Millennials are leaving their suitcases at home when they travel, preferring to rent clothes and shoes when they reach their destination, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in association with Euromonitor International, released at World Travel Market London.
Hotels and fashion brands are tapping into this “bag-free, hassle-free” trend and teaming up to offer pay-as-you-go convenience for busy travellers.
The WTM Global Trends Report states the trend has followed the rise of the sharing economy, which has seen renting become more accepted – and it’s moving beyond cars and holiday apartments.
The research points to pioneers such as Starwood’s Westin brand which rents running clothes and shoes to guests for US$5.
Start-up ventures have entered the arena with companies such as unPack offering a suitcase of clothes to rent for hotel and Airbnb guests.
Fashion store Pimkie has installed “Mini Fashion Bars” in hotels in Antwerp, Brussels, Milan and Paris, with clothes available to buy via a mini-bar style service.
Virgin Hotel Chicago has a concierge service which allows guests to purchase clothes from Gap and have them delivered to their room.
The report says millennials – those born after 1980 – tend to be the most enthusiastic consumers of clothing rental services.
A survey by Westfield Shopping in the UK and the US found that almost half of 25- to 34-year-olds would be interested in a monthly rental scheme for clothes.
Renting also means millennials can wear luxury fashion brands that would be out of their price range if they had to buy them.
New York hotels have also seen sneaker concierges, who will find rare footwear for guests to buy, and a bikini concierge tasked with advising on matching styles.
More specialised rentals will follow, with the likes of Candlewood Suites renting slow cookers, blenders and grills to guests.
Euromonitor International, Head of Travel, Caroline Bremner said: “As hotels develop more rental services for frequent flyers, it will reduce the need for luggage – and make air fares cheaper for consumers who normally pay hold baggage fees.
“However, airlines rely more and more on money earned from such fees, so they will have to adapt if they start losing money from this revenue stream.”