Looking ahead: A view from Cannes 2023

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

By Marco Passoni

I am writing this sat on the Croisette in Cannes, enjoying the moment of calm before the excitement of the TFWA World Exhibition begins next week. Ahead of meeting partners, old and new, over the next week, this is also an interesting moment to look at the year we have had at 2.0 & Partners, and in travel retail – and also ahead to the months to come.

Being back in Cannes is strange for me. I first visited the show in 1993, but this is my first event since the pandemic and I am excited to return and meet face-to-face with partners, many of whom I have not seen for a long time.

I am also pleased to be here off the back of a strong year for us at 2.0 & Partners. So far, 2023 has seen the arrival of new brand partners, in NAU! and Trilogy Products, continuing our mission to bring newness to retail partners and shoppers alike with our Brand Building service. We have also seen great results from our existing Brand Building partners, such as Sabatini Gin or Acetaia Malpighi, who have secured fresh listings with Gebr Heinemann and released a new product for the travel retail sector.

Furthermore, it has be inspiring to see new concepts and ideas take shape across the luxury travel retail sector with those using our Location, Intelligence & Selection Service, from Moncler’s new stores, including one at London Heathrow, which are great examples of delivering bespoke brand experiences, to the expansion of Dolce&Gabbana’s relationship with Qatar Duty Free as Hamad International Airport continues to be a leader in luxury excellence. Our Location, Intelligence & Selection service continues to grow too, with the recent exciting additions of KIKO Milano and Golden Goose to our partners portfolio.

Delivering a truly tailored experience has been at the centre of much of our work this year, and this was manifested in our recent Retail Academy sessions at Bologna Airport, demonstrating the importance of creating a truly bespoke offer to take the shopper experience to the next level.

20partners CANNES_CROISSETTE Looking ahead: A view from Cannes 2023 Journal  travel retail

Our own team has also been enhanced since 2.0 & Partners attended Cannes last year with the addition of new Senior Partners Monical Casali Belosock and Vittoria Passoni. For me, it is a real delight to be attending Cannes for the first time working alongside my daughter.

But this strong foundation also makes me look to the current state of the market and the challenges we have ahead. I wrote recently about the key issues facing us in Cannes this year, from AI and digital to people and experience, and all of them will continue to shape the market for years to come.

We also have immediate challenges which we must ask serious questions about: The UK government’s foolish Tourist Tax continues to damage our industry, while the refusal of many to engage with the need for a price difference in travel retail continues to stun me. Sustainability is also an issue which can no longer be piled in as ‘something we must look at’ and must become an inherent part of our business; from imbuing it into our daily operations, to doing what we can when we can. For example, this summer we carried out the first ever 2.0 & Partners Beach Clean with our army of Plastic Hunters and I hope to see some of you join us on our next event.

And that, I think, is the main message I take into Cannes this year: The best thing for our business is not about talking about what we should do, but looking at what we have done and how we can do it better in the future.

Marco Passoni has decades of experience in the travel retail sector. He has spent the majority of his career in senior leader positions throughout the market, including a 12-year tenure as CEO of a leading international Duty Free distribution company and a further 8 years running a retail firm that operated fashion mono-brand stores in several international airports.
Today, as Senior Executive VP and founding partner of 2.0 & Partners, he leads the company’s efforts in developing and innovating services which create new opportunities and partnerships for all members of the travel retail Trinity. A former elite-level sailor, with a World Championship to his name, Marco now spends much of his time airside, experiencing the changing travel retail industry first-hand, to better guide partners and clients on the best way to do business in this vibrant and unique market.