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Kian Gould talking at Trinity Forum 2017
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Insights / Aviation

Trinity Forum: Establishing the digital airport ecosystem

December 12, 2017
About the author Christian HolzschuhChristian Holzschuh
Marketing & 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. 


How airlines can regain trust, loyalty and revenue by taking control of the digital customer journey.

December’s World Aviation Festival in London was a great opportunity to bring the industry together and, although attendance was inevitably lower than normal, there was a strong conference program that carried a mood of guarded optimism. Best of all, I was delighted to see just how strongly the focus was on real action to drive ancillary revenue and recovery.  Much of 2021 has been spent waiting for a recovery to be established and many airlines have understandably been hesitant (or unable) to commit to new investment or major change in their customer operations. The long hoped-for recovery has been impossible to forecast accurately and many airlines opted to simply ‘hunker down’ and wait until a clearer path can be seen through the storm. That strategy carries deep risks. We now face a new phase of crisis as Omicron sadly develops its global presence but the fact is that the world will continue to turn, people will continue to travel, the crisis will eventually recede, and traffic will return. Airlines need to be preparing right now to create the customer experience that the recovery will demand.  Yes, the picture of how the 2022 travel market will look in recovery is still blurred right now - but the key point is that we do already know exactly what the returning customer looks like and what they want. We have a clear understanding of the experience they want - and we have the digital tools to deliver that experience.