What's New in Luggage & Leather Goods?
By Emily Tipping
If you could only put a single piece of luggage in your program, what should you choose? A carry-on size, according to Pete Mitchell, director of B-to-B sales for Samsonite. Ideally, something lightweight with four wheels to help your recipient maneuver it through the terminal.
"Lightness is a hot trend, and the other trend is everything is carry-on," Landry agreed. "There's two sizes of carry-on: one for domestic at 9-by-14-by-22, and for international it goes down to 20 inches. The other thing that's happening is that the airlines are charging for everything now, and with all the charges, they're charging you to check your bags and that's driving a ton of volume in that wheeled carry-on size."
For example, the T-Tech by Tumi Data Zuse Continental Carry-On (right) will serve your domestic flyers. Designed for the serious business traveler and made from tough ballistic nylon with rich leather trim, the Data collection features travel and business cases that are conservative and sophisticated in their styling, with functional interiors and smart detailing. The compact Zuse Continental Carry-On offers an expandable main compartment and features a zip compartment with suiter and numerous accessory pockets.
Wheels are also important these days, as customers increasingly want four, rather than two wheels. "Four to five years ago, spinners were not a large percentage of our business," Mitchell said. "This year we introduced xSpace, which only has spinners."
The Kenneth Cole upright Pullman (left), available through The Corporate Marketplace Inc., features in-line skate wheels, as well as locking retractable handles to provide optimum mobility and an ergonomic, comfortable grip. It features a durable 900D polyester hard-molded exterior and an interior with a large U-shaped zipper pocket with two additional mesh zipper pockets for smaller items. An exterior expansion zipper on the lid compartment expands to allow for additional storage space. Users can easily access travel documents and frequently needed items with two front exterior zipper pockets.
George Cassius, president of Earth Gear Corp., agreed that wheels are a big trend, with the emergence of even more wheels creating "super power steering for your luggage." He added, "A lot of cases now come with four, as opposed to two, and they're really comfortable to wheel." Earth Gear offers Zero Halliburton luggage pieces to the incentive marketplace, including travel cases with more than four wheels.
Luggage manufacturers also are finding ways to expand the packing space within these smaller bags, according to Ambrozic. "They can change the placement of the handle and wheels to make more room on the inside," she said. "With the airlines forcing more people to carry on with their checked-bag fees, people are looking for more packing space."