Airport Commercial & Retail executives gather in Nice

26th ACI EUROPE Airport Commercial & Retail Conference & Exhibition, Nice, 3-5 April. Report by Inês Rebelo

On 3-5 April, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport hosted the 26th ACI EUROPE Airport Commercial & Retail Conference & Exhibition in Nice, under the theme ‘Sales Solve Everything: The average spend per passenger at Europe’s airports is just €10.38 – surely we can do much better!’

Following Olivier Jankovec’s state of the industry presentation and Sarah Branquinho’s welcome address focused on the state of play in the duty free industry, Richard Cymberg, General Director Global Client Management, L’Oréal Travel Retail, gave his keynote speech. He spoke about the new behaviour of consumers and the strategy of the group to attract the growing Chinese travellers. He also stressed the importance of accessing data as “data is the new oil”.

Panellists included airport commercial executives from Aeroporti di Roma, Nice Côte d’Azur Airport, Budapest Airport, Gatwick Airport, Groupe ADP and Riga International Airport. They also included representatives from brands, as well as business partners from retail, food & beverage and travel services, such Lagardère, Dufry, Autogrill and Travelex.

Panellists discussed the new trends in the airport commercial and retail business. The topics ranged from airport retail space and F&B to car parking and retail revamp of airport terminals. The main transversal subjects were the need to enhance a collaborative data exchange and “eating is the new shopping”.

The 27th ACI EUROPE Airport Commercial & Retail Conference & Exhibition will take place on 13-15 March 2018 in Tel Aviv, hosted by Israel Airports Authority.

Filip Soete, Chief Commercial Officer, Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, and Dominique Thillaud, CEO Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur, welcomed delegates to Nice.

Olivier Jankovec, Director General, ACI EUROPE, delivered his traditional State of the Industry address.

Dr Patrick Bohl, Head of Retail and Advertising, Budapest Airport and Chair, ACI EUROPE Commercial Forum.

In his keynote address, Richard Cymberg, General Director Global Client Management, L’Oréal Travel Retail, spoke about the new behaviour of consumers and the strategy of the group to attract the growing Chinese travellers.

Sarah Branquinho, President, ETRC and External Affairs Director & Head of Communication Europe & Africa, Dufry, focused on the state of play in the duty free industry.

The First Working Session was entitled ‘Is there a big problem in the airport retail space? Are conversion rates and yields performing far below expectations?’ Participants included: Eugenio Andrades, Divisional Chief Executive Officer UK, Central and Eastern Europe, Dufry; Francis Gros, Head of Global Channels, Luxottica Group; Peter Mohn, CEO m1nd-set; and Rachel Bulford, Head of Retail, Gatwick Airport.

The Second Working Session was entitled ‘Less is more: Are some key profit centres under-appreciated and worryingly over-exploited by over-ambitious concession targets?’ Participants included: Anthony Wagerman, CEO Travelex; Arturs Saveljevs, Director of Commercial Department, Riga International Airport; Frank van der Sant, CCO APCOA Parking; James Ware, General Manager/Vice President France, Enterprise Holdings; and Kam Jandu, CCO Budapest Airport.

The Third Working Session was entitled ‘Exclusive previews: Brand new centres of commercial excellence opening in 2017-20.’ Participants included: Filip Soete, CCO Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur; Ambroise Fondeur, Chief Business Officer, Lagardère Travel Retail; Ugo de Carolis, CEO Aeroporti di Roma; and Walter Seib, CEO HMSHost International.

The day 2 keynote address on ‘Successfully transplanting a global brand to airports’ was delivered by Daphné de Jenlis, CEO Louis Pion – Royal Quartz, Groupe Galeries Lafayette.

The Fourth Working Session was entitled ‘Is F&B both underperforming but, at the same time, the great hope for the future?’ Participants included: Simon Best, Commercial Director, Counter Intelligence Retail; Ezio Balarini, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Autogrill Group; Gérard D’Onofrio, Managing Director, SSP France; and Alexandre de Palmas, CEO Northern Europe, Areas.

The Fifth Working Session focused on the buying trends of the much talked-about, but little-understood millennials, Chinese travellers, and the increasingly affluent aging traveller. Participants included: Tony Whittaker, Leader, Disruptive Technology Group, Travel & Transportation, UNISYS; Paula Oliver, Managing Director, Wildstone Airports; Jérôme Lepage, Marketing & Business Development Director – International Transport, JCDecaux and Vice Chair, ACI EUROPE Commercial Forum; and Luke Barras-Hill, Deputy Editor, TRBusiness.

The conference and exhibition were augmented by two memorable social events. The Welcome Reception took place poolside at the event venue, the Hyatt Regency Palais de la Méditerranée. Meanwhile, the Gala Dinner was held at the majestic Le Negresco.

The exhibition was a showcasing platform and networking opportunity for industry suppliers, covering the broad spectrum of commercial activities, including retailers, brands, F&B, parking, car rental, currency exchange, and digital innovation.

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