In 1999 (yes, I know - a long time ago), I attended an ABTA Travel Convention in Australia. We had arranged for our client Amadeus to sponsor research with The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) into travel booking trends and the impact that the internet could have on consumer and travel agency behaviours. Bear in mind, this was two months before the supposed Millennium Bug and the impending black out that was anticipated.
The research was the subject of a lively conference discussion and I distinctly remember one very prominent ABTA travel agency director saying, he would rather buy new carpets for his agency shops than invest in internet provision for his front line agents!
But one of the other key discussions that came out of the research findings was around brochure provision. One of the obvious advantages of 'the internet' then (it seems odd now to talk about it like this!) was that it would remove the need for printing brochures. Not only were they a heavy budget item for tour operators but they would quickly become out of date. That debate was 18 years ago! and this article shows it is only just beginning to happen. TUI has declared it will phase brochures out by 2020 and Thomas Cook has said it is moving towards magazines featuring holiday experiences rather than specific holiday packages.
Why has it taken so long to phase out brochures? What is about walking out of a holiday shop with 'something' in your hand? It would have been so easy for travel agents to create bespoke, current, printed-in-shop take-aways for holiday buyers? But tour operators have only just started to provide downloadable assets for agents to use in that way. I can only assume it was a case of old habits die hard.
Hoseasons is to stop bulk deliveries of brochures to agents. The landmark decision comes as the operator reports that 75% of third-party bookings are now made online and 90% of customers go online to research breaks. The domestic specialist will deliver file copies of its three 2018 brochures covering its lodge, holiday parks and boating breaks to agents, but no brochure packs.