I’m exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Every which way. Running an event such as The Trinity Forum simply takes it all out of you. Besides the intensity of the preparation, it’s the pressure-cooker atmosphere of managing the introductions, the time-keeping, the speeches, the speakers, the room, the audience, the question and answer sessions and much more besides that really drains you.
I’m my own harshest critic and I always relive every moment of every session, thinking what could have been done different or better. I hate the slightest audio-visual glitch, or any other shortcoming. My co-moderator Dermot Davitt (utterly brilliant over the past few days) is similarly perfectionist and was equally tired at the end of it all.
Hats off to my whole amazing team, in fact, from brilliant staff such as Rebecca Earley, Rebecca Mann, Sinead Moodie, Helen Pawson, Jon Elphick, Ray Heath, Gavin Lipsith, Connie Magner, Bob Wilby and Ed Lake who didn’t get to even see the event but contributed so much, to the excellent on-site team of Victoria Bowskill, Melody Ng, Matt Willey, Sarah Genest, Dermot Davitt and Claire Wates. In addition to the Forum itself, the publications below (plus a major opening video) were all produced in the preceding fortnight, some against all the odds.
That feeling was eased significantly by the superb staff at the Ever Rich Duty Free-run Huan Yu VIP Terminal (below), who made our entry and exit into/from Taipei as seamless, efficient and friendly as you would fine anywhere in the world. The Trinity Forum-themed buggy was just typical of the little touches that Ever Rich Duty Free and Taoyuan Airport specialise in.
Tiredness aside though, we’re feeling a quiet sense of satisfaction at a job well done. Last night I flew to Dubai with Dermot (he then went on to Dublin, me to London) and it must be said that we partook of a celebratory glass or three of the excellent Voyager Sauvignon Blanc Semillon from Australia’s Margaret River onboard Emirates maybe interrupted by the odd (never drink even numbers) of Moët & Chandon Champagne, as we pored over events of the past few days.
The only real verdict that matters of course is that of the consumer – in this case our delegates, host, sponsors and speakers. Given that we had to switch both the date and venue for this year’s Trinity, we were delighted at the overall attendence (around 345 delegates) and, more importantly, the quality of attendant. 16 of the world’s leading travel retailers were present, as were most of its top food & beverage operators; 45 airports (including last-minute additions from Incheon and Indonesia); and many great brands.
Delegates rightly expect a number of benefits from industry conferences: great networking; good content married to efficient programme management; real insight and learnings; top-class facilities and hospitality.
It has to be said that our Taiwan hosts and event sponsors – Taoyuan Airport, Ever Rich Duty Free and Tasa Meng – excelled themselves. What wonderful, warm and gracious people they were. My personal highlight was giving The Moodie Report’s first-ever Humanitarian The Moodie Report Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility in travel retail to Ever Rich Duty Free Chairman Simon Chiang (below) at the Gala Dinner on Thursday night.
I have written many times about Mr Chiang’s leadership in giving back to the community. From the Chairman down to the newest sales advisor or the warehouse worker, the Ever Rich team are wholly committed to making society a better place. I know many rich men, some of whom regularly write cheques to good causes. I know few, who immerse themselves in the cause of humanity than Mr Chiang.
I noted on Thursday night: “Ever Rich’s combination of personal and corporate commitment has led to remarkable results across communities at home and abroad; in support for the young, the old, the disadvantaged, the dispossessed, the desperate. It has led to a wholehearted commitment to promoting the country’s heritage, history, commerce, crafts, culture, tastes and traditions, not least at Taoyuan Airport.
“That generosity of spirit is driven by the vision of one man, the generosity of one man – a remarkable, humble man who started three charity foundations in memory of his father – another man who always thought of others first despite hailing from a small and poor rural part of Taiwan – and has carried his care for the community around him throughout his buisness life.”
When he came on stage to receive the award, Mr Chiang was as humble as ever, saying “We must do more. We must keep doing more for others.” It was very moving and several tears were shed by his team and business associates as he accepted a long standing ovation.
The following evening our excellent partners at ACI and Asia Pacific and my team were invited to a private dinner at Ever Rich’s magnificent headquarters in Neihu. We took along with us as our guest Maritime Mercantile International (MMI) and Emirates Leisure Retail Group CEO Andrew Day, one of the star speakers of The Trinity Forum. Mr and Mrs Chiang and son and daughter Kevin and Michelle treated us magnificently, with some outstanding food and wines (Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild) but more importantly the warmth of the family welcome. An unforgettable night.
[Simon Chiang presents Martin Moodie with a beautiful Taiwanese tapestry on Friday evening]
[From left: Maritime Mercantile International and Emirates Leisure Retail Group CEO Andrew Day, Martin Moodie, Victoria Bowskill, Matt Willey and Dermot Davitt of The Moodie Report]
During our stopover at Dubai International T3 we stopped off to look at one of the Le Clos stores run there by MMI – surely the best wines and premium spirits shops in travel retail. We spoke at length with sales advisor Sandy (pictured) whose knowledge of and passion for wine was deeply impressive. As we were about to depart the store for our flights, he asked if we were Messrs Moodie and Davitt. It turned out that Andrew Day had left a bottle of nice Feltham Road (excellent New Zealand Pinot Noir from Central Otago) for each of us. What a classy touch.
Thank you Andrew. Thank you Taipei. Thank you Taoyuan Airport and its partners Ever Rich Duty Free and Tasa Meng for being such gracious hosts. Now it’s back to the day job and a few short weeks to prepare our major edition of the year, our Cannes print issue. Time to take a deep breath and then it’s all on again.