Seizing opportunities

Two years ago,

Bacardi formed its Global Travel Retail division with Maurice Doyle at the helm.

As the group enters

its third fiscal year,

Doyle talks to

Felicity Murray

about the transition and his plans

27 August, 2008
Page 20 
Prior to establishing a global business unit, Bacardi operated on a market-by-market basis. Good things were achieved, but the company was missing significant opportunities, according to Maurice Doyle.

"So we set ourselves four objectives," he says. "The first is to, over time, become the leading premium spirits supplier in the travel retail sector. The second is to have a shop window effect in travel retail to help domestic market sales of our core brands - Bombay Sapphire, Grey Goose, Dewar's and Bacardi. The third is to hit a profit target in this stand-alone target market - which in the first two years we have. And the fourth objective, which is a real passion of mine, is to became known as the leading developer of people with talent.

"And I'm glad to say we've made good progress - our business has grown and our profile has improved, but there's room for us to do more of the same."

The travel retail sector is still relatively new to Doyle because, although he has worked at Bacardi for 16 years in a variety of sales and marketing positions, these roles were all in the domestic market.

"Travel retail is a fun sector to be in," Doyle says. "Everybody is very competitive - and rightly so. But you have more links with your competitors than in domestic. So there's good camaraderie and that's one of the things I like best about it."

Five divisions report to Doyle - global marketing and global finance are both based in London, plus sales teams in three regions: Europe Middle East/Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

"Year one was really about forming the teams; year two was putting it all into practice; and now year three is the year we are expected to fully deliver."

Asked what plans Bacardi has for 42 Below, the vodka brand it purchased last year, Doyle replies: "Clearly we think that within the booming vodka market there's ample potential for us to grow the brand. 42 is a very strong brand for us in New Zealand in both the domestic and travel retail markets. It's also strong in Australia travel retail. It's relatively underdeveloped in the rest of the world, but we have made some inroads in terms of widening its distribution, and that will continue. We're not going to over-extend the brand. We want to make sure it builds sales and focus on building franchises in airports.

"The brand has a fantastic 'irreverent, spirit of the moment' personality, but trying to capture that in an airport environment will be challenging. But, if we can do it, then that's a space that no other brand can fill."

With regard to Barcardi rums, Dolye believes there's still a huge potential for Bacardi Superior, despite a generally static market for white rums. He is particularly proud of how, through a number of initiatives, significant growth has been generated for the brand.

These efforts included "the biggest ever" sampling of mojito cocktails at airports. Executed in a consistently high-quality manner, the promotion started in the Americas and ran across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It was a huge campaign that successfully informed consumers that there is a world in which they can drink Bacardi beyond Bacardi and Coke.

Doyle also says he re-focused the Bacardi travel retail team to be passionate about the potential of Bacardi. "Possibly, with new things coming in like Grey Goose, we had lost sight a little bit of Bacardi. But if you look at white spirits, led by vodka, then it's a very hot category. "

He believes it is a great time to be in travel retail with passenger numbers continuing to increase and the huge investments being made by airports. "I'm optimistic for the future of travel retail, but we have to give passengers something they can engage with - something that's exciting, new and different, with theatre and education," he says, "to try and restore some of the past glamour of travelling.

"If we can do that, it will have positive implications for our brands."

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