About 15 years ago, I joined focus groups organised by BP Travel Marketing in which they asked consumers how important brochures were when buying holidays. Unanimously, every consumer said brochures were critical.

Today, you might have expected such an overwhelming view to have been consigned to history.

But although the latest figures from BP show the number of agencies receiving brochures has almost halved in the past 10 years, it’s clear brochures still play a crucial role in the digital age (page 4).

Despite predictions that printing and distribution costs would see brochures phased out entirely, many consumers still cannot imagine buying a holiday without them.

BP reports that demand is still strong from agents on the high street. Agents may be more discerning about the ones they want, and the quantity, but they certainly want them.

Perhaps surprisingly, BP reports it is distributing increasing numbers of brochures to homeworkers who don’t even have a shop to display them in.

Of course, the number of homeworkers is steadily growing, as our story this week about the rapid expansion of The Travel Franchise indicates (page 5). But homeworkers are also evolving and finding that brochures are still a helpful tool to promote their wares and close the sale.

As an industry we should guard against being overly nostalgic about the tried-and-tested brochure. The old-fashioned catalogue-style list of product and prices will increasingly give way to more lifestyle magazine publications.

But the value of publishing something tangible for customers to consult and draw inspiration from should not be underestimated.