Our 3 day trip to the TFWA Duty Free and Travel Retail Global Summit in Cannes was very successful this year. The TFWA were celebrating their 30th anniversary and certainly lived up to the expectations we have all become used to – and loved – in this very glamorous part of the world.
Celebrating 30 years on the Cannes seafront next to the splendour of some magnificent hotels and luxury shops was a visual feast for design inspiration. Inside the conference, the retail stands were buzzing with new products being introduced into the travel retail sector, along with some rebranding and visual merchandising for some old favourites too. As regular blog readers will know, retail technology is one of our favourite interests here at Barber – and there were also many vendors at the show displaying the latest gadgets to entice travel retail shoppers.
One of the most interesting events we attended at the show was the Sunglasses Workshop and Awards, where the Nuance group were up for an award relating to a design that we had created for them. You can check out a full report of the awards in a previous blog post.
The Sunglasses event presented a great insight into this resilient industry sector. Fashion and accessories are among the best-selling items in travel retail and we were interested to discover that within this growth area, sunglasses sales have increased dramatically in recent years to become one of the fastest growing categories within the travel retail sector.
During the TFWA summit we met with many travel retailers who shared their vision and challenges in airport retailing with us. We hope that some of these opportunities turn into design-based projects where we can continue to share our experience of driving footfall and spend in airports and travel retail environments across the globe.
One or two evenings (after a hard days work) were spent at the local nightclub ‘The Scene’ which put on global DJs to allow TFWA delegates to dance the night away in the glamorous surroundings of the harbour with super yachts moored close by!
We met up with some new airport retailers and some old friends and clients throughout the week at glamorous locations like the Carlton Hotel. On our final day we celebrated a successful week with a cool beer by the hotel pool before heading back to the office, via Nice airport.
On our return to the UK we were interested to hear that tenders are out for Nice Airport to be redeveloped – as our 3 hour wait at the airport whilst our plane was delayed was not so ‘nice’! As customers, we felt unloved and we could see plenty of missed opportunities there for passengers to spend their hard earned Euros in airport stores – if Nice invested in the same kind of redevelopment that British airports like Gatwick and Heathrow have done in recent years.
Until next year … Cannes we love you!