An Odd Happening

Something odd has happened.  Last night I found myself browsing a holiday brochure.  I know, it’s like I am back in 1988 but this time it’s different, I shall explain.

Many of us will (fondly?) remember looking at holiday brochures back in the 1980’s in my case.  These brochures let the family browse and choose their summer holiday, typically somewhere in the Med between June and September, the annual two weeks away.  Indeed, some companies still produce an awful lot of brochures at tremendous cost and I assume many people read them.

However, I am sure there are many people like me who haven’t looked at a holiday brochure for 20 years or more.  For a summer holiday I no longer need to.  I can easily choose a flight and I can easily choose somewhere to stay not to mention finding more reviews than I’ll ever read.  This applies to a two week holiday travelling around Mexico, three weeks on a road trip in South Africa, a long weekend in New York or my two weeks away in Europe in summer.

So why was I looking at a brochure?

I attended the Adventure Travel Show in London’s Olympia over the weekend.  What an eye opener!  how have I missed this?!  I thought I knew a bit about the travel industry, once again I am mistaken.  So many great businesses that I had never heard of (Discover the World, HF Holidays, MACS Adventure, Wild Frontiers etc).  So, it’s not very big, there are only a few companies exhibiting whilst there are many talks from explorers, photographers, destinations etc…but it’s great fun and very friendly.

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These ‘specilaist’ holidays require getting a lot of information to the customer, the customer will also want to research hence publishing the brochures.  The type of holidays range from Everest Base Camp to kayaking in Scandinavia to walking in Europe.  These are not impulse purchases.  I think people like to browse and frankly, sometimes it’s easier than getting the laptop open or using a tablet (although I did visit some websites after a browse).

Maybe it’s my age and I am now looking at different types of getaways as well as a ‘normal’ holiday (I don’t underestimate the fact I am very lucky to even be able to contemplate going away more than once per year).  I used to think brochures were dead.  However, that is not the case.  There is a place for brochures which I think fall into a few categories:

1.  It’s a complicated itinerary and needs explanation which is easier in print

2.  Some people aren’t on line / can’t be bothered to look on line

3.  The company itself sees the brochure as a facilitator to their website and brand

I enjoyed flicking through the pages, all nice images and attractive copy.  Not only that I really enjoyed discovering a new corner of the travel industry which I had previously bypassed.  The adventure show is now on my calendar and no doubt this time next year I will get my new brochures (although I will get them at the end of the show, not the beginning this time).

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