Why don’t you all f-fade away (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
And don’t try to d-dig what we all s-s-say (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m not trying to cause a b-big s-s-sensation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I’m just talkin’ ’bout my g-g-generation (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) – The Who, Talking about my generation
Melbourne is a long way from home for me, but I am delighted I managed to fly down here for the opening of Dufry’s ‘New Generation’ store at Melbourne Airport.
The store features by some distance the best digitalisation I have seen in airport retail (in fact only Shinsegae Duty Free in downtown Seoul offers anything remotely like it), a stunning wraparound screen that literally and metaphorically lights up the whole store.
At the Trinity Forum in Bangkok earlier this month there was much talk of the convergence of the digital and the physical (or digitalisation and humanisation as Gategroup CEO Xavier Rossinyol memorably put it).
Here at Melbourne Airport that fusion has found thrilling voice. While I was interviewing Dufry CEO Asia, Middle East and Australia Andrea Belardini, I could see the stunning visuals for the new Tiffany Eau de Parfum being relayed all around the store via the digital wraparound screen. The effect was stunning. And yet just feet away from us, sat an engraver personalising bottles of the new fragrance for shoppers. What a lovely, human touch. A personalised message, an individual sentiment, a new fragrance, a gift – all in one. The very future of travel retail was being played out in front of my eyes.
Yesterday also featured maybe the best, and certainly the most fun, Grand Opening I have seen. Dancing pilots and air stewardesses; Champagne served as you’ve never seen it before; loud show-stopping music. Sensational. It wasn’t just the VIPs and guests who enjoyed it; I saw countless photos and selfies taken during what amounted to an exuberant mid-terminal party.
Last night I enjoyed a fantastic dinner at the brilliant Florentino restaurant in downtown Melbourne with Dufry’s Julián Díaz, Jose Antonio Gea, Andrea Belardini and Ken Tse, along with Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi and Chief of Retail Andrew Gardiner. It was a fabulous occasion with some great local food washed down with one of the best Shirazes I have tried in my life (name please Andrew, I may just buy some on the way out today). The meal and the company capped a great day. The day I saw a new generation born.