Printed materials are not extinct.
This is according to a new study commissioned by The International Association of Professional Brochure Distributors and conducted by The Center for Marketing Technology at Bentley University. The study included 1,560 hospitality professionals in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and Greece.
Of course we have thoughts on how this translates to events, but first, let’s consider a few of the key findings:
- 87% of hospitality professionals observe guests using brochures if their property has a brochure display in the lobby. If the property doesn’t have a brochure display in the lobby, 53% of hospitality professionals still observe guests using brochures.
- Printed materials outperform hotel electronic kiosks and other information by a margin of 88% to 12%.
- Rather unsurprisingly other visitor information services currently used at surveyed properties are led by personal interaction and knowledge of front desk staff. If this data is combined with the data that shows the favorability of printed media it is a reasonable assumption to speculate how face-to-face interaction combined with an easily viewable printed map or brochure is an excellent method to service guest requests for city and sights information.
- In the age of mobile phones, guests still look to the front desk for printed maps and attractions (55%) rather than kiosks (11%).
The last point struck a chord with me. I have frequent conversations that go something like this:
Colleague: “let’s eliminate printing x so we can save some money.”
Me: “but there is important information on x and people use x when we print it.”
Colleague: “we can add it to a kiosk – that’s high tech and people will love it.”
Are there printed materials that can be eliminated from events? Absolutely.
Can all printed materials be eliminated from events? Absolutely not.
Yes, we are in the digital age where so much information can be accessed electronically. But, all electronic communication at an event is impersonal and frustrating for many. Yet, all paper at an event is overkill and cost-prohibitive.
The perfect approach blends both, in a way that makes sense for the client, type of event, and the type of attendees. There are usually at least three types of communications where we advocate that printed materials must be available:
- Event agendas. This is not negotiable. Sure, we can put the agenda on a kiosk, on a portal, in an app … just as long as it’s available on paper too.
- Maps. There are times when navigating a floor plan or a map on a phone screen is just not ideal. Again, it can be available via your device or a kiosk, as long as there is a printed one available too.
- Critical event information. If there is something that every attendee absolutely, positively has to know, then it needs to be on paper and handed to them with an explanation at registration.
Kiosks and digital communications allow planners to make more information than ever available to attendees, and allow an event to live before and after the actual in-person event. But, we can’t forget the basics in the process. Please, print the agendas!
What are the items that you insist on printing for events?