How To Make a Travel Brochure and Leaflet

Written by Mariana Magalhães
23 January 19 | read

How To Make a Travel Brochure and Leaflet

When targeting customers for your travel business, there are some things that come to mind. Brochures and leaflets are one of those things. They’re commonly assumed as the basis of travel marketing. Even with the onslaught of digital marketing, a printed travel brochure and travel leaflet are staples in the travel and tourism industry.

But what do you include in a travel brochure and leaflet?

We’ve written a handy step-by-step guide which details how to a travel brochure and guide.

If your business isn’t in the travel industry, worry not. This blog is still full of brochure and leaflet examples and is a guide for how to put together a brochure or leaflet for your business. Continue reading to learn how to create, write and put together the perfect, not yet dead, marketing asset for your business.

We’ll cover:

Brochure vs Leaflet: The Difference

Why Brochures & Leaflets Are Important in Travel Marketing

What to Include in Your Travel Brochure & Leaflet

How to Distribute Your Travel Brochure & Leaflet

Brochure vs Leaflet: The Difference

Brochure

A brochure is essentially a small book/magazine with descriptions and information about your products and places.

The information is usually more detailed and more than a paragraph long. A brochure typically highlights prices, products, events. It contains testimonials, itinerary options and suggestions as well as many calls to actions (CTAs) for the reader.

A brochure is a longer form piece of content that typically encompasses all the information about that destination, and all of the things you as a travel company provide.

Leaflet

A leaflet is a much smaller version of a brochure. It’s composed of no more than two pages and is typically folded. On a leaflet, or pamphlet as it’s also called, the descriptive content is organised in one or two brief points, and the contained copy is much more succinct than a brochure.

Typically you would use a leaflet to alert people to a single special offer, which contains a very specific call to action. Leaflets can be used to support individual marketing campaigns.

Example: leaflet yellow mockup on the left, brochure pink mock up
Travel leaflet example (left) and Travel brochure example (right)

A leaflet is useful for on-the-go travellers and is relatively cheap as they tend to be a single sheet of paper. A leaflet does not usually include pricing options however there are exceptions. Your business can include the price of your services on your brochure, as some travellers prefer to have all the information easily accessible. Throughout the blog, we give you some topics and ideas about what to include and exclude.

What you include tends to be entirely dependant on your audience, so keep that in mind when you are producing any marketing assets.

Since brochures are larger than leaflets they are more costly to print and have a higher environmental impact. This is especially important to consider as the younger generations are more socially and environmentally conscious. You could consider having the brochure available as a download, which is perfect for users that browse on their mobiles.

Even though there are differences between the contents, both brochures and leaflets are considered pivotal marketing assets for a travel business. Here’s why…

Why Brochures & Leaflets Are Important in Travel Marketing

Despite being a traditional method of communication, brochures and leaflets are a very common travel industry marketing assets. That’s because they’re still effective! And if it ain’t broken, why fix it?  

In our ever digital world, there is something very novel about flicking through an actual, physical brochure. The tactile nature almost gives you more of an emotional response to the pages…and it doesn’t matter if the wifi goes down!

Here are some reasons why both brochure and leaflet marketing assets are beneficial for your travel business:

Lead to Successful Conversions

Brochures are still one of the most popular information sources for tourists. Tourism Intelligence states brochures might even play a greater role than the Internet when it comes to influencing decisions of travellers who are already travelling.

Yes, your printed brochure could potentially influence more people than a digital version!

Professor Patrick Tierney interviewed 1,569 tourists, and his study reveals once travellers leave home, brochures become the top planning tool followed by a friend or relative. The study also revealed that few people bothered consulting the internet for information while on vacation–only 11% to be exact.

Additionally, the same study found that among the tourists who had taken a brochure from a rack, 37% changed their travel plans considering the info provided by the brochure and 47% purchased something featured in the brochure.

Professor Patrick Tierney

Based on this information, we can firmly and confidently reinforce that if you want clients or customers for your travel business you should definitely have a well thought out and put together brochure and leaflet. This means investing in having them professionally designed and printed.

