As consumers continue to encounter airline add-on fees for everything ranging from baggage handling to aisle seats, other industries have begun to market alternative services. For example, Marriott is courting favor with its best clients, Marriott Rewards members, by encouraging them to ship bags ahead to the hotel and using points to cover the expense.
The luggage shipping industry appears to have grown rapidly since 9/11. While major shippers such as Federal Express and UPS provide this service a number of specialty firms also operate in this space. Names like Luggage Forward, Luggage Club and BaggageQuest are becoming familiar to frequent and no-so-frequent travelers. The advantage to these services include reliability and convenience and the disadvantage has long been price. However, these firms may be able to capitalize on consumer frustration with the airlines and grow their business with a new ad campaign.
[Sources: Brancatelli, Joe, “Ship, Don’t Schlep,” Portfolio.com, 2.5.2008;
Mahoney, Sarah, “As Baggage Gets Emotional, Marriott Offers Ship-Ahead Perk,” MediaPost, 6.27.2008]