Producing a Tourism Brochure
Producing a tourism brochure
Tourism enterprises (operators) are spending huge sums each year producing brochures to promote their accommodation, attraction, hospitality venue, retail outlet or other business. The aim being to persuade visitors to become customers.
Many operators have no access to a reference to guide them with development of their brochure. As a results, brochures are often produced with emphasis on the secondary information with the most important information not being highlighted.
This reference paper outlines how tourism businesses can use their existing budget to achieve far better business results.
Mt Waverley Victoria
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may be interested in a more successful tourism industry for regional Australia and New Zealand.
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PRODUCING A TOURISM BROCHURE
For most tourism businesses their brochure is their most important merchandising tool. Customers and the travel industry often decide to buy the product or service based on the standard of the brochure and the information it contains.
For an operator’s brochures to be competitive and to motivate customers to buy, there is a need to follow certain principles as follows:
1. BUSINESS OBJECTIVES FOR THE BROCHURE
Before design work begins, the business objectives for the brochure need to be clear.
Why is the brochure being produced? First and foremost, the role of brochures is to lead to business being written.
However different brochures have different purposes. Some examples would be to
• highlight a new feature
• sell packages
• counter an adverse image or competitive shortcoming
• fill idle capacity in a quiet period
• tap into a new market segment
• feature a special offer in co-operation with another operator
The objective of the brochure needs to be clearly understood.
Also to be considered are the market segments to be targeted by the brochure. What are their special interests? If trying to win new business from honeymooners and couples celebrating anniversaries, copy which appeals to fishermen or lawn bowlers would not be appropriate.
2. THINK CUSTOMER, THINK CUSTOMER, THINK CUSTOMER
Successful brochures show an empathy for customer needs and aspirations. The brochures concentrate on providing the information which will assist the customer to make a purchase or booking.
Too often operators are more concerned about what they want to say, not what the customer wants to read.
3. UNIQUE SELLING FEATURES
Before designing any brochure, the unique selling features should be determined (based on customer needs and desires) and prioritised for maximum affect.
Other features should be noted also. Relevant information should be included but it should be accepted that some information may need to be omitted. Too much detail can be counter-productive.
4. FORMAT AND DESIGN
No matter whether the brochure is a one page leaflet or multiple pages, certain fundamentals need to be followed for success.
The information needs to be presented in an order consistent with the principles of AIDA
A call to Action (see Note)
This is the sequence followed to motivate customers to actually make a purchase. First the interest of the customer must be secured with a front cover which gets the attention. From there further interest is generated by the supporting text and illustrations, design ,etc. This then builds the desire for more information and lastly, the Call to Action when the customer makes a decision to buy (or at least contact a Visitor Information or website for further information or make a booking). It is a natural progression.
Information should be shown in such a way that travel consultants and consumers can scan it quickly.
Note: Call to action - This is the “Contact details” information needed by customers to respond further. Details are shown on page 4 under the heading “Back page”
5. USE THE RIGHT APPROACH WITH COPY
Customers of tourism products and services are usually seeking an experience of some kind ie. enjoyment, excitement, relaxation, adventure, romance, indulgence, comfort, etc. Any copy that is written should demonstrate an understanding of customer desires and needs. The copy needs to be emotive wherever possible.
Claims about the product should be believable and valid.
Sub-heading and ‘point-form’ presentations are preferred by readers and travel consultants. Long narrative style paragraphs should be avoided. Long paragraphs without visual relief should also be avoided.
IMPORTANT: Copy to be avoided would be a “statement of fact” style which leans more to showing pride in the product rather than demonstrating the WIIFM factor for customers.
IMPORTANT: A good map showing location and access routes should be included usually on the back page together with the contact details (see also page 4).
Selection of photographs is critical for success. Some do’s and don’ts.
DO chose photographs that reflect the target market. If target markets cross several age groups do choose young adults as subjects. Older people like going to places where there are young people but not vice-versa.
DO chose photographs that best reflect the experiences to be enjoyed.
DO include suitable people in photographs wherever possible.
DO chose photos that show people enjoying themselves. After all, this is why most people travel.
DONT use photographs that look like amateur family snaps
DONT use family photographs or photographs of mature age travellers or business travellers though these are important market segments, these may only be appropriate if specifically targeting these markets. Images of these groups (and to an extent, children) can be counterproductive in trying to enthuse the leisure traveller to select your product.
