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Intoduction by: Peter Marshall

The beauty about writing the trunblocked.com blog is that it can cover a whole range of subjects and be selective, too. Whether crafting serious, insightful features on industry issues, producing brand profiles or highlighting new products that will improve the overall consumer travel retail offer, or pioneering tech that actually works – even to irreverent blogs like the short one you are about to read – it’s just a lot of fun. And, based on the tremendous response the blog has received from the business, the extraordinary traction it has achieved, our partners – existing and new – that have made it all possible, I can only promise you there is more and better to come.

Cannes 2023: some take outs

So what was it about Cannes that made it special this year? Well, for a start as we have all read, the numbers were impressive all round – attendees at the conference, number of exhibitors, buyers, visitors and parties galore. And sponsors. Qatar Duty Free was omnipresent.

The key point is that the business is back to (almost) booming and there was a clear buzz about the place.

The opening party at the Carlton Beach also had record numbers, but the queue to get in was absurdly long at times and a source of frustration to many. TFWA do need to take another look at the logistics, or find another venue – however grand the refurbished Carlton Hotel is as a backdrop.

Apparently the road works along the Croisette are going to continue for another couple of years. Ooof!

I was sorry to miss the conference. I only hear good things about it. But reading the content of Erik Juul-Mortensen’s speech resonated deeply with me. It might be a little late for TFWA to raise this, because many in the industry, including trunblocked.com, have been beating the drum on the subject of data sharing for a considerable time. The GTR industry is widely regarded as being complacent and now, post COVID, that it is largely back on its feet, surely this is the moment to stop the slide of consumer conversion and adopt different, better practices, better partnerships and business models that will generate increased sales. And, frankly, give travelling passengers what they want: greater choice at better prices. The global travel retail industry has lost sight of its USP.

Maybe that’s where – in part –  Duffle comes in, with the recent investments from Dufry (now Avolta) and Gebr. Heinemann to accelerate digitisation in the world of travel retail and food and beverage at airports. It’s early days, of course, and the jury is still out, but it looks like a decent initiative from two of the industry’s leading players.

The announcement by L’Oréal and Gebr. Heinemann last week of their sustainability partnership also has the makings of something good for the industry, its customer base and the planet as a whole.

What’s in a name?

Dufry’s announcement of a change of name to Avolta and a corresponding logo change caused quite a stir. The most obvious comment from one industry wag was the immediate connection to our world by prefixing TR, so TRavolta. But, in our business, it’s not a question of putting your dancing shoes on, it’s just a name. Important inside the business, yes, but not as a brand to customers. It’s what inside our stores that counts.

And the winner is….. 

Ah, and of course we come to the awards season. In truth, I think it might be fair to say that awards in the aviation and travel retail business are not exclusively confined to Cannes – they seem to be appearing almost monthly and arguably this is far too much and effectively dilutes the genuine worthiness and value of some. I am not a fan, but fully understand the importance to newcomers and why many believe winning and being seen to win is important. A new award provider this year was Christine Martin and the Go For Gold Awards. Here the criteria appeared different, and it looks like it may have the makings of something that will become more meaningful in the years ahead.

So that’s it for 2023. A vintage year for business and looking forward to 2024 and more fireworks.


Peter Marshall

Founder: trunblocked.com/Marshall Arts

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