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Trinity Forum: Establishing the digital airport ecosystem

December 12, 2017
Author Christian HolzschuhChristian HolzschuhMarketing & Communications

On November 1, 2017, world-leading executives of airports, retail operators and brands met for the three-day Trinity Forum Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. The world's leading global airport commercial revenues conference brought together professionals from around the world to improve the dialogue and mutual understanding of all parties to benefit the traveling consumer.

AOE CEO Kian Gould sets the stage for high-level panel

One of the highlights of the event was the panel discussion "Driving and combating disruption – positive and negative – in airport commerce." AOE CEO Kian Gould set the stage for lively debate with a thought-provoking presentation on disruption, digitalization and the future of airport non-aviation commerce.

Adil Raïhani, Co-Founder and Partner of The Blueprint Partnership moderated the panel. Other panelists included Changi Airport Group Airside Concessions Division, Online Division, Online Retail General Manager, Nicole Foo; Fraport Vice President E-Commerce, Jens Paul; and Auckland Airport General Manager Retail and Commercial, Richard Barker.

Where impulse purchases amounted to 65 to 70 percent in the past, we are now seeing less than 30 percent in impulse purchasing and around 70 percent in planned purchasing.

One of the major challenges all stakeholders face is the dramatic turnaround in traveling customer purchasing behavior. “Where impulse purchases amounted to 65 to 70 percent in the past, we are now seeing less than 30 percent in impulse purchasing and around 70 percent in planned purchasing,” says Kian Gould. According to Gould, the single-biggest disruptor in the retail environment, including travel retail, is the mobile device.

Combine these two factors and you realize that all players need to rethink the business of generating and growing non-aviation revenues. The only solution for this challenge is for airports to adapt to the changing consumer environment, evolve into a digital ecosystem and collaborate with service providers that think outside the box, Gould concludes.

The Moodie Davitt Report e-Zine: "Establishing the digital airport ecosystem"

Please check out the videos below for an in-depth look at the topic of digitalization in airport commerce, answers to key questions that currently move the industry and Kian’s keynote address.

Presentation Video: “The Non-Aviation Revenues Disruption”

Presentation Slides: “The Non-Aviation Revenues Disruption”

Q&A of open Trinity Forum questions

Not all questions concerning digitalization at airports could be answered at the Trinity Forum. Kian Gould answers the open questions in the following video. 

Aviation & Travel

True Innovation Comes Outside The Cabin

One of the biggest emerging trends I have seen in the airline sector over the last couple of years is the concept of passenger self-serve onboard or order to seat. Despite the almost constant discussion at every industry event, the funny thing is, this isn’t really new at all – almost 10 years ago, a former CEO of an onboard retail technology provider proclaimed: “Over time the duty free model will shift to 100% passenger self-service transactions. One of the biggest reasons being the fact that the trolley only comes down the aisle once a journey, for half an hour – in essence the duty free store is only open for half an hour. If I can make transactions myself, through self-service technology, the store is open for the entire flight.” And yet, a decade later, this isn’t even close to the reality on-board most aircraft. During the pandemic, with the need for social distancing, coupled with a desire for innovation, self-service again bubbled to the fore – it gained a new level of relevance. With passengers across all demographics accustomed to ordering everything from groceries to new cars via their phones, digital transactions onboard an aircraft look to be a natural extension of what has become an everyday digital experience. The aviation sector is obsessed (but occasionally intimidated) by digital answers, and there is much that can already be done. Making a digital store available for browsing and even purchasing is achievable, both on IFE and passengers own devices. The process raises a number of operational implications, such as how crew learn of and deliver orders, how payments are handled (particularly if there is no air-to-ground connection) and how this sits alongside the existing cabin service. All of these issues require significant thought and, in some cases investment; and there lies the heart of the problem.