Last updated: 10:59 AM ET, Thu October 09 2014

Blue Ribbon Bags: Alleviating Clients’ Worries About Lost Luggage

Travel Technology Travel Leaders Group Ryan Rudnansky October 09, 2014

Blue Ribbon Bags: Alleviating Clients’ Worries About Lost Luggage

Photo courtesy of Blue Ribbon Bags

If you are concerned about lost luggage, now there’s an app for that.

Blue Ribbon Bags, a company founded in 2011 that guarantees payouts to clients for lost luggage, launched the Blue Ribbon Bags Red App through the Sabre Red Workplace in June to offer travel agents a service that is already alleviating a lot of worry among clients.

For a $5 service fee (purchased within the 24-hour window before a client’s flight), a client will be paid $1,000 for each bag lost if Blue Ribbon Bags cannot find the luggage in four days. For $10, Blue Ribbon Bags will pay $2,000 per bag lost. The company also pays 20 percent commission to agents.

Major agency The Travel Leaders Group—which includes thousands of agents—just jumped on board, further validating Blue Ribbon Bags’ mission.

Gabriel Menkin, co-founder and CEO of Blue Ribbon Bags, said the idea for Blue Ribbon Bags spawned from a partner’s own bad experience losing his luggage. The partner had a “miserable experience” after showing up to his destination for a trade show, discovering his luggage had been lost, and having to go to important meetings in shorts and a T-shirt.

“Once that happened he said to himself, 'Well, this is pretty awful,’” Menkin said. “So he started thinking, ‘How can I make this situation better? What could I have done to help myself here?’”

And, thus, Blue Ribbon Bags was born.

Menkin said OTAs and travel agencies were on the company’s mind from the very beginning. It eventually led to the development of the Blue Ribbon Bags Red App.

“One of the biggest parts of the business is the travel agent world,” Menkin said. “We said, ‘There’s gotta be a great way to capture the travel agent world.’ From what I know about travel agents, getting them to leave their booking screen and go into a separate website that required you to type in information and go through all those steps just didn’t seem logical and didn’t feel like we were going to get the kind of response that we wanted.”

It's literally a three-click process for agents and agencies when purchasing a protection plan, all done “seamlessly through their GDS,” Menkin said.

Blue Ribbon Bags already has a customer base of more than 3,000 agents, which includes Travel Leaders.

“Travel Leaders is very excited about the Blue Ribbon Bags service and all of its perks,” said Mike Batt, founder and chairman of the Travel Leaders Group, via a press release. “Aside from the commission opportunity, the bonus of the baggage tracking system is a huge plus for both the agent and our clients. Since the release of the Sabre app, we are seeing a tremendous surge in usage, and we anticipate continued growth for this product within all of our various departments.”

Menkin said the interest from Travel Leaders was “tremendous validation” for Blue Ribbon Bags. And, given 20 million bags were misplaced last year alone, it looks like the company has plenty of opportunity for more growth.

“Lost luggage is a gigantic issue for everyone that flies,” said Menkin, who noted the company’s baggage tracker was a particularly hot feature among agents and agencies. “It’s something that’s sort of on the forefront of everyone’s mind when they are getting into the airport and getting on the plane.”

Ribbon Bags is currently available for customers traveling on any airline in every country around the world.

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