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The Power of Print in Travel Marketing

Facts and Figures that Share the Importance of Printed Guides and Publications

We talk a lot about social media and digital strategies. Not only do these tools create exciting ways to reach potential customers (our visitors), but this landscape is constantly changing. New channels. New features. It’s often a struggle to keep up, which is why OTA brings you the latest through webinars and at the Ohio Conference on Travel.

Sometimes, though, we assume these new strategies are in place of other mediums, such as print. Nothing could be farther from the truth. To get the best results from your tourism marketing efforts and dollars, a thoughtful and mixed approach that selects mediums and channels based on your target audience has to be used.

A diversified media approach is still the most powerful advertising strategy. According to a Millard Brown Digital study comparing the effectiveness of media mix on brand awareness, the most effective mix is a campaign using print, television and digital. The second most effective mix is print and television, followed by print and online strategies. The use of online and television only ranks the least effective of these four approaches.  

If you’re looking at print usage data only from 2020 and 2021, then you are making decisions based on faulty data. You already know that travel behaviors changed during the early years of the pandemic, not to mention the impact of business shutdowns on staffing, marketing strategies and visitation. Fewer brochures and publications were produced, distribution channels altered and for some venues in Ohio, business screeched to a stop – for some, doors weren’t allowed to open for close to six months.

So how do you make decisions on the use of print? What do you need to make informed budgeting decisions next year?  

We’ve gathered the facts from usage of the Ohio Travel Guide, as well as marketing studies and our distribution partners, to help make sense of the importance of print in your marketing strategy. This could be useful regardless of the industry sector your represent.

Want to better understand the role of print in the market? Need justification for print development? Considering placing or upgrading an ad in the Ohio Travel Guide?

Get the Power of Print Fact Sheet

The fact sheet provides you with facts and figures on the following reasons why printed guides and brochures are vitally important if we want to get more people traveling to and through Ohio. We’ve highlighted just a few of the facts below.

Printed pieces have a proven return on investment.  

95% of 400,000 readers of the printed Ohio Travel Guide are hot leads – they are interested in visiting Ohio. This is consistent with other surveys who show those reading printed guides are more likely to visit - they're close to sealing the deal, but need a little more encouragement and inspiration.

Printed guides and brochures allow smaller destinations and locally-owned businesses to be seen.

It’s difficult to break through the digital clutter, and often potential visitors don’t know what they don’t know. They may not search for a lesser-known attraction or business. A printed piece shows them the possibilities. In fact, 88% of Ohio Travel Guide readers are hoping to find “off-the-beaten-path” activities and destinations.    

They result in longer lengths of stays (which means more dollars for local communities).

Twenty-eight percent of those reading a printed travel guide say the guide influenced how many days they stayed, with 71% of those saying they extended their stay by two days.

Printed materials are requested and used by those who have the most money and time to travel

While those who say they prefer printed guides trend older and wealthier, millennials and younger people were more likely to say reading a printed guide led to a decision to visit, per Destination Analysts. Print readers are twice as likely as TV watchers to make $250,000 per year, per MRI Simmons.

Eliminating a print strategy would alienate a large segment of Ohio travelers   

While there very well could be a time when digital media makes printed media obsolete, it is very premature to project when and if that day will come. Many made the same prediction for radio when TV aired its first national broadcast more than 70 years ago and radio continues to be embraced by audiences today. It is also hard to project the way young audiences act as they age. Print is growing in preference with millennials as they get older and their media behaviors change.

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