Sendmybag wants to be the must-have luggage concierge for travelersNewsBy Karthick Prabu | April 4, 2013Share This article was originally published on Losing items of baggage when traveling, especially during the airport-airline-airport part of a trip, is one of the most dispiriting and frustrating problems a traveler can face.Other challenges related to baggage include overweight items, odd sizes, handle-with-care cargo, and often the sheer number of units a traveler is transporting (students, relocation, etc).AirportLostAndFound reported that 99% of checked-in bags are delivered on time. While this is an impressive number, other interesting data from the report suggests: In 2011, 25.8 million items of baggage were mishandled, costing the industry $2.58 billion.86% were delayed, 11% were damaged, and 3% were stolen or lost. UK-based startup Sendmybag wants travelers to forget about their baggage and, instead, depend on it for a door-to door baggage transport facility across the globe.Founder and CEO Adam Ewart says: "I was helping my partner travel home from uni at the end of term, having already paid for myself to travel with her to carry the extra bags, at check-in we were told we were 3 kgs over the weight allowance and charged £60. I found the charge so ridiculous (we’d already paid for second bags) I launched the domestic service on an incredibly basic website within a couple of weeks, primarily to help students. "We soon started to receive a lot of requests from non students and for international routes, when I looked into this it was clear that the airlines were dramatically shifting their focus to ancillary revenue streams and baggage was a growing source of pain for the traveller. "We trialled international services over 12 months and officially launched Sendmybag international in September 2012."Share this quote The team at Sendmybag comprises Ewart, Grant Carmichael (operations manager) and Danny Moore (non-exec director), supported by three full-time staff and a growing number of self-employed specialists working under contract.In 2012 September, Sendmybag raised significant seed funding money from Loughshore Investments and appeared (and failed) on the BBC entrepreneur pitching show, Dragon's Den.Sendmybag launched its service (to the student community) within a week of the getting the original and it claims to have been in profit as early as during its trials.Q&A with Ewart:Describe what your start-up does, what problem it solves and for whom?Sendmybag offers an affordable, reliable, international door to door luggage service.We save you money, let you to skip check-in, avoid waiting at the baggage carousels and no more trailing luggage, golf clubs or skis behind you on public transport, your bags will be at the hotel before you.At present we are primarily used by people wishing to travel with more than one piece of luggage as airlines have grown expensive and restrictive with regard to addition items. Top user groups include: students, expats, business travellers, and sports travellers.Why should people or companies use your startup?We save you money, especially when you need to travel with more than one bag, we also make travelling with what you need more convenient.Other than going viral and receiving mountains of positive PR, what is the strategy for raising awareness and getting customers/users?We rely a lot on word of mouth, we realise sendmybag is a new concept and it requires a level of trust to send your luggage ahead. Our best advertisement comes from happy customers telling their friends.On top of this, we like to do something fun every 6-8 months on a PR front, last year was [BBC's] Dragons’ Den, this year, well it’s coming soon…How did your initial idea evolve? Were there changes/any pivots along the way? What other options have you considered for the business if the original vision fails?The business came straight out of a bad experience of paying excess baggage fees, I had previously started an online musical instrument retailer and I knew I could move bags through the same channels I used to move musical instruments (again quite precious cargo).When I asked people whether they would use Sendmybag, they said they would, and when we launched our initial service with universities, enough people took it up to tell me it was worth pursuing.Fortunately, at present we are growing at a rate which gives us a very positive sign that the current model is the right one.Where do you see yourselves in 3 years time, what specific challenges do you hope to have overcome?We still view Sendmybag very much in its early stages, we’ve a long way to go, but 3 years is a long time!We’re working on a number of tracking, packaging and labelling products which we believe will put Sendmybag in a position to offer an unrivalled service.As airlines start to make tough decisions surrounding baggage we hope to start working with airlines, allowing passengers to purchase a great value flight but to travel with what they need for an enjoyable trip.What is wrong with the travel, tourism and hospitality industry that requires another startup to help it out?In recent years the air travel experience has started to resemble a cattle market, it has became stressful and riddled with hidden charges, we want to do our bit to put the pleasure back into travel.Tnooz view: Airlines are forever changing baggage policies, so perhaps a service which takes away one element of anxiety and annoyance for travellers is a welcome addition to the marketplace. There are companies already on the scene - DirectBaggage, BaggageQuest, LuggageForward and LuggageFree, which cover all three process of baggage management. So is there room for another? Ewart admits that airlines are both its biggest competitor and biggest source of business, as they charge more for bags or move towards hand-luggage-only-flights. This is true. But at a high level, door to door baggage management can be seen as a three step process: taking bags to the airport; checking in with all formalities; and getting the bags from airport to a destination. Airlines such as American and United are addressing the third element described above with a recently launched baggage delivery service (partnering with BagsVIP). As part of this service, airlines deliver a traveler’s checked-in baggage to destinations within 100 miles of the arrival airport. This service (obviously) comes with a charge. Given the fact that during baggage transfer it will often be dealt with various government agencies (customs, security), potential service disruptions (flight delays) and issues (missing or damaged baggage, wrong address, no receiver at a destination), there is a potentially a wider challenge for the company around over reliability. It may not have control over the whole process, but it will be the consumer-facing element and be there to take any traveler frustration on the chin.Share this quote NB:TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.