Eye On Apparel: All Dressed Up And Everywhere To Go

 

As businesses continue to ramp up their operations and the travel industry works to recover, people are growing more comfortable taking trips, for work but more so for pleasure. Though international travel isn’t estimated to make a full recovery until 2025, according to the U.S. Travel Association and the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), domestic travel in the U.S. has returned to pre-pandemic levels, reports VOA News. With millions more Americans on the move for various reasons, brands have a renewed opportunity to promote their messaging through wearables designed to withstand the wear and tear of travel. But even despite the renewed efforts to boost travel as a whole, there’s some areas that remain deeply impacted by the recent pandemic, and that includes business travel. 

In 2019, preceding the pandemic year, Americans took 1.3 million domestic business trips each day, totaling 464 million trips for the year, according to GBTA and Statistica. This same year, U.S. businesses spent $357.9 billion on corporate travel, the World Travel & Tourism Council reports, accounting for nearly a third (30 percent) of total U.S. travel spend. In 2020, these numbers changed drastically. U.S. business travel saw a 40-percent decline, amounting to 185 million business trips throughout the year and totaling slightly over 510,000 trips each day. U.S. business travel spending fell 30.5 percent to $109.4 billion, and it accounted for 16 percent of total travel spend; nearly half of the 2019 figure. 

But the economy is resilient and people are ready to get back to business and life as usual. A workforce of road warriors spanning myriad professions, from sales representatives, traveling nurses and consultants, to flight attendants, truck drivers and event managers, need to be mobile to do their jobs. Despite the declines in corporate travel, the global travel industry, as a whole, was estimated to have grown 21 percent this year to $842 billion, writes Reuters, up from $694 billion last year, and after experiencing a 52-percent decline due to COVID-19. It’s a big feat, but the corporate travel industry and the professionals that make it all possible, are working hard at recovery; a revival that, GBTA reports, entails drops in business travel that were 10 times greater than the declines that followed both the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the economic recession in 2008. 

Business travelers are also eager to become more mobile again, and to meet face-to-face with industry leaders, peers and decision-makers. A survey of 3,850 business travelers (specified as those who travel for business three or more times a year) from the U.S., Canada and 30 other countries worldwide, conducted by Wakefield Research and business software company Sap Concur, and published this past May, found that 96 percent are willing to travel for work over the next 12 months, and roughly two-thirds (65 percent) say they are “very willing.” Likewise, another survey released in April by Chubb and commissioned by market research firm Dynata, “Time To Fly: The Impact of Covid-19 on the Present and Future of Business Travel,” of 2,100 respondents across 16 countries, found that 84 percent of business travelers say they “cannot wait” to travel again for work, while 80 percent said they personally missed it. The survey also found that respondents are twice as likely to be more comfortable traveling for work than for pleasure, citing the importance of business to their livelihood as a key reason. 

Even with (temporary) travel cuts and some lingering precautions around corporate travel, promotional products and wearables can play a strategic role in welcoming employees back to traveling for work. High-quality, plush and easy-wear apparel products can help to make travelers more comfortable with the overall experience, while durable backpacks, totes and other wearable bags can better prepare them for working on the road. Gifting or offering employees first-rate products that are designed to accommodate travel specifically, is an extension of thanks for their willingness to go above and beyond for their company or role—and for hitting the ground running at a time when it’s needed most. By offering carefully curated wearables to business travelers, brands can contribute to the “return to normal” while also creating a personalized experience for them, and strategically working to make these travelers their loyal customers. 

Read on for top choices in promotional products wearables for today’s re-emerging business travelers.

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When professionals need to pack and go, they want to grab wearables that promise to hold up against the strains of travel. Some of the qualities to consider in apparel and wearables are:

  • Fabric that is wrinkle-resistant, odor-resistant and/or moisture-wicking, offers UPF protection and/or is fast-drying and machine-washable

  • Multifunctional bags, such as backpacks with separate compartments for a laptop and other electronics

  • Convenience: when flying or using public transportation, for example, wireless, noise-canceling headphones can make the trip more enjoyable

  • Durability, such as belts that won’t fold or crack when they’re packed inside of luggage 

Sources: Small Business - Chron, Tortuga, PickVisa

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Business travelers need a way to pack their items safely and bring them along conveniently, especially those who keep a laptop and other tech items handy. The OGIO Commuter Transfer Pack, available in blacktop and tarmac gray (shown), is 16.9-inches high by 11.2-inches wide and offers a host of amenities. Made from a durable fabric—1680D polyester face-coated PU—it features a large main compartment, a padded laptop/tablet compartment and a front pocket for smaller gadgets. Zippered side pockets with fabric gussets allow for storage of additional valuables and water bottles, and it also features ergonomic, adjustable shoulder straps and a padded back panel with a hidden passport pocket.

SanMar  /  PPAI 110788, S16  /  www.sanmar.com 

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Great to pair with the Presence Leggings is the Manduka-branded Enlightened Tee. With a flattering fit that’s easy-wear, the tee reaches to mid-hip length for added coverage. It’s made from a fabric blend of 50-percent polyester and 50-percent rayon, and it’s both highly breathable and fast-drying. Available in women’s sizes XS-XL in white and black (shown).

