Taking Care of Business
Do you remember the thrill of back-to-school shopping? From folders to lunchboxes, notebooks to highlighters, we loved every second of it—especially picking out our new backpacks.
The choices were endless. Did we want a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpack that looked like a turtle shell, a backpack with wheels, a mini-backpack or a messenger bag? Did we want an open compartment or dividers inside? Should we choose the ones with organized pockets for our lunch tickets, emergency house keys and pre-sharpened pencils?
Honestly, our decisions changed with each new backpack. But that’s to be expected—we didn’t need the same things in third grade that we did in high school (although the turtle shell backpack would’ve been a good fit for any age).
The same can be said for business and travel bags. The options are endless and often come down to the end-user’s needs. Business and travel bags work best when they allow the travelers to carry them comfortably and fit what they need inside. Read on to learn about four trends that will prove helpful when matching the right bag with the right client.
Over the past few years, the backpack has established itself as a major player in the business and travel scene—and 2015 continues the rise. “Of the top 10 business cases in 2015, seven are backpacks,” said Andrew Spellman, vice president of corporate channels for Victorinox Swiss Army, Monroe, Conn., explaining that one reason for this shift is the transition to a more casual work environment.
Another reason is functionality. “With the advent of smartphones and other tech accessories, a backpack allows hands-free access to these gadgets, making it a much more convenient solution,” Spellman said.
Campbell BrownKorbel, marketing manager at Sweda Company LLC, City of Industry, Calif., agreed, noting that business travel has seen steady growth since 2009. As a result, she predicted the backpack is a trend that is here to stay—continuing at least for the next five years. “No one travels without a laptop anymore, but a separate bag for tech doesn’t make sense for quick trips—especially when on-board space is at a premium,” she explained. “Backpacks for business travel are a great choice for convenient tech storage that don’t compromise on style or function.”
As one of the most popular modes of business travel, it makes sense that end-users would opt for airline-friendly bags—more specifically, those that can help them get through security check-ins as quickly and smoothly as possible.
To assist and appease the frequent flyer, offer TSA-friendly bags, Spellman explained. “It’s a great time-saving feature,” he said in reference to bags that allow end-users to leave their laptops inside as they go through security.
These types of bags not only make the end-user happier and less stressed, they also tend to sell themselves. “Every bag carried through an airport is seen by thousands of eyes, and is a great way to reinforce branding,” BrownKorbel said. “Bags are great conversation starters for frequent travelers. We often get requests for orders based on casual conversations that started with, ‘Hey! That’s a great bag. Where did you get it?’”
Between getting things organized at the office before they leave and making sure they have everything they’ll need on the road, travelers have enough to think about without having to worry about sore shoulders. “Having a bag that is lightweight is still extremely important to most consumers,” Spellman said. With laptops, tablets, smartphones, cords and whatever hard-copy files they may need, travelers already bring plenty of weight, without the addition of a heavier bag. Lightweight bags help keep travelers comfortable and able to focus on the work task at hand.
It’s a digital world, and for business travelers that often means they need to be attached to their phone, laptop or tablet at all times, and they need a bag that makes this constant access easy. “In today’s culture, many consumers carry multiple devices, which means they have multiple chargers and sometimes portable chargers that they now need to be able to transport,” Spellman said.
“Anything that’s built for tech is a hot commodity,” BrownKorbel agreed. “The more feature-rich a bag is, the more demand we get. End-buyers are looking for bags that will not only house their tech (i.e., bags with lots of compartments), but also charge their tech (i.e., include a power bank),” she said, citing additional retail-style touches—including cord and adapter compartments, separated laptop and lined tablet sleeves, and pass-through ports for headphones—as other popular features.
“Pairing [a] power bank with the bag allows us to offer an additional space for branding while upping the perceived value significantly,” said BrownKorbel. “Rethinking what we can do with bags, in this case adding a power bank, allows us to respond to the desire for tech-forward products within a very analog category.”
Allison Ebner is content editor for Promo Marketing, NonProfit PRO and Print+Promo. Reference any animated movie, "Harry Potter" character or '80s band and you'll become fast friends.