Johanna Jainchill
Johanna Jainchill

Insight logoWhen Avril Betts of Action Travel in Vancouver took over the agency this year, one of the first things she did was throw away a Dumpster's worth of old travel brochures.

Very recently, a brochure delivery weighing in at 100 pounds was delivered to her office, without request.

The problem, Betts said, is her clients don't want them.

"As we use fewer and fewer brochures these days, most end up in recycling," she said. "It is such a waste of the suppliers' money and an environmental nightmare."

Betts said that in her first month at Action Travel, she gave out three brochures.

"When I started, we didn't even have a website," said Betts, a 30-year industry veteran who also owns an online agency. "The way of doing business is changing. ... All suppliers are online. All itineraries are online.

"Nine times out of 10 we do a little research and print the itineraries they are interested in," she said of her clients. "They don't want a brochure anymore."

Travel suppliers have long used brochures -- glossy and high-quality, but also very expensive to produce -- to entice people to their products. But Betts' experience begs the question: In the age of the Internet, are brochures irrelevant?

"I try hard to give them away, and they still end up in the Dumpster," Betts said. "In these economic times it doesn't make sense."

Betts decided to cancel brochure delivery and has been calling and emailing suppliers to tell them so.

"I don't want them delivering brochures for me to just put them in the recycle [bin]," she said.

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