With many tourists also concerned about their internet usage whilst out and about, it becomes imperative to have an offline counter part to rely on.

Added Benefit to Hotel Stays

An added benefit of leaflets is they can be of great help for hotel staff.

According to Skift, the Hospitality Visitor Information Survey stated guests frequently ask hotel staff for:

  • printed brochures (27%),
  • maps (26%) and
  • guides (22%).

The least asked for publications include in-room publications (13%) and an electronic visitor information kiosk (9%).

They’re particularly useful regarding aiding and initiating communication between staff and customers. For example, when a guest is asking a concierge for restaurant recommendations, it’s much easier for the concierge to take out a printed map from a brochure or a destination guide and mark it with directions. It’s a much more hospitable tactic to help a guest. Especially considering when there is a language barrier.

Build a Personal Connection

Travellers feel like they’re having a more authentic experience if they’re picking up brochures locally or asking the concierge and locals for recommendations.

Out of a list of 12 information sources, Hsieh and O’Leary found brochures to be the third most commonly used information source by travellers following two forms of interpersonal communication.

As you can see, brochure and leaflets are still fundamental to the travel industry and even more fundamental to visitors enjoying their stay and building an emotional connection with the destination.


Now you understand the point of having a leaflet and a brochure in your marketing arsenal, you may be asking how do you write a travel brochure? What information to include? How do you make a travel brochure? And what makes a good brochure design?

Brochures and leaflets, like all marketing collateral, should reflect your business personality; but they should also align with the experiences you’re providing. There needs to be a clear visual alignment between the services you offer, the look of your brochure and the customer you are trying to attract.

What To Include in a Travel Brochure & Leaflet

To help ensure you’ve got it right, we go through the six steps to designing a travel leaflet and brochure. There are many different types of brochures and leaflets that you can opt to create, and we help differentiate them all.

The brochure and leaflet should reflect your brand’s personality, the look and feel of your brand, and be consistent with your other branded materials. They should also convey an exciting and intriguing time for your customer. These assets are pulling people in!

Step 1: Define Sizing & Dimensions

The first step to making a brochure or leaflet is to define the size, dimensions and style.

The size and dimensions are important because they directly influence the way the design is set up.  There are many different types, styles, and shapes of leaflets and brochures which could fit your desired outcome.

Remember, the more custom your shape and print specifications the higher the costs are to produce and ship. Keep this in mind, and decide before you get crazy with a heart-shaped, etched brochure that sings to your customer and is made from silk….you get the point.

You can be as creative as you want when deciding a style and shape. The more original, the more your clients will feel drawn to it. If you need to look for inspiration, check out our Travel in Style Pinterest board. Consider also the amount of content and imagery you will have, this affect the size and length of the overall document. There’s no use writing War & Peace volume ii if you have opted for a small leaflet.

Here’s a rough guide of the options that are traditionally available within design agencies and printing companies:

Leaflet & Brochure Dimensions

These are the most common brochure formats and dimensions. We recommend the A5 size for leaflets as the A4 can look really large. A brochure tends to be around A4, but do feel free to challenge the norm…we usually do!

  • A4  (297mm x 210mm) Mainly used for brochures in portrait orientation.
  • A5 (210mm x 148mm) Mainly used for leaflets. We recommend designing on both sides if you’re going for the A5 format to make the most of the space.
  • DL (99mm x 210mm) For promotional materials, it’s very common for the measuring standard to be DL. DL measures 99mm x 210mm–one-third of A4 and it stands for ‘dimension lengthwise’.

If you’re struggling to decide which size to use, visit a stationary shop, your local printing company or even a design agency to help you find the right leaflet size in order to fit all of your information.

You can also download this handy ‘A Series Paper Size’ printable, which shows you the standard paper sizes.

