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The CEO who still believes in travel

We talk to Roland Grohmann from FORMIA


Can you please just explain a bit about FORMIA?

Our mission at FORMIA is to create products and concepts that inspire and delight travellers, through expert curation and meaningful partnerships. FORMIA was launched in the 1980s in Scandinavia and is now a market leader in the airlines amenities industry, specialising in airline amenity kits, skincare and comfort items. FORMIA has moved beyond simply supplying products to curating a memorable, luxurious experience even beyond the flight. 

So how would we know the brand? Who have you supplied the kits for?

At FORMIA we pride ourselves in offering the best high-quality, premium amenities, partnering with a variety of brands including luxury, lifestyle, travel and wellness corporations to curate boundary-pushing products and concepts. We are the people behind the scenes who continuously challenge ourselves to create award-winning, first-onboard and exclusive-only concepts for our airline customers. Through our partnerships, we align luxury and lifestyle brands with global airlines to add increased perceived value and curate meaningful moments for the passenger.

We are currently collaborating with over 50 international airlines and over 150 inspiring brands including a charity kit for Breast Cancer Awareness for Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines’ long-haul Business Class amenities with Paris based fashion, music and café brand Maison Kitsuné and partnered Turkish Airlines’ with renowned fashion house Versace for long-haul Business Class kits.  

Which has been your most interesting collaboration to date?

A personal highlight was designing the amenity kits for Singapore Airlines’ First Class suites with French luxury brand LALIQUE. The bespoke kits were designed with reusability in mind and can double up as a charming jewellery box or a case for carrying travel essentials. Passengers were treated to a retail size, gifting concept of an Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette or scented candle and a variety of high-end cosmetics. This was part of a wider collection which included luxurious LALIQUE sleepwear and washroom cosmetics. 

Obviously, travel has taken a huge hit of late, how have you adapted to this with such a specific product?

Passenger’s demands have changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with hygiene and safety whilst travelling becoming the primary focus. As a result of this, we have had to adapt to meet the new demands of travellers. In April 2020, we launched our new Clean Kit range with quality PPE and sanitiser products to support the health, safety and wellbeing of inflight passengers. Since then, we have continuously evolved the range to offer more choice in both products and concepts. We have collaborated with further brand partners including sanitising experts Raze, Norwegian skincare specialists Sprekenhus and natural skincare brand THANN.  We have also included more certified performance technology elements into our textiles and are continuously researching 360-degree wellness concepts that will extend into passengers daily lives, beyond the travel journey itself. 

As the vaccine comes out, what are your predictions for travel? Will we see more short-haul or dream holidays do you think?

 Even with a vaccine, the demand for air travel is expected to remain cautious and it has been reported that the industry is not expected to return to pre-COVID levels until 2024. However, we’ve seen a level of pent-up demand from travel over the last year and I believe that trips abroad will rise gradually and in a safe manner within the new normal. In my opinion, travellers will be looking to visit ‘dream destinations’ that they have been thinking of whilst in lockdown and so I predict that there will be a rise in visiting destinations that offer large-open spaces, outdoor activities, health and wellness facilities and accommodation offerings where families and/or friends can reconnect.  

When we can travel, do you think HOW we travel will be different? Our experiences on the plane will surely be different so how does this affect you? 

 As the world moves towards a vaccination phase and we start to see a lifting of restrictions, the expansion of travel bubbles and green lanes looks exciting. We predict that travel bubbles, health passports, and sustainable travel will be key trends for 2021 that will dominate the ‘new normal’. Travel will be different from before, consumer preferences, concerns and expectations have evolved throughout the pandemic and this will affect how we travel and who we travel with. The choice of the airline may no longer be mainly price-driven; decisions will be influenced by safety and wellbeing standards. At FORMIA, we will continue to cater to new traveller expectations and demands, to ensure they feel protected, safe and pampered. For us, we have seen a shift from mainly long-haul product requirements, to now ensuring consumers are taken care of on every flight – both long-haul and short-haul. Our aim is to innovate and inspire the travel experience with wellness concepts that really connect passengers with the brand story and extend well into their daily lives beyond the flight.