Printed brochures still seem to be vital when agents sell luxury travel.
In one of the final events to take place at the WTM in London, a debate on luxury travel organised by ttgluxury, a UK source of travel news on this rich seam of the industry provided under the Travel Trade Gazette umbrella, tour operators said that printed brochures continue to be an essential asset. “We wish we didn’t have the overhead, but there’s still a real need for it, particularly for the trade,” said Kerry Golds, tour operations director at W&O Travel.
Sally Booth, marketing director for the Eden Luxury Group, agreed: “In an ideal world we’d like not to have a brochure, but people really do like them.” Eden manages to keep the investment needed for brochures at a minimum by printing only every 18 months. “They’re expensive and very time consuming,” Paul Cleary, managing director of Caribtours and The Private Travel Company, explained. “But in such a crowded marketplace you need to do something to make yourself stand out. For stamping your personality on things, the brochure is the way.”
The debate then assessed the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO) for luxury operators, which some participants said was the least important of his marketing tools. “SEO is wonderful for a marketing team as you can measure return on investment very easily, but the quality of the leads is poor,” Alastair Poulain, co-founder of Original Travel, said. “If a customer comes to you by internet search there is no relationship there and you have to work very hard to get the booking.”