Robin Amster | December 17, 2015 12:00 PM ET
A Soft Spot for Print
Remember those glossy supplier and destination brochures with incredibly beautiful color photos? That secluded beach in the Caribbean? The over-the-water bungalow in Tahiti? The safari in Kenya? The super luxury hotel in Paris . . . or London or Rome?
Travel agents in what we now call brick-and-mortar locations used to stock them in racks to hand out to clients for inspiration, motivation and, of course, to promote sales.
Although many in the industry, and probably outside the industry, consider them to be an endangered species, they’re still out there and they’re still being produced by suppliers: cruise lines, tour operators, hotels and resorts, destinations.
I’ve heard more than one travel agent—many in fact—say they still favor printed brochures, they like to hand them out to their clients and those clients like to take them home to go through, study and ponder the possibilities.
And while I know these brochures are extremely expensive for suppliers to produce, I’ve also talked with more than one supplier who has said they continue to publish them because agents like them and, by implication, clients do too.
I admit to being sent a “brochure” from Micato Safaris, the operators of luxury safaris throughout Africa, that was so gorgeous and so interesting that I’ve held on to it. I’ve leafed through its pages as I would through a photography book, taking in the images and dreaming about the voyage.
That’s partly the power of these publications.
I liken them to the shelter magazine niche in which publications like Architectural Digest feature stunning photography spreads of homes most of us will never visit, let alone live in.
The difference between the shelter magazines and the travel brochures, though, is that we all have a shot at going on that safari, staying at that hotel or resort, sailing on that cruise line, visiting that destination.
I compare a travel brochure, a good one at any rate, to a book. And I think about the difference between a book and a Kindle. Web sites and videos are, of course, here to stay and they do a good job of conveying the “dream.”
But my bottom line? I don’t think they can compare to touching and feeling and lingering over a “dream” in printed form.
Some of us—certainly book lovers—just like the touch and feel of a printed piece, especially a beautiful one. That to me, is the real “high touch.”
I hope the glossy printed brochures don’t go away. Just as I fervently hope the same for books.
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