Stark Enterprises, Inc.  /  PPAI 521359, S2  / www.starkpremium.com 

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The best-selling Manduka-branded Presence Legging is highly breathable, fast-drying and comfortable; the perfect pair for long flights and trips on the road. Sustainably made from a blend of 77-percent nylon and 23-percent spandex, the leggings have a high-rise fit and feature a Powermesh waistband, which is designed to hold the wearer in while allowing free movement. Available in women’s sizes XS-XL in new grey, dark sapphire, black, bloom, henna and dark deep sea (shown). 

 

Stark Enterprises, Inc.  /  PPAI 521359, S2  / www.starkpremium.com 

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Whether taking to the skies or hitting the road, a high-quality vest can make a big difference in terms of comfort, convenience and brand representation—and the Synthetic Vest offers all three. It’s fully customizable, which includes style—various options are available, such as rain, down and puffy jacket styles; color—choose from any color imaginable, and add-on details, such as a zippered, left chest pocket and adjustable hood. Windproof and water-resistant, the vest packs into its own integrated stuff sack, which includes a carabiner clip-in loop. Choose from standard or recycled polyester insulation, and ultra-slim, slim, regular, full and ultra-full fit, and a short, regular or long length. Available in sizes XXS-5XL. 

 

Hexa|Custom /  PPAI 767010, S1  /  www.hexacustom.com 

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The OGIO Commuter Woven Shirt is stylish, functional and incredibly versatile, and will get lots of wear from business travelers and commuters alike. Made from a tri-blend of 56-percent cotton, 38-percent polyester and six-percent polyester, the 3.8-ounce shirt features an open collar, a mitered-woven label, an angled shoulder yoke with back seaming and button-through sleeve plackets. Available in XS-4XL in blacktop, gear gray heather, white and metal blue heather (shown).

SanMar  /  PPAI 110788, S16  /  www.sanmar.com 

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Another travel-worthy option is the Concrete Jungle Tote, a multipurpose bag that seamlessly transitions from day to nightwear. Made from black faux Saffiano leather, this three-in-one tote, brief and clutch can accommodate up to a 15-inch laptop, along with personal items such as a wallet, cell phone and cosmetics. Featuring chrome metal accents and extra-long handles, wearers have the option to hand-carry the tote or swing it over their shoulder. The wristlet, which can be used as a clutch or accessory bag, conveniently slides into an external pocket. Available in black.

 

Spector & Co.  /  PPAI 168328, S9  /  www.spectorandco.com  

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The Pack-N-Go Pullover, made from 100-percent Softex™ polyester, is both wind- and waterproof, and it conveniently packs into its own front pouch pocket with a zipper closure, which can then be attached to a backpack, handbag, luggage or key ring with a self-fabric loop. It’s also lightweight and breathable, with details that allow for ventilation, such as underarm grommets and a zipper at the neck. Available in unisex sizes, XS-5XL, in 16 colors, shown in navy, white and red. For a more true-to-size fit, it’s recommended to size down one or two sizes.

Charles River Apparel  /  PPAI 111644, S10  / www.charlesriverapparel.com 

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It always makes long (and short) trips more enjoyable when there’s a warm and cozy pullover within reach. Part of J. America’s new unisex Ripple Collection, the Ripple Fleece Snap Pullover is a 8.25-ounce, midweight fleece jacket, which features double-needle stitching throughout, twill tape on the back neck, an air-spun fleece yoke and collar, and a metal snap placket. Made from a blend of 55-percent cotton and 45-percent polyester knit ottoman fleece, with a horizontal stripe texture throughout the fabric, additional details include a set-on pouch pocket, two-by-two-inch rib cuffs and waistband, and a tearaway label. Available in unisex sizes S-3XL in black, oxford and navy (shown).

J. America  /  PPAI 351699, S1  /  www.jamericablanks.com 

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An eco-friendly option, the Grace Flow Cardigan is a super-soft cardigan that can be worn at home, in the office and when traveling. Made from a tri-blend of 45-percent recycled polyester, 45-percent polyester and 10-percent elastane, the heather jersey cardigan is moisture-wicking for all-day wear, and features an open front, a self-goods fold over front placket, neck and cuffs, and set-in sleeves. Part of Vantage Apparel’s Earthwise Collection, each Grace Flow Cardigan keeps seven post-consumer plastic bottles from winding up in the world’s oceans and landfills. Available in women’s sizes XS-3XL in onyx and silver (shown).

Vantage Apparel   /  PPAI 113235, S10  /  www.vantageapparel.com 

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This Embroidered Grab-N-Go Travel Blanket is something that recipients will surely use and appreciate throughout their many trips, drives and excursions. Made from ultra-plush, sheared microfiber polyester Tahoe fleece, this 36-inch-by-58-inch blanket features a matching color binding edge finish, and conveniently packs inside of a 13.5-inch-by-10-inch bag, which is designed to slide onto retractable luggage handles. Include an embroidered imprint of your brand name or logo, or add recipients’ names onto the blanket for added personalization. Available in gray and navy (shown).

Terry Town  /  PPAI 230911, S7  /  www.terrytown.com 

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When employees and company leaders alike are making their way to meetings and events, offer them an additional way to protect themselves with the Pro-Tec Gaiter. Made from a super soft blend of 45-percent Repreve-recycled polyester, 45-percent polyester and 10-percent elastane, this eco-friendly gaiter is moisture-wicking and has stretch binding at the top hem. Ear loops help to keep the gaiter secure. Also part of Vansport’s Earthwise Collection, it’s available in one-size-fits-most in cobalt, ocean, silver and onyx (shown). 

 

Vantage Apparel   /  PPAI 113235, S10  /  www.vantageapparel.com 

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Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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