Pack your bags
7 Jul 2022
This week: We unpack what 2022’s summer travel boom means for retail.
JOY OF THE JOURNEY
Rumour has it, 2022 will be the biggest year for travel in a very long time. As governments loosen Covid restrictions around the world, people are traveling more for business and for leisure alike.
• The old saying is true: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. In the New York Times, senior public relations manager for Expedia, Christie Hudson, explained, “Coming out of such a long period of constraints and limitations, 2022 will be the year we wring every bit of richness and meaning out of our experiences.” That means travelers are booking big. (Travel insurance group IMG found in a survey that 71% of respondents planned to travel internationally before October 2022, compared with 49% in 2021.) That also means event-based travel is coming back in a big way, reaching pre-pandemic levels this year, according to Newsweek.
• Travel retailers, who are in the business of catering to shoppers in transit, are once again starry-eyed after a brutal couple of years. Now that travel is back, Yahoo Finance predicts it will be a key growth area for businesses to attract shoppers in high traffic areas. That means you may begin to see elevated shopping areas in airports that go above and beyond your usual duty free shopping experience. In Frankfurt airport, niche beauty brands are scoring highly sought after pop-up spaces in one of the world’s busiest airports. Birgit Hotzel, an account manager for Retail at Fraport AG explained, “The new concept allows us to offer brands and operators a flexible short-term rental contract. Without making a big commitment, brands can try out Frankfurt Airport as a retail location.”
• Sound familiar? That’s not unlike the retail spaces offered by yours truly in some of the loveliest, buzziest travel hubs around (if we do say so ourselves). Amelia Rose, a floral design studio based in Manchester decided to set up a pop shop with Appear Here in Leeds to pique commuters’ interest with vibrant floral designs. In London, electric motorcycle brand Maeving launched in our London Bridge space, a crossroads for travelers who could test with their beautifully designed bikes in person. In a pinch for what to wear to a weekend wedding? Edit Suits Co. also took advantage of London Bridge station’s footfall, bringing their custom-made suit showroom to the heart of happenings when it comes to business and weekend travel.
Gone are the days where your options for shopping in transit were to leaf through SkyMall’s utterly absurd, and mostly useless, product catalogue. (That said; long live the travel hoodie pillow, a truly ingenious contribution to society.)
Travel retail has gone first class. With more flexible, bespoke retail spaces, the in-transit shopping model has been upgraded for brands and shoppers alike.
Two types of travel that didn’t tank during the pandemic? Coastal and mountain holidays. AKA, wiiiiiide open spaces. But even as other types of travel become safer, our love of the great outdoors shows no signs of slowing.
• Luggage brand giant, Away, has taken note. The brand is now venturing into outdoor gear with a new line called For All Routes (F.A.R.). Fast Company reports, “According to Away’s internal research, half of travelers expect to travel differently post-pandemic: They want to spend more time in nature and the outdoors.” The move reflects a broader habit of direct-to-consumer brands beginning with one product online (in Away’s case, their popular carry-on bag) and then expanding to selling a variety of products in brick-and-mortar shops. Allbirds, the cosy wool shoe company, is another DTC brand that’s followed a similar path; launching its original trainer in 2016 online, then expanding to a range of shoes and activewear.
• Even the fashion world is getting crunchy. Telfar’s recent collaboration with Eastpak, the utilitarian backpack brand you may have worn in school, is already selling out since its launch. “The partnership plays into the accessibility and affordability factor that Telfar is rooted in – the affordable bag of the designer world meets the affordable bag of the high school world,” wrote Emily Chaps for the Burn After Reading newsletter. High-low collabs in the realm of gorpcore have been going strong for years (see: Gucci x Northface) and will likely continue to pop up as travel booms this summer.
• Gandys, an outdoor apparel brand that launched a shop earlier this year at Appear Here’s London Bridge location, was founded in the spirit of adventure since its inception. Brothers Rob and Paul Gandy began the company as a tribute to their parents, who they lost to the 2004 tsunami while traveling in Sri Lanka. Before the tragedy, the brother’s parents removed them from school, and sold their belongings to raise their kids on the road, traveling, exploring, and volunteering where possible. Through Gandys, the brothers have continued their parents’ legacy. “We wanted to create something that would make them proud, and something that they would have wanted to do themselves.”
The summer is young. The feeling is right. It may not be the cheapest time to buy tickets, but by the time you reach the adventure, it will all be alright.
Send a postcard, bon voyage xx
Words by Nicola Pardy, a freelance writer and producer living in New York.