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TGA Unveils the Travel Goods HUB to Connect Buyers, Manufacturers

Hub: noun – a center around which other things revolve or from which they radiate; a focus of activity, authority, commerce, transportation, etc.

With its new Travel Goods HUB, TGA has created a dynamic digital gathering space that lives up to its name, doubling as a showcase for the hottest and newest travel products, a place for buyers and manufacturers to meet up, to see and be seen, share a virtual handshake and score a competitive edge.

It is a year-round, one-stop online directory of travel goods products where buyers find the freshest travel gear – some before it even hits the market. Products are cleanly displayed on individual, easy-to-navigate manufacturer profile pages. Each page features specific content categories buyers can click into, including product photos and videos, manufacturers’ website links and company contact details.

Especially timely with the COVID-19 vaccine currently in wide distribution and travel studies showing people are poised to travel – in fact, according to Destination Analysts, 84% of American travelers have trips at least tentatively planned this year and a pandemic-record-setting 71% dreamt and planned travel in the last week – the HUB is the place for buyers to connect with manufacturers, to learn about emerging industry trends, what’s to come and what to watch for in order to be prepared for travel’s new demands and desires in terms of luggage, gear and accessories.

“This is where to find everyone in the business of travel goods – from large name brands to those entrepreneurs new to the industry and eager to introduce themselves and their first products, and from buyers for brick-and-mortar shops to those with online storefronts,” said Travel Goods Association President Michele Marini Pittenger.

“Without a printed magazine or a trade show, the Travel Goods Association has hit it out of the park on communicating and linking buyers and vendors,” said Mike Gothelf, director of operations at Portmantos, Inc. “It’s an excellent platform for new resources to introduce themselves as well as existing vendors to show what they have and what they are working on.”

“It’s an excellent platform for new resources to introduce themselves as well as existing vendors to show what they have and what they are working on.”

Travel Goods HUBFor instance, a click into Bluffworks’ page, one of several manufacturers on the marquee in the “HUB Spotlight,” presents three items in the “Product Showcase”: The Gramercy Blazer, Ascender Chino and BluffCube Pro, accompanied by images and information. A video demonstrating the blazer shows why it is a Bluffworks bestseller.

Also shown are “Product Categories,” including apparel and accessories and corresponding price ranges. The manufacturer’s product subcategories, including scarves and suits, are noted, as are applicable licenses, brands and trademarks. The information is engaging, the imagery strong. The overall effect of the page is active yet streamlined and visually attractive.

“As a small growing online business, there were a couple of times we thought, ‘Maybe this year we can get to The Travel Goods Show,’” said Bluffworks’ Stephan Loble. “But now it looks like one of the side benefits of COVID might be the ability to access retail buyers so easily this year. We know our goods add value in a physical presence, and maybe this will help us break through.”

A click into Briggs & Riley’s individual page, found under “Featured Company Profiles,” reveals several different bags, including the Rhapsody Essential Tote, plus detailed product info and MSRP. Those unfamiliar with Briggs & Riley or who would like a refresher can view a recent brand video showing the breadth and scope of its luggage collections.

In addition to company overviews, product images and videos, etc., the HUB lets buyers perform keyword searches and get real-time updates but, perhaps best of all, it allows the research to be done anywhere – home, office, on the road, at the beach – and at any time, day or night.

“I think the HUB will be a great place to discover new vendors and products and to get a look at fresh, new products from vendors we already know and love,” said Tiffany Zarfas Williams of the Luggage Shop of Lubbock. “I especially enjoy viewing the videos on the featured company profiles. It’s a great way to spend a few moments getting to know a little more about a brand and their passion for their products,” she added.

Buyers need to register at the HUB (it’s free of charge) in order to get immediate access to all the available information. For manufacturers, having their company and product showcased on the site puts them squarely in front of thousands of verifiable buyers. The HUB is a destination for both and, as products are constantly being added and updated, both buyer and manufacturer will want to click in on a regular basis to see what’s new and what has changed.

“What a new and exciting offering to assist us in providing product information to our existing buyers and an introduction to new buyers in the retail travel channel,” said Hugh Mally, vice president of Go Travel.

The HUB is also a valuable resource for media covering travel gear and lifestyle topics. Upon registration, they’ll have full access to new products, trends, innovations and more. Media registration is free at the HUB website.

Visit www.travel-goods.org/hub-hotspot to learn how buyers log in to access the HUB and log on to see and experience the hottest new products and trends in the world of travel goods. For manufacturers, a visit to the site will show them how to get their new items in front of an ever-growing body of buyers.

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