Include Printed Products with Travel Plans
The travel and hospitality industry uses a broad array of products to fill customer needs.
Distributors are always on the road; it's the nature of the job. But, while traveling to meet that next potential client or sitting in a hotel room practicing a presentation, don't forget the potential of the travel and hospitality industry itself.
"One of the unique things about the hospitality industry is that it uses a broad spectrum of printing—color labels and packaging, commercial sheet printing, etc. There's a lot of design opportunity," said distributor Tom Leavesley, Global DocuGraphix, Houston.
Steve Michel, color applications manager at Printgraphics, Vandalia, Ohio, noted that common documents used by travel and hospitality accounts include marketing brochures, event fliers, letterhead, membership cards, and loyalty and frequent stay programs. "In the past five years, we've seen a greater emphasis on targeted mailings from end-users," Michel noted. "This means smaller runs with frequent copy changes, often reflecting seasonal variations. Savvy distributors are taking advantage of digital imaging and running a larger base run of forms, changing only the message."
Keys to Profit
The same approach is taken with the production of plastic cards used as room access keys for guests, housekeeping and maintenance personnel in hotels. Bill Mulligan, vice president of sales and marketing at Plastag, Elk Grove Village, Ill., provides cards for national hotel chains. "We'll handle their loyalty programs and produce the base card, which is then customized with the name and account number of the member," Mulligan said. He believes that personalization provides opportunity for distributors. "It's not cost-effective for a manufacturer to print individual cards," he noted.
Judy Miller, label product manager at Printgraphics, has seen orders for membership and loyalty cards plummet from quantities of 100,000 to as few as 2,500 as such production runs became more cost-effective. A Florida beach resort, for example, uses a generic affixed vinyl card during check-in, personalizing it with the guest's name and room number for use as an in-house charge card for all on-site amenities. Casinos use process-color integrated cards with richer graphics personalized for "players," offering access to more exclusive parts of the casino, she said.