Baggage has long been intrinsic to leisure travel — think Posh Spice/Victoria Beckham with stacks of matching Louis Vuitton — but it is currently becoming more prominent as a business travel issue as traveller centric programmes gain popularity.
Travel managers are increasingly aware of ways that user-friendly programmes with traveller welfare in mind can also reduce costs.
Business travellers have always tried to travel with hand baggage only. The reason is simple. The most important thing for them is time and if you can carry your own bag you avoid having to wait for your bag to hit the luggage carousel.
Time is why the 'Priority' tag that goes on checked baggage for those on business class flights carries such a value. As checked baggage for non-business class passengers often includes a fee, it means a higher trip cost.
So travellers prefer carry-on bags to save time and that saves companies money. But even carry-on baggage comes with an associated time and money cost. And two of the six start-up businesses competing for this week's London Business Travel Summit Innovation Award being in the baggage business demonstrated how business traveller baggage is becoming a corporate travel management issue.
AirPortr is a business which moves your bag from your home, hotel room or office through the airport, for you. Randell Darby, founder and CEO, explained in his presentation how this definitely saved time because faster rail transfers between airport and city centres can be used and that similarly they can be used within a city and that time used for more meetings — or more preparation for meetings.
AirPortr, however, was pipped to the winners' podium by DUFL, a US business coming shortly to the UK which collects the contents of your case when requested, cleans the items and delivers them to a specified destination. It is expanding quickly and is at present available also to some international destinations within Europe, Canada, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.
Corporate travel buyers in London were engrossed by the DUFL and AirPortr offerings on the same day that the IATA World Passenger Symposium being held currently in Dubai discussed the extension of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to dramatically reduce airline costs resulting from lost bags. SITA, the company which specialises in airline communications and IT, and IATA put a business case for widespread adoption of RFID. The technology is highly accurate — a recent pilot with Delta had a 99% success rate for tracking bags. It tracks passengers' baggage in real time across points in the journey, a practice which they claim will reduce the number of lost and delayed bags by 25% - or $3 billion - by 2022.
Reduced costs for airlines is also reduced bother and wasted time for business travellers.