Travel Sector

[Guest Post] Hi, I’m Heerum Fleary, Director of TickEat which specialises in bringing exciting new food and drink products to airlines, trains, ferries and hotels. This post has my top 3 tips for pitching your food and drink brand into the travel sector.

I regularly meet lots of up and coming food and drink businesses, and a surprising number haven’t yet considered branching out into the travel and leisure sector. Getting yourself into the hands of new customers who are indulging in some much needed travel and leisure can be really great timing. Positive associations around travel for short breaks away or holidays can cement your food or drink product as one of the highlights of their trip, creating nostalgia to enjoy it over and over again once they’re back to the humdrum of everyday life.

As both a former buyer and expert within the travel sector, I have great working relationships with current buyers and many leading players in this field. With this experience in mind, here are my top 3 tips for small food and drink businesses thinking of expanding into this market.

1. Where does your product fit into the travel sector? 

You first need to decide where your product fits best; is it a ‘buy an onboard product’, or a ‘complimentary giveaway’? Do your research on what the airline, train or ferry is currently supplying, so that you are going to the buyer with a suitable replacement product.

There is a massive difference between offering a buy onboard product and a complimentary product, so the buyer will consider various aspects in a specific order of importance.

If a product is going to be complimentary, the buyer will look at the quality of the product first, then your cost price. Because the ‘cost’ to the customer is already included in their ticket price, the buyer needs to ensure that they obtain the product from you at the most cost effective price possible. For buy onboard products, the buyers’ focus will be on the brand first, then quality and finally, price, so you can go in at a much more realistic cost rate.

2. Have you met the minimum requirements?

Ensure you fit the buyers’ criteria such as;

  • You have a stable financial background (as checks will be carried out)
  • The correct form of accreditation in place – SALSA as a minimum, BRC is a plus although each caterer for the airlines, train or ferries will normally carry out their own audits, and ask you to fill out an internal audit form
  • Does your packaging meet their needs? – e.g. glass is a hazard because it’s easily broken, so caterers will not accept products in this way

There are many other things a buyer will look for, but these are good starting points for small businesses to think about.

3. Logistics, logistics, logistics 

Orders can vary from location to location so you must already have the correct logistics in place to meet the varying needs and demands of your new partner. Sufficient shelf life is also a key element to ensuring that you create minimal wastage of your product and your profits.

So there you have it, my top 3 tips to help you explore the travel and leisure market. It may seem daunting at first, especially as buyers do not always have the time to meet with every supplier. If you’re looking for help along the way, then working with TickEat can open doors for you within travel catering. Airlines especially prefer to use TickEat as a one-stop shop because we understand their needs, and many of our client’s products are successfully chosen during their first submission.

*** Special Offer for Smoothie PR Readers! ***

If you’d be interested in finding out if your food or drink product is a good fit for the travel sector, then I’m offering a FREE 15-minute consultation for every reader.

This free consultation is an ongoing offer, no matter how far into the future you’re reading this post!

I also have a sub-brand called Innoveat. Innoveat is the UK’s one and only leading food exhibition for the travel and leisure sector. It also has the only catalogue published in the UK with products which fit into the travel & leisure sector, as well as a monthly online newsletter publication.

With this in mind, I’m also offering 3 extra freebies – £250 off an exhibition stand for the first 3 people who wish to exhibit at Innoveat in October 2017. This is a great opportunity for you to meet buyers from the travel sector face to face, find out more at and mention this blog post when you contact me.

If you’d like to chat about any of the above, please email me, take a look at my website and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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