Travel accessories company Go Travel posted impressive double-digit increases in the Americas this past year. The UK-based company, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019, has made incredible progress in the Americas market, where it has only been present for the past eight years. In a major step, the company has now set up U.S. production of its star Memory Foam pillow products.
“During this short time we have grown exponentially, applied significant resources and are delighted with our achievements. Although, it’s still early days for the brand in Latin America and the proportion of sales versus our more mature markets is still relatively small, we see great potential for the future and anticipate opening many new doors in the year ahead,” says David Lomas, managing director of parent company Design Go.
The growth hasn’t come without challenges, says Lomas, but despite economic uncertainty and political instability, Go Travel has firmly established itself as the reliable, “go-to guys” with products preferred for their quality, performance and accessible price in the Americas region, he tells TMI.
“This is because we are more than just a collection of accessories. Go Travel offers retailers a concept combining industry-leading product innovation and excellent service provision to maximize sales and revenue. Next to our competitors, we present a vibrant, diverse and extensive collection of products suitable for all types of traveler and activity. There are over 350 products in the range, so we can easily offer a targeted collection aimed at a traveler at the specific point in their journey. Landside we focus on luggage products and security and in Duty Free, the focus is more on comfort, tech and products that improve the journey,” he says.
Latin America opportunities
In Latin America, Go Travel sees great opportunity to drive the business forward in the next five years and feels that its flexible, agile and supportive structure is particularly suited to the region, according to Lesbia (Les) Hansen, Go Travel Vice President of Latin American sales.
“Go Travel’s approach to business is incredibly measured and considered, taking time to review a market and potential partnerships before engaging,” explains Hansen. “However, once we enter a region, our experience combined with the strength in our logistics allow us to fully support and guide our retail partners, helping them to fully maximize their accessories business.”
Hansen points out that this approach is particularly useful given the region’s sensitivity to external factors such as political instability, currency fluctuations and the ongoing impact of unforeseen natural events. “It’s why we’ve become the ‘go-to-guys.’ In Latin America, as with our other global markets, Go Travel’s focus rests firmly on developing long-term relationships that are based on understanding and co-operation rather than conditional and contractual,” she says.
Travel retail remains a priority, and is at the heart of the Go Travel brand, but Hansen notes that there will always be ranging limitations due to space restrictions. As a result, in Latin America Go Travel also focuses intensively on the local markets, where there’s greater scope to distribute a wider selection of SKU’s.
“Our depth of range and agility allows us to effortlessly tailor product portfolios to suit individual country or channel requirements, creating OEM or region-specific products where viable too,” she says.
Best performing markets & star performers
In Latin America during 2018, big markets such as Panama and Ecuador, which handle U.S. Dollars, have played a major role in Go Travel’s overall performance in the region, reports Hansen. “These markets provided stability and produced some of the company’s largest customers in both travel retail and downtown. The Dominican Republic and Caribbean, meanwhile, have seen growth in hotels and tourist stores. Chile too has offered a number of triumphs, while our self-standing Go Travel kiosk at Lima Airport has been a stand-out success and reports constant increases year-on-year,” she says.
Go Travel pillows continue to be the star performers in the region, alongside adaptors, scales and locks.
The most “hotly anticipated” new product for this year in the Americas is Go Travel’s innovative new memory pillow designs, one of which will be produced in the United States for the first time, says Hansen.
The Go Travel Hybrid pillow offers a deep, plush memory foam top with an inflatable base that provides personalized comfort for the user and can pack-down to so that it packs down to palm-size– ideal for a duty free and travel retail customer.
“The new American Dreamer, which is launching to celebrate Go Travel’s new US production facilities and will be the first pillow off the line, is 100% memory foam with an elasticated front closure for a truly individual fit,” says Hansen. The supremely comfortable design American Dreamer is gradually tapered at the rear, allowing the head to slope gently backwards and provides an ideal resting position for upright sleeping and uses elasticated straps to secure the position and minimize head movement.
In addition to pillows, the 2019 range also includes organizational products such as packers and dry bags, and an adaptor range that continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of tech advancements.
“Due to the impulse purchase nature of our products, consumers may typically visit the stand because of an eye-catching pillow but more often than not, they’ll pick up 2 or 3 useful accessories for the trip. It’s why Go Travel’s range is so extensive and constantly evolving. Our in-house design team is always looking for ways to meet our diverse target audiences’ ever-expanding travel requirements,” comments Hansen.
Go Travel is firmly focused on design and innovation, with products that are simple, practical and good, many of which have multiple uses.
“Go Travel is characterized by its impulse-purchase nature. The design team continuously revitalize the existing range, adapting designs based on consumer insight, trends or changes in legislation. They are equally dedicated to delivering a wealth of new designs and travel innovations each year to keep passengers engaged. Products are launched at TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, Summit of the Americas in Orlando and the International Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas, the key shows for our Latin American customers. The frequency of new designs gives consumers a recurring reason to visit the stands,” notes Hansen.
U.S. production bolsters competitiveness
Hansen stresses that the company is always looking at ways to enhance service delivery.
“Most significant for the Latin American market in 2019 will be the move to U.S. production of our Memory Foam pillow products.
“With production commencing in Spring 2019, we are immensely proud of this move, which will not only help to maintain high production standards and satiate ever-increasing demand but will also allow us to keep our pricing stable and competitive in The Americas. The move will also improve our carbon footprint as we no longer need to ship from China, while at the same time, supporting US manufacturing and creating jobs for US citizens.
“Although people typically associate us with planes, trains and automobiles, Go Travel products crossover into everyday life. Travel pillows are equally good for watching movies at home, convalescing in hospital or increasing comfort at a hotel. It’s why our target audience is so broad – we literally have something for everyone,” she concludes