Saturday, February 20, 2010

Promoting Dead Tree Marketing

One of the quirks of the travel industry is that we are still trapped in a never-ending cycle of producing copious amounts of brochures and directories. We often note with dismay at the mountain of unread accommodation directories, maps, regional guides, activity brochures etc tossed aside and left behind by our leisure guests that regularly strip brochure racks during their travels.

One of the problems that the travel industry has is the increasing amount of brochures and directories produced that have little return on investment. There is also a seemingly increasing tendency to duplicate material that reduces the return of scarce tourism marketing funding and only serves non-producing tourism organisations to empire build.

The economic viability of producing mountains of printed literature is debatable. We ceased producing the regimental DLE sized rack cards for our motels many years ago.

With the Rugby World Cup fast descending upon us, every RTO, government funded institution and private tourism business will be adding further layer of dead wood promotion material to landfills with increased gusto - guess who will be paying?

We love irony and hypocrisy, so it is with passing interest we note that the self appointed guardians of environmental evangelism, Qualmark NZ partnered with their minority shareholder, the AA to produce the second edition of the Qualmark New Zealand Travel Guide.

We estimate that the 2010 edition will have a similar print print run to last year's 15,000. With a little under 900 pages, this weighty annual doorstop that cut and pastes information from other paper based material will produce over 13 tonnes of waste.

We are sure that environmentalists would be horrified, however we are more concerned about the economic viability and the opportunity cost to the travel industry. Although the Qualmark New Zealand Travel Guide is promoted to operators as a free add-on, the publication has a (substantial) cost - and it's always the operator that pays in the end.

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!