Frontline excellence at Changi and Helsinki airports

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Jenny reminded me that I had written about her in a 2015 Blog. This told the remarkable tale of how she had sold a DFS-exclusive range of 28 vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild, the great First Growth Bordeaux, to a single passenger.

Meet Jenny Tan. For many years, Jenny was a frontline wines & spirits champion at Singapore Changi Airport for former concessionaire DFS Group. Today she is a top-class Brand Ambassador for Johnnie Walker employed by the multi-national Sweet&Chilli agency. She’s a walking, talking fountain of knowledge, passionate, proactive and professional in her work.

Jenny recognised me as I was snapping photos of the Lotte Duty Free store in Terminal 1 shortly before my flight from Changi to Helsinki on Thursday evening. “Mr Moodie!” she greeted me with her trademark warmth and smile.

As coincidence would have it, the customer Jenny was serving happened to know me as well. “Hi Martin!” It was Yilin Yang of leading Chinese airport advertising concessionaire Dynamic Winning Partners (DWP).

Yilin was weighing up whether to buy a bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label. By the time her conversation with Jenny was over she had decided to buy not one but two bottles of the beautifully presented Singapore 2220 Cities of the Future edition. Total transaction S$800 (US$600). The kind of sale that does wonders for a retailer’s ATV.

Double happiness: Yilin Yang with her two bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue Label Singapore 2220 Cities of the Future edition

Jenny and her colleagues such as Gerlina (pictured below right) are the human treasures of our sector, the frontline heroines and heroes who can make, break or (as in this case) increase a sale.

Changi Airport is a great meeting place. I also caught up with the Victoria’s Secret team, who are enjoying the region’s travel and business resurgence.

After saying my goodbyes to Jenny, Gerlina and a very content Yilin, a Dewar’s pop-up caught my eye. “Hello Martin Moodie!” came the welcoming reply from the Bacardi Global Travel Retail team on site.

I was greeted like an old friend by Amy Wong, Kirstie Amarant, Kirsty Anniss and Stephen Wong from Bacardi Global Travel Retail and Yong Chiang Lim from brands promotions agency Promopower. We had a nice engaging chat about this top-class pop-up featuring Dewar’s Double Double 20, 26 and 30 Year Old together with the new – and Changi 1st – Dewar’s Double Double 37 Year Old which has been launched as a two-month world exclusive with Lotte Duty Free (look out for the full story on Monday).

A Double Double warm welcome from (left to right with me) Bacardi Global Travel Retail executives Amy Wong, Kirstie Amarrant, Kirsty Anniss, and Stephen Wong with Yong Chiang of Promo Power

The team thanked me for our ongoing coverage of Bacardi Global Travel Retail launches and activations but I told them they are, in fact, the real storytellers. We simply document such great innovations. Ok, there’s a bit more to what we do than that but the essence of so much of our content lies in the fantastic way brands are being brought to life in travel retail. Credit where credit is Dewars, I say.

Picture above courtesy of Bacardi Global Travel Retail

I walked to my gate with an extra spring in my step, delighted as I always am to have witnessed the real-life incarnations of products and activations we write about and to have met the people who so passionately create the shopping heaven that at its best travel retail can be.

Such encounters also vindicate a decision I took way back in 2002 to make our website free for all. No padlocks, no passwords. That means any member of our industry, from Brand Ambassadors to Board Directors can read our coverage. And I love it when I discover they do.

From heaven I headed to Hel. As in Helsinki, en route to somewhere nice. Make that Nice. As in airport. Why am I going to the French Riviera? Watch this space.

As I set up my Interim Helsinki Bureau in the Finnair lounge I realised I had left my mouse (as in laptop accessory not rodent) on the plane. I despise using the touchpad on my laptop so ventured forth in  search of a consumer technology shop to solve the dilemma and ensure I could work during the flight down to Nice.

Help was close at hand. After strolling through the Dufry duty free store I came to a Capi electronics shop. The young shop assistant called Gaby informed me that they only had the cabled variety in stock. No problem, I said, that would do nicely.

Gaby was delightfully helpful and convivial. As she got the item and prepared the payment we started chatting. She is from Vietnam and is completing her Business Administration degree in Finland. I told her why I needed the mouse and what I did for a job.

Gaby told me she really wanted to go into retail management when she completes her studies. She is moving to Brisbane, Australia at the end of the year and I suggested a couple of prominent travel retailers there which might very much like to engage someone with such social and selling skills.

I bid my farewell and headed to my plane. Thank you Gaby and Capi for ensuring the website that never sleeps maintained that status all the way down to Nice.

  • Chào Ông. Tôi là Mẹ của Gaby tôi rất vui khi biết con gái Tôi đã để lại ấn tượng tốt đẹp cho ông trong một lần ông ghé cửa hàng. Tôi chúc ông luôn thành công mạnh khoẻ và thật nhiều hạnh phúc. Rất mong muốn được chào đón ông tại Việt Nam quê hương mến yêu của Gaby❤️

    Hello sir. I’m Gaby’s Mom and I’m glad to know my daughter left a good impression on you during one of your visits to the store. I wish you success, good health and lots of happiness. Looking forward to welcoming you in Gaby’s beloved homeland Vietnam.

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