Printed holiday brochures may cease to be produced within the next five years, according to a Tui Travel boss.
The increasing power of the web and rapid emergence of mobile internet could see the traditional brochure consigned to history, according to Nick Longman, distribution and online director at Tui.
His prediction came as latest Google data showed mobile queries growing 131% year on year – partly driven by high volumes on tablet devices – and now account for 28% of all travel queries.
Longman said there was likely to be a phased evolution away from brochures. Tui’s own figures have revealed that 60% of its internet customers currently book with a brochure in front of them.
The travel giant is poised to relaunch its websites later this year having had them redesigned to be optimised for mobile browsing.
Longman said: "Brochures are an interesting debate. My challenge in the business is to think about at what point do we need zero brochures. There is going to be a point where we need to stop producing brochures and I think it will come within the next five years."
Robin Frewer, director of travel at Google, said the search giant’s figures underlined how important it is that all travel firms pay attention to their mobile offering.
Queries via tablet devices after Christmas surged by 23% in one week alone, the Google data showed.
"It’s important businesses understand their customers and that their experience is seamless regardless of what device they are using," said Frewer.
Longman, speaking at last week’s editorial advisory board meeting for Travel Weekly sister publication Travolution, said Tui Travel had seen a significant rise in mobile bookings – albeit off a small base – and a fourfold rise in tablet bookings.
"We have seen strong growth in online sales this year," he added.
"We have seen traffic up about 15% since the turn of year and conversion roughly the same."
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