With larger-than-life action shots, worldwide vistas, and quick, trip-at-a-glance copy, Backroads takes readers hiking at the foot of the Pyrenees mountains, sailing along the Turquoise Coast, and snorkeling off the Galapagos Islands. Inspired by customer testimonials woven throughout the copy, one judge put it best, “It makes me want to go there.”
Getting where you want to go is just a hop, a skip, and a jump in this highly organized catalog. A breadth of tour options are grouped by region, with easy-to-find die-cut, color-coded sections. Within each section, each tour is prominently labeled by activity: walking, cooking, hiking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing, canoeing, biking….For the truly motivated, Backroads even offers multisport trips.
The first 17 pages provide a general overview, while sections on family, solo traveling, and equipment rental information answer specific questions. Readers will appreciate the handy comparison chart rating adventure routes.
Personalized, uplifting copy is arguably Backroads’ biggest asset. First-person narratives, such as, “The tranquil channels, harbors and bays lapping at the feet of charming island towns are our backdrop as we paddle, pedal and walk our way through the Pacific Northwest,” entice readers. “I thought the copy was great. It’s used as a teaser,” said a judge. Yet one judge felt the copy fell short: “It should make me do backflips to get me to spend more than $2,000 on a trip.”
The visuals garnered several rave reviews from judges who liked the presentation of maps throughout the book and described the cover as “beautiful” and the merchandising as “wonderful.” A few dissenters, though, felt the visuals were too generic. “I have no idea where the places on the cover are. It’s like institutional advertising, in contrast to direct response,” said one judge. And another panelist complained that the catalog is geared toward travel agents rather than consumers.
Aside from the spectacular scenery, special touches such as a mail-in honeymoon registry card and a trip guarantee, which one judge described as “satisfying, because there is so much to deal with on a trip,” help sell the tours, and go the distance in making Backroads a winner.