Leaflet Types & Styles

  • Single Fold: A Single Fold looks like a little booklet. It has a fold down the middle hence the name Single Fold. This method is ideal for customers whose information is more than would fit on the standard single sheet. Traditionally, these are printed in landscape and designed on an A5 page.
  • Concertina Fold:This leaflet is folded in three panels; therefore the customer has 6 sides to advertise. Also referred to as Zig-Zag Fold.
  • Cross Fold: A Cross Fold is basically like the pocket tube maps or some foldable shopping bags. This style of a leaflet is small but mighty as it can fit quite a lot of information.
  • Open Gate Fold: An Open Gate Fold looks like a paper window when it’s all set up. This style is particularly nice if incorporated with a good copy.
  • Closed Gate Fold: This style of a leaflet is just as the open gatefold above except that once you open it, the leaflet is folded once more along the centre. Great if you have various sections of different information to include.
  • Roll Fold: The roll fold, just as the name suggest folds in an inner roll inside the leaflet. These leaflets feature 6 panels, or 3 per side, although 8 panels are also common.

Once you’ve settled on the size and dimension, it’s important to decide if you’re aiming to print these assets or just leave them online as e-resources. This will change the way you design your leaflet and booklet as they both have different requirements.

For instance, for print, you’ll need to leave a bleed margin for the images that you require without a border, whilst online you don’t have to pay attention to bleed margins. If you’re outsourcing a design agency or a printing company, they should walk you through this and other requirements.

We recommend contacting the printing company prior to putting together the visual aspects of the brochure or leaflet, that way you and your designer know what you need.

Step 2: Research & Theme

This second step is the fun part. In order to put a brochure and leaflet together you need to plan a concept and a theme.

A theme pertains to the concept of your marketing assets. It means defining the colours and aesthetic preferences. Like we discussed earlier, your theme should align with your company branding. Your leaflet and brochure help with brand awareness, and they should connect people with your company.

This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be original! The look of your leaflet or brochure should align with the rest of your visual identity and feel “you” but should also stand out.

Look online for inspiration and ideas. Here’s our Travel in Style Pinterest board if you’re struggling to find good sources.

Making sure your product stands out doesn’t necessarily mean printing has to be expensive. A postcard as a brochure is a brilliant marketing tactic that is engaging and cost-effective. A good example of an original brochure design is the company Top Deck with its playful and foldable brochures.

Try and think outside the box when it comes to choosing your brochure.

foldable brochure example
Topdeck Foldable Brochure

Gather all of your ideas and inspiration into one place. This could be a mood board, a list of ideas, a set of imagery you like…anything that better helps you express the mood and theme you’re going for your business.

Don’t feel disheartened if you’re struggling with coming up with a theme, Really consider your brand style and what you are trying to communicate. It helps a lot if you have created visual guidelines for your business too!

Now that you know the dimensions and the theme you’re going for, it’s now time to define what you want to communicate via the text. It’s time to work on the copy.

Step 3: The Copy. How Do You Write a Travel Brochure?

Before determining exactly what you want to say, you need to think about what actions and feeling do you want to encourage. Do you need them to get in touch? If so how? Is it clear how they can? Always have an end outcome.

Define the topics and necessary information you need to include in your leaflet or brochure.

Some things to keep in mind include the pricing and packages. Leaflets don’t always have the prices available or visible, but brochures typically do. As mentioned above, some customers tend to appreciate having the prices available rather than having to partake in consultation and/or a phone call. Do keep that in mind, and see what works for your customer base.  You don’t want to accidentally be alienating any clients.

Now, what to write about in your brochure?

Remember, like the theme of the brochure or leaflet should align with your branding, the copy should be in your tone of voice. It should sound like you.

Here are some suggestions for topics you can explore in your marketing assets:

Topics

  • Testimonials
  • Location and maps
  • Fun facts about the area
  • Suggestions for something new to try
  • Historic sites
  • Recommendation for best restaurants and coffee shops

Information about:

  • The climate and expected weather conditions
  • Means of transportation
  • The language
  • Local activities
  • Accommodations (if applicable)
  • Estimated cost per person (if applicable)

Be aware, of course, to not include something that directly competes/conflicts with your business. For example: mentioning the local government forbids fishing boats on a particular spot, the same spot your boat tour takes place is probably not the best idea.  

