New York-based luggage protection company, Blue Ribbon Bags (BRB), is stepping up on efforts to grow its presence in Asia, particularly in the South-east Asia region, Japan and China.
Founded in 2011, the company promises that for a US$5 service fee, it will track and return a client’s lost luggage by the airline within 96 hours of the flight landing or pay them a minimum of US$1,000 per bag. BRB utilises its own proprietary system to track bags and does not use GPS trackers.
BRB’s president and co-founder Daniel Levine said: “China presents a great opportunity with the exponential growth rate of air travel in the country. With regards to expanding our sales in Asia, our GSA partners in China, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia have been instrumental in creating awareness of Blue Ribbon Bags and expanding into new Asian markets”.
A marketing representative appointed in Malaysia early this year has also been tasked with developing other South-east Asian markets, particularly Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.
Levine shared: “So far, we’ve seen great success in launching our product with OTAs in Singapore as well as with travel management companies in Malaysia. We’ve also been able to rapidly expand in Beijing, Tokyo and Seoul due to the market’s ability to quickly integrate our service.”
Expansion into Asia comes with its own set of challenges. Levine explained: “Due to our business being volume-based, the South-east Asia market presents some difficulties as the online market there is less developed than other parts of the world. It has been our experience that consumers culturally prefer to purchase travel services through offline channels such as traditional agencies or travel fairs.
“To accommodate these types of customers, we customise our product offerings, making it simple to integrate into any offline channel such as a call centre or internal booking platform. Language barriers can delay integration into new markets. We’ve hired local brand managers across the region to help break through that barrier.”
Besides targeting air travel in Asia, the company is also looking at expanding into the Asian cruise industry. Levine shared: “The greatest concern for cruise ship passengers is that their luggage is with them on the ship. When a passenger’s piece of luggage is mishandled by an airline, we’re the best in getting the luggage to the cruise’s next port of call.”
Levine is confident that the service saves customers “time and effort of having to liaise with the airline directly while on a business trip or holiday. We locate 99 per cent of bags that are reported as mishandled”.
He added: “We pay the customer US$1,000 per bag in the event that we are not able to provide the service we promised, without requiring proof of the bag’s contents. We consider this satisfaction-guaranteed payments.”