Ceetra Members Meet Top Industry Execs in Budapest


Andrzej Milaszewicz

Key players of the travel retail industry in CEE countries met in Budapest yesterday to discuss trends and best practices in turbulent times, at the Travel Retail Forum 2022 by Ceetra, the Central and Eastern European Travel Retail Association.

A Platform for Local Brands to Boost Business

Opening the conference, Andrzej Milaszewicz, chairman of Ceetra and CEO Lagardere Duty Free (Polska), said “I am glad that as announced in Warsaw on the 27th of April, we can finally meet in person, starting with a networking dinner and a great opportunity to experience the Zwack Unicum factory tour.”

He stressed the importance to discover the specificities of the region and creating an open platform for local brands to show up boosting business opportunities.

“With the war in Ukraine still raging, we need to get ready for even tougher trading environments. People in Central Europe are uncertain about their disposable income in the future, and we have a crawling crisis to manage," Milaszewicz added.

Today, the appetite to travel is unbroken in the CEE region, and those able to serve and excite the traveler will excel, according to the industry expert.

“Attracting and motivating staff to deliver excellent service and adjusting assortment and design to get the most out of our spaces is key. Innovation can include digitalization, but only where it makes sense. For example, when it speeds up processes, improves staff efficiency or creates real customer benefits, such as avoiding a queue. Also, product knowledge is key, and digital solutions can help staff to assist customers better,” he noted.

Budapest Airport Launches Go2030, Looks Back at a Successful Summer

In his opening statement, host Kam Jandu, CCO of Budapest Airport, underlined the importance of cooperation across airports and retailers to adapt to ever-changing consumer expectations and create the best travel experience.

"We had a really good summer with average queuing times at security screening of 10 minutes - big compliments to our colleagues," Jandu explained.

Dwell time in the commercial areas was high, with spending per passenger of EUR 8.75 on average (pre-crisis: EUR 9.1).

He noted that passengers are much more likely to consume food and drink now, and retail space has to be adjusted to follow this trend.

“We are calling our new commercial strategy Go2030, which will create new space for high-performing categories. We are right-sizing the space and looking at smart solutions, such as self check-out.”

Retail categories booming at BUD include perfume and cosmetics, CTN, toys, and confectionary, according to the executive director.

Gift Sharing as a New Trend

Summarizing the results of passenger surveys and interviews, Anna Marchesini of the travel research company M1ndset highlighted two main changes in consumer behavior, “We saw an increasing share of people who buy for themselves at the expense of gifting. But also, a new trend emerged: gift sharing. You buy products for someone, but in the end the shopper is also the consumer.”

Secondly, she continued, more people arrive at the store knowing exactly what they want. The share of passengers who have planned to shop, but have not yet decided what, remains nearly unchanged at 49%, and the decision happens inside the store.

Julie Lassaigne, secretary general of the European Travel Retail Confederation, focused on the EU commission’s efforts towards the adoption of a VAT tourism package. Offering duty-free for passengers returning from third countries on arrivals, as well as at railway stations, may become part of the package, she stressed.

“Our objective is a deepening engagement with 27 member states in the coming months. The commission should be made aware by governments that this is worth pursuing,” Lassaigne argued.

Inflyter and Priority Pass Team up to Deliver Duty Free to Lounge Seats

Wassim Saadé, founder and CEO of duty-free tech start-up Inflyter, advised the travel retail industry to learn from other sectors. Restaurants and hotel chains have found aggregators to be a major driver of sales, in addition to their own channels. Inflyter offers such an option, by working with retailers and airports but also brands, to offer a complete experience.

“Consumers are dictating how they want to order. They prefer integrators, not visit each page individually”, he stated.

Inflyter’s app allows customers to scan boarding passes, pre-order duty free and pick up from automated lockers, as well as browse available products. The next stage of development is an offering for priority pass customers to deliver duty free to the airport lounge.

Anca Apahidean, regional director Eastern Europe IATA, said the airline’s association is “working with airlines, airports, governments and industry associations on priorities technology, passenger process and baggage operations.”

Working together to benefit the customer, she stated, that “not one owns the customer, but we all do”.

According to the latest IATA Passenger Survey, some 57% of passengers are interested to receive information on fast-track options, followed by upgrades (56%), lounge access (42%) and duty free offers (21%).

Poland Steps up Expansion of Airport Infrastructure at Radom

Participants were shown a first glance of the brand-new Warsaw-Radom Airport by Witold Janiszewski, head of legal and head of commercial, marketing and PR at Polish Airports State Enterprise (PPL).

The new terminal will span an area of 30,000 sqm and contain retail as well as catering zones operated by PPL owned Baltona.

“LOT has announced to start operating flights to Copenhagen, Paris and Rome starting on April 28, 2023, so that will be the official date for first flights, he noted. 

Tour operators such as Nekera and Itaka have started to enquire, and a new family center will attract families and children from the neighboring area to visit the airport, too. Even considering the distance from Warsaw, “Radom is our answer to limited capacity and increasing demand” as it serves a catchment area of 5.1 million inhabitants, he added.

Gebr. Heinemann Outlines Growth Plans

Ildikó Jankovich, VP sales of Gebr. Heinemann, outlined how the global retailer plans to achieve further growth, “A new vision of Gebr. Heinemann has not been developed because of the pandemic, but certainly, COVID-19 had an impact on the value proposition.”

Turning travel time into valuable time for travelers, while becoming the most human-centric company in global travel retail is the mission of the family-owned business, Jankovich revealed, adding that that the group turnover is planned to increase from a forecasted EUR 3.6 billion in 2022 to EUR 4.2 biln next year.

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