Pick topics you think your customers might find useful and interesting.

Once you define the categories of what to write and to include, make a list of the extra assets you need. For instance, do you need to add an image of a map to mark the best restaurant spots? Or how about a new icon to mark the history spots?

Tone of Voice

Now on to the writing.

This is often the hardest part of putting together a brochure. It’s difficult to capture the essence and spirit of a location with words. However, here are some tips on how to write for travel marketing.

  • Keep it friendly and positive. No one wants to go on vacation with a Debbie Downer or a Negative Nancy, and definitely, no one wants to go to a place that feels like that! Your destination spots need to be alluring and enticing; make sure your spirits are up when writing about travel locations or services. Happiness is contagious, make sure you’re spreading it with your leaflets and brochures. Use positive and aspirational words, help them to build a picture of the destination…for example; “Admire the sunset as the warm breeze from the west coast gently brushes your arm” is better than saying “watch the sunset”.

  • Keep it engaging. By now, you surely have a preferred target audience. Think of them when you’re writing. What sort of things does your audience persona appreciate? Make sure you inadvertently reach out them. What language do they use to describe things?

  • Keep it descriptive. A technique you can use when writing for a travel brochure is to write literally what your services are.

One way to think about it is to write about the travel process as a customer would go through it. For example, if you sell boat tour services, write about what you need to prepare for, the process of it and what your customers can get out of it. Suppose you can see dolphins from your boat tour services, you can write something like: “Enjoy the sight of delightful dolphins as we cruise on the emerald Le Mermaid boat. An enthusiastic experience to not miss.”

  • Keep it informative. When customers are travelling, they tend to enjoy learning more about cultures or things that aren’t known by them. Keep an informative tone and share short tidbits of knowledge throughout your writing, this works as a convincing, authoritative argument to your audience. Meaning you’re proving you know what you specialise in and that makes your leads feel secure, allowing them to purchase confidently.

Overall ensure you’re writing punchy copy that is able to transport your customers to that travel moment.

As a general tip: avoid industry jargon, unusual phrases, and difficult words. Before finalising it check for spelling mistakes and re-read it in a couple of days post writing to ensure you’re really happy with the finished product.

Step 4: Travel Brochure & Leaflet Layout & Plan

Sizing and dimensions? Check. Theme? Check. Copy? Check.
It’s time to gather it all together into a nice template.

Meet the flat plan: gather all of your contents into a general drafted plan.
This is what it looks like:

We know this looks crazy at first glance! By stay with us. It’s a layout of all the information you’re putting into your leaflet or brochure.

Note down what contents are going into it and arrange them as to you would like them to look, don’t worry if you arent the next Monet, scribbles with page titles in each box will do!

If you’re working with a graphic design agency, they should be able to read the flat plan and interpret what you’re asking. This should kick start the first draft of the brochure or leaflet. You can also ask your design agency to create a flat plan layout for you so you can see how the content is going to be displayed. It may be easier for them to adjust it as you change things around. Always sign off the flat plan before design starts as this will increase production costs.

This is great to do even if you don’t have all of the content, from here you know exactly what you’re missing and the other assets you need to create.

Don’t forget if the aim is to get printed you need to remember to group the pages in multiples of 4 – this applies to brochures and is simply because when you fold any sheet of paper in half there are 4 sides.

If the flat plan and bespoke design isn’t a good option for you, you can always grab a template and add your own imagery and copy to the existing file.

ome sources where you can download some travel brochure templates and leaflet templates are:

Step 5: The Appearance

The fun part is here! Putting it all together in a pretty design.
Keep these things in mind when you’re stylising your leaflet or brochure. This is an extension of Step 2 Research & Theme where you chose the style of your brochure!

Typography & Fonts: Does your business have a typography palette or brand guidelines? If so, ensure you’re utilising those fonts correctly. If you don’t have a typography palette, we encourage you to create one! Brand guidelines help with brand consistency, ensuring all your marketing collateral align. When you’re picking fonts, look for readable, simple fonts and ones that suit the theme you picked.

