It’s the journey that matters

He sees Asia, Latin America – specifically Brazil – and the Gulf States as the main drivers of travel retail growth among the emerging markets, but also notes “a strong growth in Spain in 2015, due to a surge in luxury tourism in Madrid and Barcelona and greater industry focus on the super-premium sector.”

Juliette Allain, commercial director at Nicolas Feuillatte, the third largest international brand, is also bullish. “Globally we have had a dynamic start in 2016 in the global travel sector, with significant growth in all sectors: airlines, cruise line and duty free,” she says. “Our main customers are still airline companies.” While European markets are central, Allain says there’s been a nice development in sales in the US this year. “We still need to do better in Asia, but we are working on this.

“The duty free market is a showcase for all the grandes marques. This is why it’s important to Nicolas Feuillatte to be a strong player in this sector. It offers us contact points in an extremely qualitative environment with our consumers, plus great sampling opportunities. Being only 40 years old, we are the youngest grande maison de Champagne and we still need to attract new consumers and invite them to taste our cuvées.”

Feuillatte has worked hard on producing the exclusive packaging for its range, from Brut Réserve to its iconic prestige cuvée Palmes d’Or, that travel retail demands. But in a new development to be launched this year at Cannes, it has started working with the Camus group to introduce a special champagne, only available in travel retail: Collection Particulière Champagne by Nicolas Feuillatte.

For Olivier de la Giraudière, travel retail director at Lanson: “Travel retail exclusives are an essential part of trading in this channel. From September we are introducing the limited-edition Lanson suitcase, which will contain a bottle of our Black and Rosé Label wines at all Charles de Gaulle and Orly stores in Paris. We must be able to offer travellers a point of differentiation from the high street.”

For the more premium cuvées in the range it’s important to get listed with the top operators in the right outlets. And, while value remains important, particularly in some of the more mature markets, there’s a notable trend towards premiumisation, says La Giraudière. “In special stores such as the Lagardere outlet in Charles de Gaulle airport and in places like Dubai, that’s where wines like the Lanson Collection range (of older vintages) in magnum can feature and the recently released single vineyard Clos Lanson.

“It’s all about the shop window.”