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Change for the Better

I COULDN'T HELP NOTICING, WHILE EDITING THIS ALL-BUSINESS ISSUE OF Travel Goods Showcase, how the common thread running throughout wasn't just business as usual. It was about change as an inevitable part of doing business — and how we respond to change.

Looking at this issue's sampling of business cases and accompanying accessories, it's shocking how different they are from what was available 10 — or even five — years ago. The business landscape changed forever in 2007 with Apple's introduction of the iPhone, and the sudden rush of me-too phones that followed. It shifted again in 2010 with the iPad's debut, and its inevitable clones. Now it takes more than papers and a laptop to cut it in the boardroom, so our cases have changed with the times. Today's business cases have organizational features built around the electronics we can't live without — some even incorporate backup power to keep your devices charged up. Who would have thought, 10 years ago, that a built in battery would be a selling point for a briefcase?

In our feature on retail rejuvenation, each of our profiled retailers overhauled the look and feel of their stores in response to external changes. Steve Rooten's current store evolved in response to the escalating cost of local retail space and the way his region's consumers shop. Chuck Weisbart's store reboot happened because of the changing way his customers travel and how they book their travel. And Lieber's Luggage was forced into a rebuild by a catastrophic accident, but turned an accident into an opportunity for reinvention to better showcase its wares and to provide an improved customer experience.

Our feature on how to get the most from The International Travel Goods Show may inspire you to change your own approach to The Show, with its numerous tips for leveraging your Show experience to make a greater impact at the retail level.

And you will discover, if you haven't already, how the floor plan for next year's International Travel Goods Show is significantly different from before. We're in a new exhibit hall, with a different footprint that's challenged us to rethink how the floor is arranged. We borrowed some tricks from good mall design and I think you'll agree we've come up with a winning strategy that will give all our exhibitors better exposure than before, which will allow our attendees to make more of those "accidental" product discoveries that turn out to be winners.

It's the nature of business to change, and it's human nature to resist change. But change is inevitable. There will be other game-changing electronic devices like the iPhone and other market forces. And, the retail landscape will continue to shift.

When we are faced with change, it's up to all of us to take charge and make that change one for the better. Which will, hopefully, illuminate another all-too-human quirk: when a change is good the first response is often, "Why'd we wait so long to do this?"

Here's to more of those types of changes — the ones for the better!


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