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Event Review


IFSA/APEX 2013 IFSA/APEX EXPO ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA, 9-12 SEPTEMBER 2013


APEX and IFSA cosy up


Linda Celestino, APEX president, opened the IFSA/APEX conference in Anaheim with the announcement that it was the largest ever EXPO, with over 3400 delegates. It was the first time the barriers had come down between the two exhibitions, with free access from one to the other. Richard Williams reports


eatly summing up this new development, Celestino said: "We're tearing down walls between our industries. The common denominator is that we each have the interests of passengers at heart.”


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Then guest speaker, Devin Liddell, principal brand strategist at Teague, threatened to turn the received wisdom of ever-increasing ancillary revenues on its head. He said that the industry's adoption of 'less' as a principle for airline service, i.e. less space, less food, less luggage, was not sustainable. Although airlines are still showing an overall profit average of 0.1%, which is the second best performance for 20 years, complaints were up 22%.


Liddell advocated adopting 'more' as the guiding principle, pointing to Apple as an example, whose profit equalled Microsoft and Dell together. He suggested that offering more


makes more profit. For example, hotels and airlines have obvious parallels as businesses and could work better together. While the Holy Grail of the seamless holistic journey was a myth, we should work, instead, on improving the seams between the elements that make up a journey. His five point plan was: 1) Give more to get more, e.g. all-in pricing, because 'we love getting stuff' 2) Get rid of the small anxieties that plague travel: provide baggage transfer direct to the hotel room; give the middle seat passenger a little extra something to compensate for the inconvenience 3) Provide service everywhere: start the movie onboard and finish at the hotel; order room service, adjust lighting, temperature and fragrance in your hotel room from your airline seat 4) Help the hotel to be their best: pre- order post-flight spa services, water and a meal in the room, and express check-in 5) More time in better


"The time is right to bring our two industries together as airlines


increasingly sell food, drink and other products through IFEC systems"


Linda Celestino, APEX president


spaces: a flight delay means a later checkout time and more time spent in your comfortable hotel room or lobby; boarding passes come automatically with checkout.


Liddell's vision was heart-warming and attractive, but not at heart altruistic: “Most good brands have generosity at their core – and the point of brands is to charge more,” he said.


Hot Topics Round Table Session Onboard Hospitality’s Jeremy Clark hosted this year’s session. Topics included US FDA and Department of Agriculture issues moderated by Nianna Burns and Bruce Kummer for the FDA and Jose Ceballos and IFSA’s Dean Davidson for the Department of Agriculture. Two tables were dedicated to discussions on controlling buy- on-board, hosted by United Airlines’ director of retail programmes, Todd Traynor-Corey, and Stuart Bernstein, md of Gate Gourmet Retail Solutions.


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