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Why the Hospitality Industry Shouldn't Ditch Printed Brochures

Tourism Study 2018



Going paperless could be bad for tourism.


Planning a trip? You’ll likely start by going online to explore destinations. But once you get there, chances are you’ll reach for a printed brochure in the hotel lobby or visitor’s center according to the findings from a survey conducted by Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology (CMT) and commissioned by Visitor International, the International Association of Visitor Information Providers (


“The decline of print advertising predicted by marketers was overhyped," says CMT Director Ian Cross. "Even in this digital age, people still value tangible “in-the-moment” printed materials like brochures, maps and travel guides. They are still very relevant to tourists and visitors."


Visitor International Brochure Distribution Research, conducted by Bentley included 2,020 respondents from 17 cities in North America and Western Europe.


  • On average, 79% of visitors picked up a brochure (up from 67% in 2016)
  • After searching the web, printed brochures are the next most popular source of information for trip planners with a usage rate of 52%
  • 85% of visitors became aware of an attraction or business as a result of picking up a brochure
  • 61% of visitors planned to purchase tickets or merchandise they learned about from a brochure
  • 73% of visitors would consider altering their plans because of a brochure


Cross is quick to point out the connection between print and digital options, particularly based on survey findings that the Internet is still the most popular resource used to help plan a visit and that the mobile web and apps are often used to book activities.


“This suggests that trip planners are influenced by omni-channel marketing approaches combining print, web and mobile content, more than traditional media,” Cross says. “It also suggests that brochures drive awareness and action is taken because of integration with the mobile web and apps.”


[To view the original article on Bentley Newsroom click here.]


The takeaway, Cross adds: “Attractions should strongly consider an integrated print, app and digital (web, social and search) marketing strategy to drive awareness and customer interaction, particularly with the under 35 audience.”


To read the full Hospitality Visitor Information Survey 2018 click here.


Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology is on the cutting edge of marketing, research, technology and strategy. Students, educators and business partners have daily access to the latest trends, newest technologies and in-depth research that is shaping the future of marketing practices. Corporate clients in the United States and abroad benefit from collaborations and strategic consulting projects with the CMT, while enjoying access to world class marketing expertise, experienced CMT team members and the center's cutting-edge marketing technology. 



New CMT Research Uses Neuro-Marketing Techniques to Assess the Impact of Print and Digital Media

If "the medium is the message", then which media drives more effective marketing results? New CMT research conducted by Professor Pierre Berthon and Ian Cross in collaboration with the United States Postal Service demonstrates that information in print, such as direct mail, can lead to better brand sentiment and longer-term recall compared to digital. 

















Print vs. Digital: Informational Mediums’ Impact on Brand Sentiment and Recall, conducted at the Center for Marketing Technology, recruited 180 digital natives into six groups that were instructed to read one of three credit card statements in either a print or digital medium. The participants' eye movement patterns were recorded using eye-tracking glasses and surveys were conducted to assess brand sentiment and recall.


To access the full research paper click here.



CMT Spotlight: Bentley CMT Joins Marketing Experts in Launch of Integrated Media Research Center

Bentley CMT Joins Marketing Experts in Launch of Integrated Media Research Center to Share and Promote Marketing Knowledge

Bentley University’s Center for Marketing Technology has partnered with the U.S. Postal Service and representatives from across the marketing industry to curate research and case studies to feature on the website The Integrated Media Research Center (IMRC). Launched in November 2016 by a consortium of leading marketing agencies and professionals, the IMRC website contains a growing archive of objective research and case studies focused on marketing best practices. It is designed to encourage an ongoing discussion among marketers worldwide about the most effective use of the many valuable marketing channels, including direct mail.

“Direct mail is an important media channel and media planners need to understand its worth for engagement and persuasion to have all the secret weapons in the tool box,” says Elissa Moses, CEO of Ipsos Neuro & Behavioral Science Center and a member of the IMRC Board of Advisors.

By providing access to a wealth of research and case studies, the IMRC expects to help facilitate media selection decisions to maximize brand return on marketing spend.  Within 2 weeks of its release visitors viewed nearly 6,500 pages across the website, with an average of 5.5 pages viewed per session. Visitors stayed on the website for an average of 5 minutes.

Ian Cross, Director of Center for Marketing Technology, is proud of Bentley’s contribution to the IMRC, “This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with leading marketing experts and agencies and share Bentley’s marketing knowledge from both the academic world and the business world to help companies solve their most important marketing challenges.”

The IMRC is an initiative developed by senior executives representing organizations involved in diverse aspects of marketing, including: direct marketing, research, media planning, data analytics, advertising and the US Mail.  Collectively, these executives form the IMRC Board of Advisors and include representatives from the Advertising Research Foundation, Acxiom, Ipsos, McCann Worldgroup, MeritDirect, Mindshare, and the U.S. Postal Service.

For more information, visit the Integrated Media Research Center


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