Trinity reignited

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

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The Trinity concept – and spirit – is alive and kicking. That was the unmistakable conclusion to emerge from the fifth Trinity Forum that concluded in Macau last Friday.

As has been well documented, the event was postponed from its normal March slot due to the economic crisis. But as the dark shadow of gloom continued to hang over the industry through the second quarter, prospects for the Forum looked distinctly mixed.

In the end a late rush of registrations saw some 180 delegates turn up – a significant decline on previous years but a thoroughly decent number given the slashing of travel budgets throughout all sectors of the industry.

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Despite some disappointing absences – as one delegate noted, where was suppliers’ association TFWA at a meeting so pivotal to the interests of the brands that make up the association? – and a lower than usual turnout of suppliers and airport companies, the quality of delegates, particularly among retailers and food & beverage operators, was very good.

It was nice to see Ed Brennan and Michael Schriver of DFS there, for example; Gunnar Heinemann from Gebr Heinemann; Roberto Graziani from Nuance; Antares Cheng of King Power; Sunil Kapur of Travel Food Services and many other CEOs and senior executives. Such high-level support is both encouraging and motivating.

The Trinity concept – of encouraging greater empathy between the industry stakeholders in an attempt to drive the consumer offer and overall revenues – has had its share of sceptics down the year (all notably absent from this year’s event, presumably due to a reluctance to invest in travel).

So it was great to see so many of the industry’s leading figures championing the principles of partnership that are integral to the Trinity concept and presenting case studies to show they work. If we don’t champion those ideals; if we don’t champion aspirations to retail excellence or even greatness, what chance do we have as an industry?

This Trinity Forum will live long in my memory. I won’t forget the camaraderie of the Opening Cocktail, as delegates realised so many of their peers had braved the crisis to attend. I won’t forget the warmth and humanity of CAM – Macau International Airport Company, the most gracious of hosts we have ever seen.

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I won’t forget the strength and integrity of the various presentations, led by the inspirational ‘Jack in the Box’ spark of Diageo’s Phil Humphreys (below with me on stage); the airport buy-in of Derek Larsen, Dan Cappell and Peter Eriksson; the statesmanlike eloquence of DFS Group’s Christian Strang; the committment of  Qatar Duty Free Company’s Keith Hunter and the vision of his CEO Akbar Al Baker; and the passion of GMR’s Suredj Autar (second picture below).

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I won’t forget (and nor will any delegate) the fierce exchange between Nuance’s Roberto Graziani (below), Suredj Autar, Aer Rianta International-Middle East’s John Sutcliffe and IDFS’s Deepak Talwar over Graziani’s criticism of the US$50 million upfront payment that was required of bidders in the Delhi International Airport Terminal 3 duty free bid. It was candid and strong stuff and the Forum was all the better for the honesty of it.

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I won’t forget the quite unforgettable scenes in the bar of the MGM Grand in the small hours after the Gala Dinner as I watched most of my delegates partying as there would be no tomorrow – yet knowing, quite worryingly, for the Forum there needed to be one. And yet (almost) to a weary man and woman they showed up the next day.

Where does Trinity go next? In simple terms it has to keep evolving, just as our industry must. Whereas the first event, way back in 2003 (‘Oh I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now’ – Bob Dylan ), focused on the tender model that underpins so much of our industry, Trinity really has become a platform for advocating partnership, progress and promotion of excellence.

I may be biased but I believe those are virtues we should never, ever, give up on. And I pledge you this – the next Trinity Forum will be a whole step up again. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

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  • Dear Martin,

    Nice to know that you have pulled off yet another successful Trinity Forum. Due to various reasons, I wasn’t present this year but kept a close watch on what was happenning at Macau. Your continued sincere efforts towards the Travel Retail Industry is most appreciated by self and I am sure this would be the same reaction from my fellow members here too. Please accept my Best Wishes for your future endeavors and as I always say, “Miles to go…”, So keep rocking!