IAADFS provided show goers with a preview of the conference that will be an integral part of next year’s Summit of the Americas, with two mornings of educational sessions at its Duty Free Show of the Americas last month.
On Monday morning, a panel of speakers representing specific regions discussed “Growth Opportunities in the Americas.” The session was moderated by Martin Moodie of The Moodie Davitt Report, and panel mem-bers Gustavo Fagundes, ASUTIL President and COO of Dufry Brasil; Abe Taqtaq, FDFA President and Vice President of Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Duty Free Shop, Inc.; and Erasmo Orillac, IAADFS Chairman of the Board and CEO of Motta Interna-cional, addressed opportunities and challen-ges they see in the market.
Fagundes began the discussion explaining how important currency stability is to the business, especially in Latin America which is so prone to business cycles. Orillac pointed out that the advent of low cost airlines has made air travel accessible to more people than ever. Taqtaq noted that Canada’s business is heavily influenced by currency and fuel costs, in addition to the fact that the country borders on the most competitive market in the world.
Martin Moodie challenged the panelists to where they see real opportunities. Orillac’s list included safety on the borders, informed consumers, pre-selling and digital, with emphasis on millennials—“the consumer of the future,” he said.
Fagundes also stressed the importance of appealing to millennials, but also said the industry must begin communicating with consumers very early in the journey, before the travels begin. While Taqtaq sees opportunities by catching up to the retail landscape in the US, reinventing their border stores to make them destinations, and engaging customers. He later stressed that the US/ Canada border customer is a “B” consumer for whom the value proposition is still key.
“We need to communicate to our travelers that this is an opportunity to save,” he said.
The first session concluded with Moodie asking each panelist for his one wish for the industry. For Taqtaq, it’s having suppliers look at the border stores as an opportunity. Orillac wants the focus on working better with government and customs.
Fagundes may have put it best: “we must keep relevant if we are to keep on growing,” he concluded.
Following the panel session, Peter Mohn, Owner and CEO of m1nd-set, and Christine Martin, Managing Director of Travel Retail Training, presented “Sales and Customer Insights — Maximizing Your Potential.”
The two industry experts shared their insights into techniques to increase sales volume and customer penetration, focusing on employee engagement in the duty free and travel retail channel.
They also offered advice regarding ways to attract and engage the millennial shopper and how to more effectively use social media.
Tuesday morning’s education session, “Border Duty Free — Crossing the Frontier,” featured a discussion about the special challenges and tremendous opportunities faced by duty free border store operators. Simon Falic, Chairman of Duty Free Americas, Inc.; Abe Taqtaq, Vice President of Windsor-Detroit Tunnel Duty Free Shop, Inc.; and Enrique Urioste, CEO of Neutral Duty Free, discussed border duty free stores from their unique geographic perspectives in this session, moderated by Peter Mohn