DO REMEMBER: Family travel is mostly restricted to 12 weeks pa. Non-family travel covers the other 40 weeks pa!
DONT have photos with people showing their backs to the camera if it can be avoided.
8. USE OF TYPE FACES, PICTURES AND COLOURS
Many brochures lose their impact because of a lack of consistency in presentation of typefaces, colours and pictures. Some sponsors of brochures allow their personal creative tastes to over-ride the primary commercial need which is to impress potential customers.
Type faces to be used should be appropriate to the image and positioning of the product. The variety of type faces (fonts) should be kept to a minimum, preferably one and no more than two.
The size of the type face (font) for the text should not be too small particularly for mature age customers.
If the brochure is to have less than four colours, careful consideration should be given to colours. Options include
• one colour on coloured paper, or
• two colours
Use of three colours is usually not economical. It is advisable to discuss the economics involved with your printer before deciding the number of colours.
Photographs are normally preferable but sometimes a good line drawing can be very effective.
9. SEQUENCE OF PRESENTATION
When producing a brochure the correct sequence is essential and will bring better results from customers and travel consultants. As an example this is the recommended approach for a four page brochure.
Front cover. First impressions are most important. The design should be simple and not complicated. Avoid the temptation to “say too much” with pictures and copy. A simple message will have more impact.
Top of the brochure should comprise either the name of the business and/or a statement defining the product as well as the location. An example
Mountain Top Motel - Hobart
A promotional slogan is an option for exciting the reader further. An example
Fabulous mountain and river views
The front cover picture/s (photo or illustration) need to reflect the “promise” or major appeal of the product or service being promoted.
For the Mountain Top Motel, this could be a photo looking
over the shoulder of a seated guest who is admiring the view.
The bottom of the front cover could be used to reinforce any other features which may interest prospective customers. As an example
Motel’s chain logo
Hospitality that is out of this world
Page 2. At the top of the page should be a heading which attracts attention. As an example the heading on page 2 could be
So much to enjoy
This could be supported with sub-headings, other statements and pictures to raise interest like
Great ways to relax
Great food and wine
Great rooms for a good sleep
Emphasis on this page should be directed at raising interest and the desire to buy.
Page 3. This page should provide detailed information which the customer may require such as product description, nearby attractions, food and wine features, nearby sporting facilities, etc.
It is not normal to show prices in accommodation brochures, inserts can be used if required.
Back page. The top half can be used to promote other features or a map. Travel consultants and many customers prefer to have the map on the back page for ease of reference.
The lower half is the “action” or “contact details’ area. Here should be shown
• the name, logo and address of the business
• telephone and fax numbers
• website address
• e-mail address
• computerised reservation system codes (if accepting travel industry bookings)
• white blank space of adequate size for travel agency or sales agent stamp. Looking after retail agents is so important if travel industry support is being sought as part of the marketing strategy.
• accreditation logo, logos of awards that may have been won, etc.
More than four pages
If the brochure has more than four pages the same sequence and principles apply.
An important consideration for any brochure are the arrangements for display and distribution.
When designing the front cover, it must suit all brochure racks. Important information must be at the top and easily seen.
The size of the brochure should suit ease of mailing. Brochures arriving creased spoil the impact required. The standard sizes prevalent today are DL (210mm x 100mm) and A4 (300mm x 210mm). Some choose A5 (150m x 210mm) but these are unpopular with most travel agents and Visitor Information Centres and it is also inconvenient for postage. The A5 size and non-standard sizes should be avoided for these reasons. Non-standard sizes are also an uneconomic use of paper.
Horizontal front covers and non-standard size brochures are usually relegated to the bottom of the brochure rack.
Before starting to plan the brochure and before $1.00 is spent on design development, it is strongly recommended that the brochure sponsor prepare a written Brochure Brief. Appendix A is a check list of issues which need to be addressed.
Once each issue has been considered, decisions should be recorded to avoid vacillation during the development process which can prove very expensive. So often production costs are incurred when changes are made because of a lack of adequate prior consideration.
If several people are involved in producing the brochure, it is wise to get agreement on each point in advance of production so as to avoid costly changes later.
HINTS & TIPS
Appendix B sets out at random, a number of helpful hints and tips which may prove useful.
The following issues need to be addressed before production begins. It is strongly recommended these issues be committed to paper so that
• the design artist or printer retained to produce the brochure has a clear understanding of requirements. A written brief avoids disputes and costly changes later
• as time progresses, factors behind decisions are forgotten which can lead to changes during production. Changes cost money.
