Lonely Planet Writer

Good old-fashioned maps and brochures still important for holidaymakers

We may still rely on our guidebooks, computers and mobile phones for making travel plans but one old-fashioned technology is proving surprisingly resilient in the tourism business.

Maps and brochures still important to travellers.
Maps and brochures still important to travellers. Image by Getty Images

A new study has revealed that simple brochures and maps – of the type so often found in hotels and tourist offices – still have a huge bearing on what we do when on holidays.The research by Bentley University in the US found that although technology has radically changed the way we travel, printed brochures were still a key influence on what we decide to do.

In fact, once tourists actually get to their destination – this type of travel information actually ended up being more relied upon than websites.The survey showed that seven of ten tourists and visitors pick up brochures when they get to their travel destination.In terms of what influenced where they would go, 69% said printed material from display stands was a major factor as compared to 68% for websites.

 couple looking at a map outside the German Historical Museum on Unter den Linden Boulevard
A couple looking at a map outside the German Historical Museum in Berlin. Photo by: Getty Images

Overall, 95% of travellers said their plans were directly influenced by information from a brochure pointing them towards a sight or business they had not known about before.More than four in five said they would visit a business or attraction that they spotted in the printed maps and other literature they read. And in all, 78% said they would consider changing pre-existing plans because of something new they had read about in a hotel or tourist office.

Ian Cross of Bentley University said: “What’s compelling about this survey is that even though there is a wide range of sources tourists are using to plan their vacations, once they’ve arrived on site, printed brochures and guides are the first place they turn.“Visitors trust the printed information, find them informative, user-friendly and easy to share with their friends and family on the trip.”

The survey, which was commissioned by the International Association of Visitor Information Providers, included responses from more than 1700 people across North America, Europe, and South Africa.