by Andrea Doyle | January 21, 2014

Luggage can be used for any type of program and any type of audience because everyone travels. “It really doesn’t matter if travel is by plane, train, or automobile. The important consideration is to match the type of luggage with the demographics of the audience that is participating in the program,” says Jody Running, vice president of sales for Top Brands, an Oshkosh, WI-based national marketing company. “Not only does luggage have a high suggested retail price, but it can hit many price points depending on the number of pieces used for the redemption levels.”
This year, incentive recipients are choosing to redeem lighter and lighter cases. “In real estate, it’s all about location, location, location,” says Mike Landry, director of special markets for Tumi. “In the luggage industry it’s all about lightweight, lightweight, lightweight.” 

Ultra-light hard-shell cases with swiveling wheels at all four corners and a telescoping handle are extremely popular. Tumi has taken these two trends and combined them in its Tegra-Lite line that is made from Tegris, a revolutionary material created by Milliken for use in lifesaving armor.

“Today, it’s all about the carry-on bag. Nobody wants to carry big luggage today,” says Landry. “Carry-ons make people more mobile and save them from checked-luggage fees.”

Landry also predicts an increase in luggage “fittings” at events and incentives. The customized fittings traditionally involve eight different styles of cases put on display by a Tumi representative. Incentive winners can then choose the one they like best and what they would like monogrammed on the case, which will be delivered within 10 days. 

Samonsite Lightens Up
Although Samonsite has had its fourth straight year of record sales and profits, the company is on a diet of sorts. Its focus is on making all its products as light as possible. “Making a product light is a hard thing as it must remain durable, be able to withstand what veteran travelers will put it through, and be something we want to put our name on,” explains Pete Mitchell, director of business-to-business sales for Samonsite.  

The company saw sales for LIFT, its No.1-selling collection, decline due to weight issues and has replaced it with LIFTwo, a new collection that is eight ounces lighter, says Mitchell. Another Samonsite best-selling collection, HYPERspace, is being replaced by HYPERspaceXLT, which is a halfpound lighter and is available in new colors such as purple and green.

Samonsite Silhouette Sphere Spinner Luggage is coming on strong thanks to its spinner mobility, and is reintroducing the color brown to its collection. 

In August 2012, Samonsite bought high-end luggage brand Hartmann. The brand is at the beginning of a new lifecycle in the incentive market, says Mitchell, and will be unveiling a new lightweight collection this year. 

“Today, luggage is more of a fashion piece. In the past, all you saw were black pieces,” Mitchell says. “Now there are more trends in color.”
Samonsite is also renaming its Aspire line to Aspire GR8, and will be adding a fourth color — hot pink —  to the collection.

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