Imagery: Imagery is very personal to your brand. There are, however, a couple of do’s and don’ts for imagery in order to have an appealing marketing asset:

  • Use royalty-free imagery.  Before even thinking of the type of imagery, make sure you have permission to commercially use the image. Don’t use any image you don’t have permission to use.

Here’s a blog with a list of websites you can get free imagery from. Have a look, maybe you’ll like the imagery for your business.

With that being said, using your customer’s images might also be a good tactic as it can work as a testimonial and social proof. But again, be sure you have permission to use them. BusAbout uses customer’s imagery throughout their brochure.

Retrieved from Busabout.com

In the Asia 2018/2019 brochure, the footer of the imagery page reads: “Our cover shot was snapped at Koh Phi Phi by Nicola Davidson, who travelled with us in 2017.”

  • If you need help coordinating imagery, read through these graphic design rules you should never break.
  • Try and look for eye-catching imagery, that feels exciting.
  • Use high-quality imagery that will print well.
  • Avoid pixelated imagery.
Tip: If you’re really struggling pairing imagery together, here’s a tip: pair pictures with similar colours. For instance, pair predominantly blue pictures with blue pictures and yellow imagery with other yellow imagery. You could even use the colour wheel theory and pair pictures on the opposite side of the colour spectrum.

Finally, don’t forget to insert your logo and have your brand present throughout your assets through your brand colours and icons.

Fun fact: 1970’s brochures were very text heavy and similar to textbooks. They had information on subjects like history, administration, agriculture, etc. The pictures weren’t the predominant focus, as they had more of a decorative function.Oh how times have changed! Now, the pictures are just as important as the copy, if not more so to draw people in.

70s brochure promoting french guiana
1970s brochure advertising the location of French Guiana

Step 6: Printing Your Travel Brochure & Leaflet. The Paper & The Printer Guidelines

The Paper

The final step is all about the feel of your finished product: the paper.

Like when choosing your business cards or other print collateral, the feel of the finished product makes a huge difference.

If you’re thinking of keeping your marketing assets exclusively online, keep in mind that travellers and tourists avoid utilising the internet when abroad as mentioned in the above paragraph Why Brochures & Leaflets are Important.

Having an attractive brochure doesn’t do you any good if you don’t find a way for it to reach your potential customer.

Choosing a Type of Paper

Many businesses try and save on the cost of production by shipping not-so-smooth to the touch brochures. When selling experience or an intangible item, it is crucial to appeal to all of the senses. By choosing a feel-good paper for a brochure, you’re communicating how the provided services are going to feel.

If you work with a design agency, they should be able to guide you through the different types of paper and printing options available and advise you on the best kind for your budget and business.

If you’re doing this solo, know you can request samples and ask for help from your preferred printing company.

Some do’s and don’ts include:

  • Don’t print on regular printing paper or from your own InkJet printer.
  • Take into consideration some paper doesn’t absorb ink as well as others. Your printer will be able to tell you about this.
  • Do ask for samples.
  • Do ask for templates and cutter lines/guides before delivering the artwork (the layout that states the recommended dimensions before printing that every printing company has).

Printing Companies

Costs for printing differ per printing company so do ask for a budget from each company to ensure you’re getting the best deal for you.

Print on Demand

Print on demand means that a brochure will only get printed as and when it is requested. There will be no stockpile kept. This is good if you are a larger company, but might be more difficult and costly if you are an individual.

There are two types of Print on Demand contracts to consider;

Contract with fulfilment. “With fulfilment” means the printing company is also responsible to ship the printed brochure to the respective clients. This takes a little bit more time and money to set up, and it works better for larger companies with a lot of customers. This is particularly good for brochures rather than leaflets.

Not all printing companies offer print and demand contracts with fulfilment, though.

Do make sure you compare pricing and that it fits into your budget before deciding to enrol in one of these contacts.

Contract without fulfilment. Without fulfilment means the printing company still prints when a submission form is submitted online, however they aren’t responsible for shipping or delivery. In this instance, you can either hire a delivery company for an additional fee or pick the finished brochure up from your printer and ship it yourself.

