Once the most dependable and popular friend of travelers around the world, the travel brochure is slowly moving towards extinction. Thomson and First Choice announced earlier this year that they both will stop publishing travel brochures by 2020. This represents lesser confidence in printed material for travelers. With several websites and apps providing information on the go, do travel brochures still command the respect they did some years ago?
Why the company ditched the brochure?
Thomson and First Choice ditched the idea of their annual holiday travel publication in an effort to rebrand themselves as Tui. Managing Director Nick Longman confirmed these plans and the company started working on this project in the latter half of 2017. Their retail staff have been briefed about the move from print to digital. They will include VR headsets and complimentary WiFi in their offerings as well.
Longman said, “People used to visit an agency and spend hours looking through the brochure and decide where they wanted to go. Things have moved on.”
However, unlike many prominent publications that are going fully digital, the company doesn’t want to make a move to save costs. Their popular publication was sold at their high-end retail stores and more than 4.7 million copies were printed each year. Longman wants to “reinvest that money in new experiences for the customer”.
The travel industry is changing
With the new developments at Tui, it is easy to understand that technology is playing a crucial role in the expansion of the travel industry. In the past few years, the number of travelers has increased exponentially and people are now investing in new experiences more than ever. Mobile is at the forefront of this revolution. A 2014 State of Travel report by Skift suggests that 55 percent of internet consumption that is related to traveling now happens on mobile phones.
Tapping into this new customer base is important. SkyScanner is a perfect example of mobile-friendly travel apps. The service is used by 50 million people worldwide. The holiday scene is changing. High street stores only open for a few hours during the day but apps are available 24×7 and consistently update content.
KLM, a Dutch airline company foresaw this potential and is now connecting with its customers via its 24/7 social media service. Their customers can now book flights, check for flights, change flight details, select seats, order an a la carte meal or even arrange for extra baggage.
This suggests that while printed publications may still be valuable and hold great value as collectibles and ‘old school travel’ gear, digital is the need of the hour. There is a huge untapped market in travel and holiday industry that is looking for quick information, specially if it is available live. Going digital not only save costs but also helps in connecting to a wide audience.
All in all, print will have to play second fiddle to digital. However, while doing this, it could redefine its enigma and become a premium or ‘exclusive’ add -on that people will crave for.