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Published on Friday, October 10, 2003

Printed brochures are here to stay...

Paul RicherTravel technology consultant Paul Richer (pictured), reviews the debate at the recent TTI Autumn Conference, at which he was moderator.

The over-riding message from this week’s “Out of Print” conference is that, even though early adopters of e-brochure technology are yielding the benefits, the printed brochure is not dead.

Over 140 delegates gathered to debate this issue at the Travel Technology Initiative’s Autumn 2003 conference. As one speaker put it, rather like viewdata, much of the industry would like to move on to more cost effective technology but the printed brochure is not going to go away.

Ed SpiersThe conference was opened by Anite Travel Systems director, Ed Spiers (pictured), who presented the results of their e-brochure survey. Anite found 75% of agents surveyed said they run out of the brochures they need, yet have far too many of those they don’t want. With 60% of operators surveyed stating that their brochure costs are over £1 per copy, clearly the travel industry is a god-send to the paper recycling industry.

Kuoni’s e-business & distribution manager, Matt Rooke illustrated the extent of money that could be saved by adopting e-brochures. With the distribution of brochures to consumers accounting for 10% of total print and distribution costs, yet the print cost accounting for only 5%, Kuoni sees good scope for more cost efficient delivery of brochures. The company’s answer has been to develop an e-brochure strategy that allows consumers to choose the brochure pages they wish to download. Kuoni is the first operator to launch this technology. Whilst this e-brochure initiative has been well received by consumers, Matt concluded that e-brochures are not the elixir for reducing print and distribution costs.

The reasoning for this was explored by BP Travel Marketing Services managing director, Paul Markland. Independent focus group work commissioned by BP highlighted just how much consumers appreciate the convenience and portability of printed brochures. They are easier to share, quicker to browse and emotionally more involving than their electronic brethren. In fact, Paul mentioned that one focus group participant enjoyed the smell of printed brochures as it reminded her of holidays. Could seaweed scented brochures be in the offing?

Listening to Paul Markland made me realise that a real issue for upmarket operators is that there is a danger inherent in e-brochures of losing some of the intangible qualities of printed brochures that are used to reinforce brand image, such as the quality and thickness of paper.

A further thought on agents printing brochures on demand, prompted me to ask a question of the next speaker, TUI UK general manager product development and creative media services, Jeremy Ellis. If agents had the technology to print brochures on demand, they could easily assemble their own multi-operator brochures; for example, 40 pages across six tour operators just including pages that feature a particular destination or, just including those operators that pay the highest commission. Jeremy’s response was that the challenge is to get the right mix of media to sell holidays in the most suitable way for the changing consumer and the most cost effective way to maximise margins.

Jeremy described the TUI UK system, EPIC, which has been developed in-house to produce brochure page pdf files, no longer requiring the services of a repro house. This alone is saving TUI UK £500,000 per year.

Highlighting the paper mountain the travel industry creates, Jeremy estimated that the top four vertically integrated UK companies produce about 150 publications per year, between one and five editions per publication, up to 800 pages per edition with print runs up to three million copies.

What did I conclude from the conference? E-brochures are definitely coming - the benefits are too compelling to ignore but, for now, the traditional holiday brochure is definitely not Out of Print.

Read our previous stories:
31-July-2003 Audio added to digital brochures
17-June-2003 TTI tackles e-brochure debate
23-Apr-03 Electronic brochures should meet standards, says TTI
19-Feb-2003 End of the road for hardcopy brochures?

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  • Brochures on print vs e-print

    My opinion on the article is, that although printed brochures are nice and certainly maintain as business first introduction to customers, they represent a burden to some sectors of the Travel Industry. At our US offices, we receive approx.70% of printed material in excessive amounts. Each tour company sends about 10 of each destination.

    A way to save money and also overwhelming burden of this "printed material", is to just send a max. of 4 issues, plus a an editable CD-Rom of the same.

    Then our library will be most eficcient, almost our 99% communication is based on emailing and internet data. If a passenger requests some info. we refer it to our website, or a website of our within network. Walk-ins customers are seldom and usually end-up with an email follow up, and downloadable items from it.

    Printing brochures are then a waste of money, a burden, a waist of money for who is issuing it, but great for the printing companies (although 80% of Tour Operators hold printing in their ofiices).

    You will save on :
    Time consuming

    And become vanguard in your field.

    E printing is better in my opinion than physical printing

    Thank you.

    By Juan Elespuru B, Friday, November 14, 2003

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