This week, a rundown on how brands are getting in on consumers’ big summer travel plans. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
This summer, brand marketers’ favorite goal of “meeting consumers where they are” means hitting the road — or, at least, aligning with a “wanderlust” state of mind.
With post-peak-pandemic revenge travel still in swing, fashion brands are seeking out opportunities to support consumers checking off packing lists, tap vacationers’ indulgent shopping habits and even team up with tourism boards, which are upping their own plays for travelers. In recent years, brands have increasingly opened hotels and set up shop within resorts, but some of their latest travel-related moves are more inventive.
Travel remains hot, even as the economy struggles. That’s evident in this year’s Memorial Day weekend travel predictions and tallies, to date. For example, the Transportation Security Administration reported that it screened 2.7 million people across national checkpoints on Thursday, beating 2019 numbers. And, according to AAA, airports could see the busiest Memorial Day weekend since 2005, with 3.4 million expected to fly.
Overall, travel has been bouncing back, with the global travel and tourism sector growing 21% year-over-year in 2021 and 22% in 2023. The World Travel & Tourism Council projects that it will reach $9.5 trillion in 2023 and fully recover in 2024 with the return of Chinese tourists.
In a Glossy and Saks survey of more than 3,900 luxury shoppers in April, 65% of respondents said travel is one of the three categories where they’re likely to invest the most in the next 12 months. Travel was the most popular response, with the runner-up being chosen by just 37% of respondents. A complete summary of the data will be shared in Glossy’s Luxury Briefing next week.
Travel retail, which is expected to bounce back in 2023, has long provided a strong revenue stream for beauty brands, among others. And airports and airlines are further catching on as brand marketing and branding opportunities. On Thursday, it was reported that Louis Vuitton opened a lounge and restaurant at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. And multiple brands have newly popped up in affluent travelers’ in-flight amenity kits. A fashion brand’s pajamas will soon be provided to business-class travelers as part of a short-term collaboration set to be announced next week. And, as of April, kits by beauty brand Skin Proud are now being distributed to transatlantic travelers flying JetBlue.
Brands are also eying hotel opportunities, moving beyond toiletries and on-site retail. In April, Glossy freelancer April Katz wrote about “minibar beauty,” calling out that beauty products by brands including Dr. Lara Devgan and House of Grō are now being offered for sale in-room at properties including Equinox Hotels. That was Glossy’s most-read story of the month, and social posts on the piece attracted a flurry of comments about the “brilliant” and “genius” idea for distribution.
Just as brands are looking to travel and hospitality for new revenue streams, travel companies are linking with fashion brands to get in front of their customers. In April, Louis Vuitton announced a deal with the Korea Tourism Organization and Seoul Metropolitan Government aimed at drawing visitors to Seoul. The brand’s April 29 fashion show in the city kicked off the partnership, which centers on content and events and runs through the end of the year. On the same note, the Jordan Tourism Board teamed with fast-fashion brand Shein in March, intending to attract young travelers to the country. Hotspots in the region served as backdrops for video and imagery later used in a TV commercial and on shein.com.
Of course, dressing travelers is more familiar territory for brands, and many are leaning into the chance to sell everything from sunscreen to suitcases. According to Emily Essner, CMO at Saks, luxury consumers “making up for lost time” by filling their calendars with trips isn’t hurting retail; in fact, it’s driving sales in categories including luggage. Saks has catered its marketing accordingly and has even established new business opportunities around travel-focused content. For example, it recently developed an Arizona travel guide and packing list, based on a partnership with the city’s tourism board. “We know our customers are going to be inspired by that sort of content, so it’s something we’ve leaned into,” she said.
Anthropologie’s also been busy pushing out travel-related content. From Wednesday to Friday of this week, it rolled out Instagram Stories of an influencer trip it hosted in Portugal, complete with shopping links to summer dresses, swimwear, beach totes and beauty products by brands including Kopari. It was fitting, considering Anthropologie’s signature approach to product merchandising — by social plans or themes, rather than traditional categories. Its sales channels currently cater to travelers, with displays featuring sunscreen, sunglasses, travel candles and beach reads.
This summer, Anthropologie will bring that ”experiential shopping concept to life” via pop-ups in The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and The Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York, said Anthropologie president Anu Narayanan. “We know our community will be at the beach,” she said. Each will feature head-to-toe looks and beach accessories, inclusive of swimwear and coverups, with the Montauk also selling a pickleball-focused capsule collection.
On that note, Cali-based Aviator Nation is also bringing its beachy styles to the Hamptons. On Friday, it opened its first permanent store on East Hampton’s Main Street. And, earlier this month, Jonathan Simkhai launched an exclusive collection of swim- and sleepwear at Montage Laguna Beach Resort.
For those with no plans to travel, designers have rolled out destination-themed collections that just may change your mind. In April, Jacquemus released an ode to the French Riviera in the form of a capsule dubbed Été, available exclusively at Saks’ Fifth Avenue flagship. And of course, there’s Loewe’s Ibiza, which is arguably the collection of the summer.
According to newer players in the market — despite the brand rush to the space — there’s still white space to fill, when it comes to travel gear and fashion. In 2019, bag designer Lola Banjo launched her brand, Silver & Riley, after coming up short when looking for a more stylish travel bag than what was available by the likes of Tumi. Versions of her leather travel duffels, which range in price from $800-$1,200, have repeatedly sold out over the last four years.