Travel to Profit Land
Make plans to provide customers serving the travel and hospitality markets with business-boosting printed documents and promotional items.
The travel and hospitality industries were hard-hit by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but business is now back on track, according to manufacturers and distributors.
"I think 2004 will be a far better year," said Bryna Blum, president of WCBS/E.H. Bickett & Co., Palm Desert, Calif. After Sept. 11, her business—which is 100 percent devoted to travel and hospitality vertical markets—nosedived 70 percent.
Many clients were placing only small orders for stock business forms, unsure of how long they'd stay in business. By 2003, as the travel industry recovered, Blum was advising those clients to customize forms and save freight by consolidating orders. Still, order activity was sporadic—frantic when the stock market was up and nearly nil when stocks dipped, she said. "It's been an emotional and financial roller coaster," Blum remarked, "but now, business is healthy."
"My clients are all saying that they're very optimistic," Blum noted. "And, when they're optimistic, they're willing to make investments in their businesses."
Specific items needed in this vertical market include presentation folders, ticket jackets, guest checks, reservation confirmation forms or self-mailers and document folders.
As with most industries, customers in travel and hospitality have experienced changing needs, with some traditional products declining and others becoming more common.
For instance, "We still sell pegboard systems for this market, but the volume is down significantly over the last five or six years," said Nathan Jenkin, product marketing manager for Wilmer's core document solutions division.
One new product generating excitement among Wilmer's distributors who sell to the travel industry is the CardJet 410 photo ID system, Jenkin said. The PC-based system is comprised of an ink jet printer, a digital camera and badge-making software, and allows customers to create customized, four-color 30 mil. plastic cards at up to 138 cards per hour. Logos, photos, bar codes and other graphics can be imported for use on security badges for hotel, airline and resort employees, as well as ID tags for convention attendees.