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EDITOR'S NOTE MAY 2009 | VOL. 34 NO. 2


Full Service

FOR YEARS NOW, I'VE HEARD THE INDUSTRY'S BEST RETAILERS SAY THEY'RE not just luggage dealers — they're travel consultants, outfitters and problem solvers. They're full service travel advisors.

I've always thought that's how we should be operating as an industry. And guess what — it's happening. Now is the time.

Good retailers are always working to keep that edge, on the prowl for information they can disseminate to customers and make their stores feel like an indispensable part of the travel experience. But now other retailers, who've been able to relax and coast, who've become complacent, are suddenly motivated to change it up.

This year's retailers came to The Show the way consumers come to your stores — hungry for info. For something new. For the solution to a problem. And while I think every retailer has luggage solutions down cold, I expect they will now be working harder on the accessories side of the equation. And that's a seriously good thing.

This year's Show was much more than a product showcase — it was an event. Retailers eagerly sat in on seminars, taking notes and asking questions, looking for ideas to try out back home. They learned how to bring apparel into a store the smart way, how to hold travel seminars that move accessories and build their customer base. They saw how intelligent displays and smart store layouts can really drive customer traffic and add to the bottom line. And they prowled the aisles as if they were on a scavenger hunt, looking for those perfect accessories.

I've never seen retailers more eager, more open to new ideas, and more energized than at this year's Show. And as they discovered those perfect accessories — that ultimate add-on, an incredible lightweight bag — that positive energy grew. You could feel it, like a palpable wave that grew over The Show's three days. It was such a shot in the arm.

This economy is a game-changing event. The old ways of doing things, which worked before, aren't going to cut it in this environment. It's time to change it up, to be more competitive. And that's precisely what happened at this year's Show.

Good luggage dealers became fired up about becoming good travel consultants, ready to turn their stores into accessories marketplaces. And great accessories dealers went home with exciting new products they can pitch to their customers.

This Show, more than any other, was game-changing. And that's precisely what we needed, and what will keep us moving forward.

So, enjoy this issue, with our Show recap, and let these new ideas and new products guide you to a smarter, sharper way of doing business as we work together for a stronger industry. A better travel goods industry.



Editor-in-chief




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