragile. Only through partnership can we win this war. We are stronger together. Now more than ever there is strength in numbers.”

Finally, Tuli concluded by inviting industry partners to attend The APTRA Exchange Event titled ‘The Trinity through a crisis’ at 17:30 SGT/10:30 BST at The Knowledge Hub on 13 October.

17.00 SGT: Moët Hennessy Chief Executive Officer Philippe Schaus had a simple message for the travel retail industry: “Hold strong – the business is going to come back.”

In conversation with The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie, he continued: “We have to lower costs right now and be in survival mode, but the business will come back either when we have a vaccine or a good treatment. People want to travel; it is something natural and almost a human need.”

Schaus added that he is confident for the future of the Champagne category. “Recent years have been a very good vintage, so I am positive in the long term for Champagne. It is a key category for high-end wines & spirits retailing, like what we find in airports,” he said.

Schaus (left) spoke of his experience from heading up both a leading duty free retailer and brand

Schaus is in an almost unique position, having led DFS from 2012-2017, meaning he has headed both a major travel retailer and brand company. From this vantage point, he said the present Trinity relationship is not feasible for the current era.

“The whole financial model between airports, travel retail operators and brands, which has been based upon MAG per passenger, is very difficult today because it is hard to predict the mix of passengers and when travel will return,” he commented.

“This shifting of financial risk between the airport, operator and brand has to evolve. It did to some degree work in a relatively stable world where there was a level of predictability, but in a world whose main characteristic is unpredictability such a model cannot function.”

16.30 SGT: “Power is beauty”: Foreo reveals its latest beauty device

Foreo today revealed FAQ™, a “new genre of anti-ageing” beauty devices which it says is “going to take the world by storm”.

FAQ™ was unveiled via a combination of a world exclusive interview with The Moodie Davitt Report and a dedicated session within the Engagement Lounge at the Virtual Travel Retail Expo.

Delivering a sleek presentation in the Engagement Lounge, Foreo Senior PR Executive Ashlee Park describes FAQ™ as the first brand to truly harness the full power of clinical machines into a sleek, handheld form.

FAQ™ is designed to be used in the comfort of the user’s home, whether they are a professional conducting in-home treatment or someone simply looking for powerful clinical results.

15.30 SGT: Clarins and the power of nature

Clarins invites us on a Grandeur Nature exhibition, a tribute to nature and the people who take care of it, through the work of two photographers, Oliver Löser and Laurent Monlaü.

As commissioner, Clarins is proud to present the greatness of nature, where people and land unite.

Clarins Group Supervisory Board President Christian Courtin-Clarins features in a video of the Clarins domain. It’s in French and it is magnifique!

15.15 SGT: A hugely encouraging and timely message of positivity from China Duty Free Group (CDFG) President Charles Chen in the opening session at the Knowledge Hub, in conversation with Martin Moodie. “I would like to reaffirm our readiness for further mutual cooperation. In one of my previous speeches, I mentioned ‘whoever loses China also loses the future’. On this occasion, I would like to open my arms to all my peer players in the industry to shape a brighter future for China’s duty free market.” 

An important and upbeat message to Virtual Travel Retail Expo delegates from CDFG President Charles Chen

He highlighted the success of the duty free business on Hainan Island, the sole hotspot in global travel retail today.

Chen said: “Although duty free shopping for international travellers [in China] is not yet restored to the normal state, the duty free market in Hainan has been hitting new highs. Thanks to the new policies, the sales in CDFG stores in Hainan are not only recovering but thriving.”

*Watch out for the full story, coming soon.

14.55 SGT: What a way to introduce the Knowledge Hub sessions (and each morning) with the event’s official song, the smash hit single Passcode by Jannine Weigel.  As reported, the song was released last month by RedRecords, a joint venture between AirAsia and Universal Music Group, dedicated to ushering in a new era of success for Asian pop music.

The 20-year-old Thai-German artist’s debut single, which has been out for only two weeks, has generated over one million views on YouTube and boasts equally impressive streaming figures. Jannine has 3.7 million subscribers on YouTube, 3.2 million followers on Facebook, 1.7 million on Instagram and more than 570,000 on TikTok.

Why the official tune? Well, given that every registered visitor to the Virtual Expo needs their own passcode or password, and given Air Asia’s importance to the whole travel retail and digital ecosystem, we found the notion irresistible. More of that during the week.

We suspect the song might just get another airing today as CEO Karen Chan is presenting in the Knowledge Hub at the following times:

13:00 (UK); 20:00 (CST); 20:00 (SGT); 15:00 (AST); 08:00 (EST)

And a certain RedRecords CEO liked what he heard!

14.30 SGT: Encouraging numbers so far today with 1,050 unique visitors having visited the Expo in the first 2.5 hours. We are seeing a really strong attendance from Asia Pacific and Middle East travel retailers and airports and it will be interesting to follow the international timeline through this 24-hour event.

At 14.50 the Knowledge Hub sessions kick off with a much-anticipated Q&A session with China Duty Free Group President Charles Chen, in conversation with The Moodie Davitt Report Chairman Martin Moodie.

14.OO SGT: Some really nice reaction coming in from the Expo floor. Here’s 3Sixty Duty Free – Executive Vice President Asia Hwee Ming Lee: “Hi Martin, congratulations! I was browsing some booths and have to say this is beyond my expectation! Well done and all the best for the show this week.” 

13.20 SGT: Retailers are in for a digital treat from some of the stands. Take the Diageo Platinum Suite for example. Stunning.

12.40 SGT: Want to chat to an exhibitor or buyer in another language? No problem. The Virtual Travel Retail software platform offers instantaneous (and high-quality) translations across 40 languages in the Chat Room.

12.30 SGT: It is encouraging to see many leading Asian travel retailers already taking part, taking a first familiarisation tour of the Expo no doubt. China Duty Free Group  (CDFG) President Charles Chen is a very welcome early visitor. CDFG is a Diamond Partner of the Expo.

12.00 SGT: And we are underway. Virtual has indeed become reality. After months of build-up and a ferocious amount of work behind the scenes by the Moodie Davitt and FILTR teams and our exhibitor partners, the inaugural Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo has begun.

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie welcomes visitors to the landmark event

Thumbs up for take-off: Just like Martin Moodie, thousands of visitors to the Virtual Travel Retail Expo will be participating in the event from the comfort of their offices or homes

11.50 SGT: We are all set for the Grand Opening of the pioneering Moodie Davitt Virtual Travel Retail Expo, which kicks off today at noon Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore time. Throughout the week, The Moodie Davitt Report team will be bringing you live coverage of this breakthrough event. Stay tuned.