Socking it to them at The Trinity Forum

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

This month’s Trinity Forum in Mumbai saw a new initiative by The Moodie Davitt Report – an interactive website that allowed delegates to ask question of speakers via their mobile devices.

Both myself and my moderating partner Dermot Davitt carried iPads on stage as we chatted with the various panellists and were able to view then pose many of the excellent audience questions in real time.

It worked well – almost too well, in fact, as scores of questions poured in for the first session, a much-anticipated open debate featuring Julián Díaz, CEO of Dufry; Dayalan Nayager, Managing Director of Diageo Global Travel; and GV Sanjay Reddy, Vice Chairman of GVK and Managing Director of Mumbai International Airport Ltd.

Trying to maintain absolute concentration while talking to three such influential and intelligent figures and monitor the vastly diverse array of questions constantly being updated on a small screen in front of you is no easy task, I can assure you. Especially as with all new technology it posed some teething problems.

Whenever a delegate ‘liked’ another’s question, that question would ‘disappear’ (in fact it was simply jumping to the top of the page) – on several occasions just as Dermot and I were about to read it. Suddenly… nothing.

For a while we thought a kind of virtual censor had entered the room, removing the trickiest questions before they could be asked. By half way through the first day we had cracked it.

There were some great questions:

  • What impact has the price transparency that the Internet has brought had on differential regional pricing and your overall strategy?
  • Aside from price, what other variables should brands and retailers communicate to improve the overall value proposition to passengers?
  • Does airport retail have a public relations crisis on its hands?
  • Have we killed the golden goose of ‘value proposition’ in duty free? Only a few airports (Changi) and a few retailers (WHSmith, King Power) still promote the value message.

And so on… scores and scores of them. Great audience engagement and interaction.

However, I have to tell you that it is quite difficult to look a senior industry executive in the face while your eye is catching the latest ‘question’ to be posed. “Not a question just an observation… nice socks Martin.”

It became even more distracting when the comment attracted 10 ‘likes’, the second-most in fact after Ryan Hill of Edrington’s rather more probing question, “Who owns customer data in Travel Retail? Brands? Airports? Retailers? Surely it’s the airlines and are they the missing link… where are they in our Trinity?”

Ever the professional, but is Julián Díaz smiling about those socks?

Well, for the record, the socks were those of my favourite sock brand, in fact my Moodie travel exclusive sock brand – Paul Smith.

I admit they’re loud (in fact I couldn’t shut them up) but what do you expect? After all, Paul Smith is my sole mate.

At least they were new. Imagine the embarrassment if someone had noted a hole in one of them and posted that observation. It doesn’t take the wisdom of Sockrates to know that there would only be one possible response from the moderator. “Darn it.”

Dark suit, dark socks: The classical look from Dayalan Nayager of Diageo and Dufry’s Julián Díaz
More commonsense fashion from Gatwick’s Guy Stephenson, Hyderabad Duty Free Retail’s Saurabh Kumar and SSP’s Chris Rayner
Putting my best foot forward but I’m not sure I should have
“Now I’ll take one final question about my socks, then it’s time to move on”
Mumbai International Airport Chief Commercial Officer Sanjay Khanna opts for the Argyle look
Flemingo’s Paul Topping (left): “He might be a decent moderator but what on earth is Moodie wearing?”
Paul Topping (admiring the elegance of Cartier’s Michael Guenoun): “Now that’s much better…”
Style personified from Dubai Airports’ Eugene Barry. A secret Inter Milan supporter perhaps?
Dermot Davitt (right), now worried about the direction the questions are going, subtly checks out his deep purple footwear; Swarovski’s Peter Zottl (second from left) is crystal clear as always – dark suit, dark socks
Now here’s a man after my own heart, a sole mate in fact, IBM’s Ravi Shankar

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  • Martin
    Great event , socks need to be more colourful like much of travel retail businesses around the world needs to be.
    Who knows what we will see at the next event
    See you all in Cannes , with socks
    Paul .