Through a recent survey, Latin America and Polar specialists, Chimu Adventures, have discovered that 68% of the travel agents they work with receive too many brochures from suppliers and an overwhelming 96% would prefer to order brochures instead of being sent a large initial distribution.
Chimu Adventures strongly believe that the travel industry has been locked in a brochure oversupply for many years. Driven by an unspoken demand, this has led to terrible waste.
“It has long been perceived that travel agents need something in hard copy to give to clients to convert their enquiries into bookings, which, as many savvy agents will tell you, is just not the case. They are better to build a relationship with potential clients from the outset, instead of giving them a brochure. Agents should be requesting an email address and controlling the communication by creating a rapport based on their knowledge, something that money just can’t buy,” said Greg Carter, Co-founder of Chimu Adventures.
“Wholesalers also need to look at their methods of education and training in the industry. It’s no longer good enough to drop a brochure and tick it off as a sales call. There is a gross overuse of the printed brochure and we implore the entire industry to seek environmentally friendly training methods,” Carter continues.
While Chimu acknowledges that the printed brochure still has a place in the industry, they firmly believe that sending smaller initial brochure distributions and educating travel agents about companies and products through sustainable resources can effectively equip travel agents with the tools to be able to sell confidently and even receive a higher rate of conversion.
Chimu’s Sales and Product Manager, Sarah Baxter, added, “We understand there is a perceived demand for hard copy brochures in the industry, but stress that there are more effective ways of selling. At Chimu, we have already taken steps to reduce the number of brochures we produce. We, instead, channel our efforts into more effective training methods where we help our agents to reach their clients online. We emphasise the importance of relationship building and knowledge sharing and we personally help our travel agents to achieve this. Don’t let a potential client walk out of your door without leaving their contact details. An email address gives you a powerful tool to showcase your knowledge base and as a natural result your bookings will increase.”
The statistics on brochure usage come from a survey which was prompted by Chimu’s Travel Revolution movement; a movement about challenging the mainstream mindset of the travel industry. The Travel Revolution aims to show travel agents and marketeers how they can change the conversations they have with their clients to steer them towards product which is both ethical and sustainable. A focal message taken from agents engaging with this concept is that they receive an overabundance of brochures from suppliers on the initial distribution which are all too often wasted.
Michelle Desmarchelier from Travel Managers reported that, before removing herself from brochure distribution lists, she would take piles of outdated brochures to recycling depots, crippled with guilt at how much paper and supplier money she was wasting. She soon changed her practices, adding, “I think I have needed, at most, three hard brochures in nearly four years.”
The positive news is that 83% of the travel agents surveyed recycle any unused brochures when they become invalid. Chimu, however, believe that as an industry we need to address the number of brochures being sent in the first instance. Just as we confronted the dominant mentality of the industry with our Travel Revolution concepts for product, we want to set the next challenge of how to sell more of this product without relying on hard copy brochures which have a significant environmental impact.
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