To be considered are
Marketing objectives What are the marketing aims of the brochure eg. new features, off-season promotion etc.
Business objectives of the brochure How will the brochure support planned marketing activities? What business is being targeted?
Branding Is the brochure to strengthen the branding or even launch a new branding for the business.
Markets What are the primary markets for the brochure?
What other markets are to be serviced?
Travel Industry Will the brochure be distributed through the travel industry? Will it be used by the travel industry as a reference? If so what additional considerations are important?
Copy style What style of writing is to be used? Is it emotive and exciting? Is it easy for the customer to read and understand.
Images What pictures are to be used? Are present photographs suitable for a high standard brochure? Are new photographs required?
Map/s What map/s are required?
Content What are the important features to be highlighted?
What are the other features or information of importance to the customer? As an example, an attractions operator may need days and times of opening or set departure times for tours or cruises.
Format Will the brochure be A4 or DL? If another size is desired what distribution issues must be considered?
How many colours?
How many pages?
Information, pics and maps for each page?
Front cover layout?
Back cover layout?
Any logos to be shown, if so, where?
Date of issue on back page is important unless a period of validity is shown on the front cover.
Production Production schedule needs to consider
• when brochure production starts
• when brochure mock-up and draft copy will be available
• how much time will be needed to check the mock-up and draft copy
• when brochure proof will be available for you to check
• after brochure is approved for printing how long before brochure is printed
• will the brochure producer arrange printing or will the brochure producer supply the necessary artwork to your chosen printer. This transfer is usually done electronically but not always
• if a colour brochure, when will the “chem-proof” be available
• date brochure will be delivered to the brochure distribution agent or to the client
Distribution What is the brochure distribution plan?
What reserve stocks will be held and by whom?
How are the brochure stocks replenished at Visitor Information Centres and other locations eg. attractions brochures are often available in hotel and motel foyers?
Budget How many copies are to be printed?
What are production costs including copy writing and photo shoots?
What are distribution and storage costs?
What budget is available for production, printing, distribution and storage. Is it adequate?
HINTS & TIPS
The following hints and tips are worth considering.
1 Before starting the project, collect a variety of brochures and examine them as if you are a customer. If you are an attractions operator, dining experience or accommodation provider chose brochures from your field.
By examining the concept, design, pictures, maps, information and copy style as customers you will soon see the good points to be noted and the bad points to be avoided.
The big question to be asked “which brochures enthuse you most as a prospective customer?”
2. Be mindful of printing costs. Talk to a printer about your plans before finalising your Brochure Brief. Printers will alert you to savings which can be achieved.
3. Paper stock is very important. Flimsy brochures do not stand up in brochure racks. Also the paper weight (if too light) can mean print showing through.
Is glossy stock better than a flat stock? This is something else to discuss with your printer. Most brochures are 80-90 gsm (grams per square metre) but some brochures use heavier stock if they are trying to create an image of being an upmarket product. However this is more expensive. This also means less copies can be stored in brochure racks when on display.
4. The front cover design of a brochure is crucial. If the customer does not lift it from a brochure rack, business opportunities are lost.
Avoid at all costs a horizontal format. These DO NOT work in brochure racks. Also they don’t easily fit the reading style of the reader. It is better to stay with the upright or ‘portrait’ format.
5. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a famous statement. It certainly applies to brochures. If good pics can be used, the customer gets the message more quickly particularly if each pic is accompanied with an explanatory note or caption.
6. If you are writing your own copy that is fine provided you ensure independent assessments are made. It is suggested you approach people with an understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Visitor Information Centre staff or other industry people are best. They will tell you whether you are “getting your message across”.
If you choose someone to write the copy for you, ensure they are well briefed. The quality of their work is usually directly relative to the quality of the briefing.
If a professional “wordsmith” is used, they may prefer to use a style which is not your first choice. Be careful this may just be better than what you have in mind. The important question is “does this style deliver the information that enthuses the customer to buy?”
Advance Tourism has specialised in regional tourism since 1988 and continues to provide a wide range of advice and assistance to regional Australia. This includes
· Tourism Development Plans
· Advice to Councils about regional tourism
· Business Plans
· Marketing Plans
· Feasibility Studies
· Facilitator, speaker or convenor of many seminars and workshops
The hints and tips contained in this paper are designed to assist regional tourism businesses. They come from many years of experience in designing brochures as part of tourism marketing plans.
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