Inspired: The brochure is dead, long live the tablet
“In this article I, imagine a world without brochures”
Arguably there are 5 stages to online holiday booking. Dreaming, Researching, Booking, Experience and finally Sharing. With the plethora of tablet and fablet devices hitting the high street and a device on most peoples Christmas list does the online experience really support this process?
It was 1998 when I first entered the Travel technology market. I spent many an hour discussing the demise of the traditional brochure. An expensive and time consuming production which would end up in Travel Agents or be sent to thousands of potential customers. We really believed back then that the brochure could be transferred to CD/DVD and using electronic media we could extend the “Magazine” experience to a PC. Imagine clicking through thumbnail images and reading reams of copy interspersed with the odd panoramic image or video of the potential destination. How wrong we were. No one wanted to replace the magazine experience by loading up a CD and basically reading the brochure electronically. The Dream/inspiration phase was still supported by consumers (dreamers) picking up a brochure and thumbing through it’s contents whilst relaxed at home.
Fast forward to 2013. It’s taken nearly 15 years for a device to finally become so mainstream that it might actually challenge the traditional brochure: the tablet. Using apps such as Flipboard (www.flipboard.com) we can quickly see how content can be transformed into an inspiring magazine, beautifully laid out onto flip-able virtual pages with delectable fonts and supportive white space. This Christmas is the first year that consumers are most likely to the holiday search looking for inspiration using their tablets. They will be looking for imagery that inspires, turning their dreams into reality? Or will they? How many of the OTA’s provide inspiration from their home pages? What the consumer will most likely find is a tablet unfriendly search box where they are forced to put in dates, destinations and click the search button. They will then be presented with uninspiring thumbnails and way too much text to consume. All topped off with an overly large font showing price per pax!
Think about socialising. In clubs pubs and restaurants people chat about experiences. They constantly socialise on social sites about their holidays, their desires and post holiday images using Instagram, facebook and twitter. Soon they will post their images to Pinterest creating a travel board that will be re-pinned time and time again as like-minded consumers find inspiration in those images and experiences.
Inspiration is the key. Traditional search cost and book seemingly ignores the dreaming and inspirational part of the consumer journey. The social aspect is dabbled with but not understood and so tour operators only achieve a small percentage of likes finding it difficult to create and generate social conversation by thinking of this phase and posting relevant, inspiring imagery on their social pages.
So what do OTA’s need to do? They need to embrace the phases of holiday booking. Ditch the search cost and book process of old and inspire, converse and start the buzz. Focus on tablet first to provide an online inspirational magazine where the consumer can browse through inspiring images. Inspiration that is relevant to the viewer where they login using social log in, where they can post their favourite images using any of the social media apps.
Come on Travel, 15 years on lets get inspired!
Article originally published on Travolution.com December 10, 2013.