Business Travel. For some of us, it's a getaway, a break from the nine-to-five grind, a chance to schmooze with clients and sip Manhattans in the name of business. For the other 99.9 percent of us, it's a headache, a gauntlet of lines and delays culminating in the realization that when our boss said the conference was in Miami, he meant Miami, Indiana.
The one constant in business travel? Everybody's got baggage. (And not just the emotional kind you get from flying coach too often.) There are big bucks to be made with branded bags―all you need is a little market knowledge, some decorating ideas and an understanding of the latest trends.
"Naturally, the corporate community is the first market one thinks of when it comes to business bags," said Paul Rehm, marketing manager for Atlanta-based Ad Products Bazaar. Given the numbers, it's easy to see why. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans make more than 405 million long-distance business trips per year—and that's not accounting for shorter trips (those under 50 miles) or daily commutes.
In other words, business bags get used. A lot. "These bags are effective as promotional products because they are daily-use items for nearly every corporate or business professional, or at least anyone who carries a laptop or files," Rehm said.
Rehm noted that gym bags and duffels are popular giveaway items for corporations that run incentive programs to promote employee wellness. "When we originally began our fitness line … we never imagined how much of its success would come from corporate wellness programs," he explained. "Everyone needs a place to put their fitness towels, change of clothes, yoga mat, exercise band, pedometers, hand grips, jump ropes—why not make it a branded bag?"
While corporations are a good place to start, Andrew Spellman, CAS, vice president of sales for TRG Group, St. Louis, pointed out that the market for business and travel bags is much broader. "[Bags] are used by everyone, there is no key market that stands out from the others," Spellman said. "Whether it's a pharmaceutical sales staff, to a board of directors, to a college student, we all need something to carry our stuff."