Agency ditches brochures and ‘engages with clients’

Agency ditches brochures and ‘engages with clients’

A travel agency in Staffordshire claims to be reaping the rewards of ditching brochures after a major branch revamp.

RB Collection removed its brochure racks and installed new desks and furniture in its Lichfield branch in November, in the final stage of an office refurbishment.

The family-owned agency also updated its fascia after changing its name from Robert Broad Travel.

The decision to remove brochure racks was intended to turn the 32-year-old agency into a “modern consultancy”. In the last two years the agency, which specialises in luxury and tailor-made holidays, has also reduced the list of suppliers it works with.

Director Nathan Collins said: “Our clients come to see us because we are a specialist agency. We didn’t want to be a brochure distribution office. We wanted to engage with our clients more.”

Collins said the agency’s customers, who are typically aged 40‑plus, were sceptical at first, but claimed the move had spurred staff and clients to interact more.

“It’s helped staff learn about the product and engage clients more; we have had more conversations,” he said. “It’s early days but so far it’s going well. It feels more like a consultancy; it’s not changed the agency in a negative way.”

Director Oliver Broad added: “We still use the brochures as part of the sales process, but the initial contact is now much more interactive and something we wish we had implemented sooner.”

Collins said the move fits a switch in the type of holidays sold by RB Collection, which is an Aito agent.

“Ten years ago we were more of a mainstream agency,” he said.

“Now, 90% of our business goes through Aito operators. The type of holidays we sell are bespoke; we are designing itineraries.”

Fellow Aito agent member Haslemere Travel took brochures off the shelves in 2006, while Tui plans to phase them out by 2020.

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