A travel agent fears he could lose bookings following Hoseasons’ decision to stop supplying brochures for racking.
Nick Lee, managing director of Broadland Travel in North Walsham, Norfolk, said his customer base of affluent, retired clients ask specifically for Hoseasons’ brochures to look through before booking.
The agency has 14 customers waiting for a Hoseasons’ 2018 brochure, and on average books 40 to 50 passengers a year with the operator. It would normally order a pack of brochures every month.
Hoseasons announced last week it will deliver only file copies of its 2018 lodge holidays, holiday parks and boating holidays brochures for agents, but none for customers to take away. It is also not producing a cottages brochure for 2018.
Lee is concerned some clients will now not book at all as he cannot offer them a similar UK break.
“There is no other major cottage supplier in the UK [for the trade],” he said. “This could stop some people booking.”
Many suppliers have already switched to digital brochures or plan to phase out paper brochures.
A straw poll of agents through online forum Travel Gossip showed a mixed response, with about half calling traditional brochures outdated and unnecessary, and half saying clients, particularly older customers, want a brochure.
Lee said many Broadland Travel customers do not want to research online, while some do not have access to a home computer.
He added: “People come in all the time asking for brochures because they find them easier to look through. They are a starting point for a sale and make it easier to convert a booking.”
Hoseasons sales director Sally Henry said feedback had been “really positive”. She added: “We are more than happy to train agents on our online tools or address problems. We are not going back to printing brochures [for agents to rack].”
Ironically, Broadland Travel is within walking distance of where Hoseasons brochures were printed some years ago. “We used to walk 100 yards and pick up a brochure if we needed more,” said Lee.
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