Hot Concept in the Summertime

M.J. Smith It’s late August and you know what that means: a mailbox full of brand-new tour operator brochures. Scores arrive daily. Glossy page after glossy page showing couples gazing at pink-streaked skies, couples frolicking in the surf and couples enjoying some private joke, interspersed with descr

By: M.J. Smith

It’s late August and you know what that means: a mailbox full of brand-new tour operator brochures.

Scores arrive daily. Glossy page after glossy page showing couples gazing at pink-streaked skies, couples frolicking in the surf and couples enjoying some private joke, interspersed with descriptions of the Tokyo at Night excursion and single supplement charges.

It was this avalanche of marketing that came to mind as I read that a second U.K. operator, Panorama Holiday Group, has put its 2003-2004 brochures online. Big headline. Discussion topic at a recent British trade convention too.

It’s not such a big story in the States. Most operators here have been posting brochure content for years. And some, like the luxury operator Travcoa, are using print to direct readers to their Web site for all the tiny-type details.

There’s a real benefit to the Internet versions that, while perhaps small in scale, is still mighty in principle: saving paper and relieving our landfills of boxes and boxes of unused, outdated brochures.

Tom Stanley, president of Travcoa, told TravelAge West recently that he doesn’t believe operators will go to online-only brochures in the near future. “People want to hold something. They want to bring something to show their friends. Even companies that are doing their brochures online are doing print collateral as a back up,” he said.

Meanwhile, Owen Whitehead, Panorama’s marketing director, told the U.K. trade press that his company’s decision was based on the perception of “wastage and oversupply of brochures in the market.”

Ever the businessman, he also noted that it cost 1 pound, or about $1.60, to produce and distribute each brochure. So Panorama may save money, particularly by updating information online rather than printing a third or fourth edition of a piece.

Save money and help the environment. What a concept!

Adventure Travel JDS Africa Middle East JDS Destinations
>