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Is Print Marketing Dead?

by Carol Hart, Captivate Marketing
September 2007

While the age of the internet has brought powerful marketing opportunities to the fingertips of hoteliers, more seasoned guest marketing professionals have identified that a balanced approach is critical to reaching a diverse demographic spectrum. There’s no question that the internet can deliver potential guests right to your desktop, specifically with the capability of online availability and electronic reservations, however the internet does miss some opportunities that online print collateral can deliver upon. In a marketplace that can take advantage of drive by or walk-in guests without reservations, a brochure strategically placed at information centers, tourism hot spots, and rest stops can deliver unexpected room revenue and potentially even return guests that may have never been reached by the internet. After all, you can’t put a website in your back pocket or in a hand bag. You can’t have a website sitting on your coffee table inspiring conversation about your destination between dinner guests. Food for thought.

Boston-based, Captivate Marketing specializes in hospitality and destination marketing with two distinctly different creative departments for print and interactive. While the interactive and web division has grown considerably over the past 7 years, the call for more creative brochures, rack cards, self-mailer and other printed material keeps its print creative department as busy as ever. “I think that many hotel managers, group sales professionals, and marketing directors realize that there is still a market segment that is a little technology resistant,” says Carol Hart, Director of Client Services for Captivate Marketing. “We see innkeepers today making huge investments in their website, however we see them still spending considerable money for traditional print, often times having the website follow the same creative angle or look and feel as their print collateral.” explains Hart. Is it possible that industry experts don’t want to put all their eggs in one basket or are they still seeing a return on investment from their print marketing that supports both mediums? Look at the trends. Some hoteliers see a lot of results from the internet and subsequently disregard their print marketing in comparison, instead of asking the question: what’s wrong with my print piece that it’s not performing? Other hoteliers have a professional designed print collateral piece working in harmony with their online marketing campaign setting them apart from their competitor and helping to convert the potential guest into room revenue.

Technology will continue to evolve as it always does. People will continue to download Podcasts™ and music, exploring vast vacation destinations on the web or reading up on current events right at the comfort of their home computer. However, there’s a pile of magazines in the lobby of the dentists office or in the waiting area where you get your oil changed, not a pile of websites! The power of traditional print to inspire an unplanned weekend away is uncanny. The power of traditional print to be passed on from one consumer to another and to reach a broad audience is still very strong.

“Our advice to our clients is to ride the technology wave. Make the investment in internet marketing because it will provide a significant return and keep you competitive. At the same time have a professionally printed brochure or other printed collateral to send as a follow up to the online inquiry, for direct mail purposes or as part of a local or regional distribution network. A balanced approach to marketing is still essential.” adds Hart.

Carol Hart can be reached at 617-275-5512 ext. 201 or at Captivate Marketing is a member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, NEDMA and Professional Association of Innkeepers International. The address on the web is


Captivate Marketing
Carol Hart 
617-275-5512 ext. 201


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