With another Halloween officially in the books, focus has shifted towards the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. And while most of us are still coming down from our pumpkin/candy high, others have begun creating shopping lists for the most anticipated dinner of the year. Prior to getting to that day though requires preparation in all shapes and forms. For many of us, that also includes booking travel.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are amongst the busiest travel periods of the year. According to the US Department of Transportation, the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period reports a 54 percent increase in long-distance trips (indicated as destinations 50 miles away). While stress levels are sure to soar during the traveling period (because who hasn’t had a stress-free holiday), one way to avoid added anxiety, along with incremental airfare costs might just be avoiding those pesky little airline baggage fees.
Introducing: Orion Travel Tech.
Founded by a former Continental Airlines flight attendant, Gary German, Orion Travel Tech has begun offering passengers the opportunity to turn their luggage into mobile billboards in exchange for covering checked-bag fees.
How does it work? Interested travelers pay Orion a $19.99 annual membership fee (although Today Money reported German recently removed the fee) and in exchange, they send you a two-piece hard-shell luggage set inclusive of a 21-inch carry-on and a 29-inch luggage to check, equipped with a GPS and luggage-tampering alert system. Both pieces are wrapped with the logo of one of Orion’s advertising clients. Orion then provides a $50 gift card for each time you travel to be used to cover your checked baggage fees, along with free goodies packed inside the suitcase. Graphics are dependent upon the advertiser at the time, but could range from national brands such as GM, Toyota, and Southwest Airlines to fictional characters associated with Geico, Star Wars and other popular movies such as Despicable Me.
Interested advertisers can wrap anywhere from 10,000 to 1,000,000 luggage sets over a 4-6 period generating thousands of impressions as the luggage travels from car to train to plane. Like a Thanksgiving dinner though, preparation time is key and these hard-shell luggage sets do take time to cook. The graphics are not wrapped, but instead are molded into the plastic for durability. It takes 32 days to manufacture the sets, 21 days to ship to two different ports in the USA and then another 7 days to ship directly to your home.
The program is set to launch end of November, just in time for the hustling and bustling crowds. It’s hard to say whether or not this idea will take off. While one benefit to the advertiser is watching the brand go global in just one day, the lack of control could pose challenges. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and see if these new hard-shell suitcases make a presence on the baggage carousel!