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by Andrea Doyle | February 01, 2016

Luggage and incentive programs are a natural pair. But increasingly, incentive winners are looking for style as much as practicality in their cases.

"As we turn the corner into 2016, design is as important as ever and the consumer, especially the aspiring professional, has demonstrated that they are willing to make an investment in quality, particularly in something that they use day in and day out," says Michael Landry, vice president of special markets for Tumi, the South Plainfield, NJ-based luxe luggage brand. "Luggage, in particular, is no longer a black rectangle on wheels. It's part of your wardrobe."
 
 

Tumi

Colorful and stylish is the trend. Canary yellow, purple, ruby red…colorful bags are not only fun but they are easily identifiable in an airport. Fashion prints are making their way onto luggage as well.

"Many high-end fashion brands, New York haute couture houses, featured luggage in the company of their runway models this past fall," says Landry. "Your bag is an extension of who you are, as much as your clothes and accessories."



 

Samsonite

 Even a company like Samsonite, that has been in business for more than 100 years, is adding color to its offerings. Radiant pink, orange, and vibrant blues are now featured. Add a microchip to that, as Samsonite is working with LugLoc, a leader in location services technology, to develop luggage that lets travelers know where their luggage is at all times.

This points to another trend: "smart" luggage that is all the rage. St. Louis, MO-based corporate gifts and rewards house Incentive Concepts reports that Briggs & Riley's Baseline CX collection, which expands or compresses based on what is packed, is one of its best sellers.

Briggs & Riley

 Briggs & Riley's International Carry-On Expandable Wide-Body Upright is ideal for those who want one case for both domestic and international air travel. The short-and-wide wheeled configuration offers maximum packing capacity while still fitting in the overhead.

Another bag that is turning heads is the Trunkster smart suitcase that is zipperless, GPS enabled, with a built-in high-capacity charger and scale. The company boasts that the rolltop entry is the first major update to the core design of luggage since the introduction of wheels. Today's incentive winners expect much more than black cases to hold their clothes -- unconventional is now conventional.