Northern Ireland

NI company offers hassle-free and bagless travel

travellers at airport
Image caption The company aims to take the hassle out of travelling with numerous bags

Lawyers lugging files of case notes, company representatives trailing boxes of products, or perhaps office workers struggling with lap-tops, suits and luggage.

That was who the entreprenuers behind a new company thought would be their main customer base - but things have turned out differently for followyourbag.com.

The idea is a simple one, you pay online and place your order to have luggage collected from your home or office and delivered to your chosen destination.

It arrives before you, and you have a hassle-free journey.

But when the Belfast-based company began in September 2010, a big reduction in the number of people travelling for business was happening around them.

The latest figures from the Northern Ireland Hotel Industry review show that the number of weekday business guests have grown at a much lower rate, and in some cases have declined, over the last three years.

But Adrian Gundy from followyourbag.com said their customer base has been growing, but not in the areas they had expected.

"We do a big trade in getting students possessions to and from English universities," he said.

"We've flown a bridal gown back from a wedding in the United States of America, an airline pilots golf clubs to Canada, and we've even flown the gear of Northern Ireland's football team through the IFA."

The company now employs three people in Belfast, 10 in Dublin, and has a base in Amsterdam.

Mr Gundy said that they are flying at least 50 bags a week around the world.

It's certainly been a difficult time to market a business service, in a climate when businesses are cutting back on travel where possible.

But the company said they always charged less than the cost of taking excess baggage, and hope the service will be seen as a business essential, rather than an unnecessary luxury.