Volunteering specialist operator i-to-i is claiming it will be the first tour operator to charge for its holiday brochures in a bid to reduce its carbon footprint and save an estimated 20 million pages of print a year.
The company is putting all its brochures online and it is trialling an on-demand system through which customers can request specific segments of a brochure in hard-copy format. These will then be printed and dispatched by post. If the trial proves popular, i-to-i plans to charge for the service and donate the proceeds to overseas voluntary projects.
The announcement comes as agents once again find themselves grappling with thousands of surplus and soon to be out of date brochures, dumped on them by distributors keen to clean their warehouses of old stock.
But while i-to-i’s announcement may be music to the ears of environmentalists, the response from agents has been less than welcoming.
Beacon Travel Services sales consultant Paul Philpott said although his agency did not discourage customers using the internet it was no substitute for glossy brochures. “The majority of customers want something tangible and anyway a large proportion do not use the internet at all,” he said.
Pole Travel manager Jill Waite said that however poor the current brochure supply chain was, hard copies remained integral to the running of a successful high street agency. “We need brochures on the shelves too. Online doesn’t work for our customers,” she said.