Hello Everyone

As regular readers of TRUnblocked.com are aware, this website and blog has provided a successful forum to discuss the burning issues facing the airport and travel retail industry as stakeholders seek to recover from the devastating effects of COVID-19. We’ve had some great contributors who have tackled the vital subjects which at times have made very uncomfortable reading for many in the industry.

Whether people like it or not, it is a pivotal time for the industry to effect positive change that can make it sustainable for the future and help to reduce the time lapse back to a more prosperous airport landscape. With this in mind, and in partnership with the London-based, global design firm Portland, I’m proud to announce we are taking our industry-shaping activities to a whole new level.

We are launching a webinar series – Future Airports: From Here to Where? – with the inaugural event to be staged across two  two-hour sessions on 15 and 16 September 2020. The event will bring together a remarkable line-up of speakers and panellists from both inside and outside the airport and travel retail industry.

We will be confirming the full cast for the event next week – it’s what I would describe as a real ‘brains trust’ and it contains not only familiar, influential industry names but also brings in new contributors to the mix who bring an important outside perspective. This is no time for insularity in airports and travel retail and we wanted to introduce brand new thinking towards the manifold challenges that lie ahead of us.

Attendance to the live broadcast and online event – with a limit of 1,000 places per day – will be free with a donation of 50 GBP, which will go towards creating bursaries for the Duty Free World Council Academy.

Stay tuned to TRUblocked.com to find out more and details of how you can secure your place. In the meantime, please do put those September dates in your diary.

Ibrahim Ibrahim: “Airports need to repurpose themselves and reimagine the consumer experience”

Portland Design, one of the world’s leading design agencies, and industry filmmaker Peter Marshall’s influential travel retail blog trunblocked.com have joined forces to launch two webinars on 15 and 16 September.

“The future focus theme is key,” said Portland Managing Director Ibrahim Ibrahim. “We are not going to focus on what is wrong with the business. Our priority is only to look forward and the two days major on what is bold, new and innovative thinking, covering the entire airport experience.

“However difficult, COVID-19 has created a situation where airports need to repurpose themselves and reimagine the consumer experience. So, we will be looking at all the elements revolving around the consumer’s experience – both the operational process and the commercial components of the holistic experience.

“We will also explore new commercial models. The new reality is that airports will have to deliver more convenient and compelling experiences aligned with new types of revenue.”

“There will be elements that will surprise many, too,” added trunblocked.com Founder Peter Marshall. “And they may make uncomfortable viewing. Many webinars we have looked at these past months have been little more than talking shops, going nowhere fast. We are taking the bull by the horns and intend to tackle the principle issues facing the industry head on.

“How? Well, we’ll be featuring some of the best talent in the industry – airport CEOs, Commercial Directors, institutional investors, major brands, designers, renowned airport consultants and digital gurus.

“These, together with key players from outside the business – consumer behaviourists, international mall operators, social media specialists and a global online search company – will combine to create a forum that has real substance and bite. It will be a very fast-moving event designed to help trigger the one thing this industry needs most – the will to change. Portland and trunblocked.com’s thinking is fully aligned.”

Peter Marshall: “We are taking the bull by the horns and intend to tackle the principle issues facing the industry head on”

Full details of the programme will be published in the week commencing 29 June. There will be a ceiling of 1,000 registrants for each day.

The first live event, combining studio, on-location filming and Zoom is on Tuesday, 15 September between 1000 and 1200 UK time. The second is on Wednesday 16 September between 1500 and 1700 UK time.

“This is essentially a ‘free-to-air’ two-part webinar series,” said Portland Director of Environments Lewis Allen. “There is no single, overarching charity that directly connects with the travel retail business. So we thought it would be a great idea to support the Duty Free World Council Academy’s online learning programme.

“We will create bursaries for people from disadvantaged and diverse backgrounds from outside the business who are seeking to join the travel retail industry as a career, or for those that have recently joined the business. All we are asking is that when everyone registers, they include a daily fee of GBP25 – or more if they choose – to go towards funding this unique travel retail industry project.” [More details will follow next week]

“I am sure this will be one of the most exciting conversations we will be involved in for some time,” concluded Ibrahim. “Everyone involved understands how pivotal this event could be in exploring and, hopefully, redefining the travel retail business.”

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