Short Run

The most common printing service and the one you’ll most likely need is the short run. This means the printing company will print a quantity to your liking (i.e. 100, 150, 200, 210) and print them. It’s your responsibility then to collect the printed goods and ship them.

Be aware, though, certain printing companies have a minimum printing limit request, usually refered to as a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ). This information should be supplied to you once you enquire for more information.

The printing guidelines (also known as gutter lines or gutter guidelines) should also be supplied to you upfront. Each printing company has its own, unique measurements. Sending off a printing job without asking for the template or dimensions first is a very high-risk situation. To ensure you’re avoiding situations like this always double check with your printing company twice before sending the order through.

Again, if you’re partnering with an agency for this, they should be able to guide you through the process and even send it off to print for you. However, even agencies sometimes make mistakes so always, always, always ask for dimensions.

Before Sending to Print

Your checklist before you send off the final design:

  • Get a few different quotes, at least three different printers.
  • Once decided which company to go for, ask for a template (cutter guide).
  • Check spelling, grammar, sources, etc. Once it’s printed, there’s no going back.
  • Print proof: The printing company should be able to send you a first print proof (by email) for you to double check for any mistakes. Do take your time when looking through this original print proof as any mistakes missed here will not be the printers fault.

Tip: Brochures can be quite expensive to design, print and ship. If you need to cut down on costs, you can always sell advertising space for activities and other travel companies in your brochure.

How To Distribute Your Travel Brochure & Leaflet

Now you have the finalised brochure and leaflet in hand; let’s get them out for the world to see.

One of the benefits of leaflet and brochures is how easy they are to distribute. You can place leaflets and brochures in a wide variety of locations. Some of their distributions locations and methods are:

  • Contact local hotels and Airbnbs or PR representatives of a hotel and ask them to display your leaflet.
  • Research local trade events and distribute your leaflet to attendees.
  • Pair a leaflet with a brochure.
  • Insert your brochure as part of a promotional giveaway.
  • Insert your brochure in a media or PR kit with information about your business.
  • Send via post to leads and lapsed leads.
  • Send a digital version to your email subscriber list.
  • Allow customers to request a brochure or a leaflet online or via the phone.

When requesting a travel brochure, the lead is already at the consideration phase; meaning the user is already aware of the services your business offers, they’re interested in the services your business offers and are requesting more information.

Note: If you aren’t familiar with “the consideration phase”, it is an important stage in the marketing funnel as previously mentioned in our blog: Seasonal Marketing Campaigns: 5 Steps for Success

Even though you’ve printed the brochure and leaflet, don’t forget to incorporate them into your digital efforts as well. Place the brochure visibly on your website for download. Whether that’s through a CTA button of “request a brochure” or through an emailable option,  you want to have multiple ways for your potential customers to have access to your marketing collateral.

You’re now a proud owner of a travel leaflet and a travel brochure. You’re ready to entice travellers with images of far off places and enthral them with the potential adventures that await them.

woman paddle boarding blue water

Tips and Tricks for the Best Travel Brochure & Leaflet

And you’re done. You completed all the steps. Here are some final tips and tricks to remind yourself:

  • Keep it simple. Don’t reinvent the wheel while designing a brochure.
  • Let the imagery speak for itself.
  • Organise imagery by colour or theme so the assets look coherent.
  • Follow your brand guidelines.
  • Research a quote for your printing service.
  • Request a template from your printing company even if you think your project is pretty straightforward to understand.
  • Show the final design to a friend or colleague to see how they feel about it.

Travel leaflets and brochures are a cornerstone of your marketing assets, and we can’t wait to hear how you utilise them for your business.

If you want to know other ways to get ahead in the travel industry, check out How To: Travel Marketing for Agencies & Travel Businesses. This blog breaks down the four key moments that lead to conversion in travel marketing, how to successfully target in travel marketing, the importance of personalisation, and different marketing tactics to be competitive in the travel industry and produce meaningful content.

It’ll be your secret weapon.

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