INTERNATIONAL. Lead. Inspire. Transform.

Three simple words encapsulate the focus of the Knowledge Hub programme at this year’s Virtual Travel Retail Expo (11-15 October) as the follow-up to last year’s pioneering industry event takes shape.

A high-calibre Knowledge Hub (conference) programme with a difference – and many new faces – is promised by organisers The Moodie Davitt Report and support partner FILTR.Qingwa. Each day will feature sessions dedicated to the Lead, Inspire and Transform themes, with speakers drawn from both inside and outside the travel retail community.

Next week we will reveal the first big-name sponsors of this event. The Knowledge Hub at the 2020 Virtual Expo received widespread praise for the depth and insight of its programme. It featured 42 Knowledge Hub sessions that attracted 30,051 views, and 32 Experience Hub sessions with 9,147 views.

Michael Schriver (left) and Phillip Nguyen: Leading their respective company’s business in key Asian retail hotspots

Speakers at the 2021 event will include:

  • Michael Schriver, President North Asia, Louis Vuitton (Speaking in a personal not corporate capacity): One of the most knowledgeable and respected voices in Asia’s luxury retail sector and former President Worldwide Store Operations and Chief Operating Officer at DFS Group.
  • Phillip Nguyen, Chief Executive Officer at IPP Travel Retail and Vice President Business Development Imex Pan Pacific Group, Vietnam: Imex Pan Pacific has emerged as one of Asia’s most visionary corporations, with interests spanning luxury, retail, airport management, mixed-use leisure developments, food & beverage, technology, media and more.
  • Senior representative, Women in Travel Thrive: Women in Travel Thrive (WITT) is an inspirational movement founded by a group of women in the travel industry aiming to reduce the impact that COVID-19 has on women’s career progression.  WITT makes connections and opens doors for women across the hospitality industry by facilitating unique and valuable networking events.
  • Ray Gaul, CEO and Co-founder at Retail Cities: Retail Cities is a global retail data and insights firm, primarily focused on fast growth industries and markets. It is the urban retail authority and our passion is addressing our clients’ business questions in retail with our expert, unbiased and fact based approach. Ray Gaul Ray is the former VP Retail Insights, EMEA at Kantar Consulting where he spent 20 years.

Ray Gaul’s presentation will be themed ‘The Contactless Paradox in Travel Retail’

“Cashierless stores are a scalable reality in today’s travel retail sector. Hudson in the USA has embraced Amazon’s ‘Just Walk Out’ technology,” Gaul says. “Other retailers are fast followers. Combined with the pandemic’s push to create contactless experiences for regulatory and sanitary reasons, retail zones in airports and tourist destinations might soon become ‘service from a distance’ environments.

“But wait just a moment. Businesspeople, tourists and adventurers often proclaim that what they love most about their journeys is the chance to meet and interact with locals, retail being the frontline in such interactions. This creates a paradox for retail designers, strategists, and workforces. How can we innovate to make travel retail convenient and sanitary while delivering experiences that guarantee visitors will return and promote each destination?

“In this session, Retail Cities will present some future retail scenarios using examples including those provided by Trigo, a cashierless store solution provider; the StoreLab, a virtual reality retail solution provider; and Brain Propaganda, a neuromarketing science team. The core question we all need to answer: How do we keep humanity at the heart of travel retail?”

The Moodie Davitt Report Founder & Chairman Martin Moodie said: “We are looking to shake up the standard industry conference format this year with a more diverse range of formats, professional backgrounds, geographic and ethnic backgrounds, and an appropriate gender balance. Each of our speakers will be renowned for their capability to lead, inspire or transform – sometimes all three.”

More names will be revealed in coming days.

Exhibitor line-up continues to strengthen

Meanwhile the Exhibition Hall continues to attract more partners, many returning for a second successive year. Forty companies, including retailers, airports, brands, agencies, and distributors have signed up with many more poised to do likewise.


The inaugural Virtual Travel Retail Expo was the key trade event of the 2020 travel retail calendar, attracting over 4,370 unique visitors, who paid over 20,000 visits to the platform. 124 exhibition stands received more than 183,600 impressions and generated 179,700 content clicks.

The post-event survey revealed that 86% of exhibitors and 89% of visitors would return to Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2021.

Moodie Davitt Report and FILTR.QINGWA delivered on their commitments to corporate social responsibility at the 2020 event. Proceeds funded 112 cleft operations through cleft charity The Smile Train; saw 4,250 trees planted via The Trinity Forest Project; and donated US$16,000 to ImpactHK, the 2020 designated charity year for Women in Travel Retail.

Recognising travel retail and food & beverage Superstars

Last week, The Moodie Davitt Report announced the all-important awards categories for its Travel Retail Superstars Awards, a new initiative focused on the vital role of employees, which will take place during the second

The event will be hosted by The Moodie Davitt Report with support from Virtual Expo digital, design and communications agency partner, FILTR.Qingwa, and organised in collaboration with a select advisory committee of human resource and training specialists. They include Marcus Griffin, Global Director of People & Culture at Flash Global Logistics in the US and from 2012 until 2020 SVP/Director – Human Resources, Americas & Caribbean at Dufry; and Heidi van Roon, President & Founder of the Spark Group of Companies in Canada, which provides a range of recruitment and staffing services for luxury & airport retailers and brands.

The Travel Retail Superstars Awards, covering employees across airport, airline, downtown store and cruise sectors, will shine the spotlight on the thousands of frontline and behind the scenes heroes and heroines who have helped keep the industry going throughout 2020 and into this year. A separate FAB (Food & Beverage) Superstars Awards will be conducted separately, also during the Virtual Travel Retail Expo (details later this week).

For more information about the Travel Retail Superstars Awards and/or the Virtual Travel Retail Expo 2021, please contact Irene Revilla, Publisher, The Moodie Davitt Report ( or Sarah Genest, Vice President Sales & Events (