Consumer Specialty, Silver Award: Wilderness Travel, 2001

As the Silver Award winner in the consumer specialty category, Wilderness Travel is indeed a special book. The cataloger does such a good job of selling adventure travel, including a Zambia walking safari, kayaking in Fiji, and a great Alpine traverse, that customers have no qualms about plunking down $3,000 for a vacation.

Starting with its breathtaking cover — an underwater action shot of penguins swimming in Antarctica — Wilderness Travel lets the readers know what they’re in for. “The cover conveys strong images of animals, nature, and the outdoors, which is very appropriate for the target market,” said one judge.

Inside, the catalog pages are clean and clear, with photographs incorporating local wildlife and exotic scenery. For example, a trip to Egypt features a photo of tour participants riding camels past the Great Pyramids of Giza at sunset. And the use of maps for each tour is a good idea, a judge said. One caveat, though: “Some of the prices and dates are too small and difficult to find,” the judge noted. But the fact that this information appears on each trip page is a plus, countered another panelist. “It’s more effective than a back-of-the-book chart.”

Perhaps even more impressive than the design is the copy, which provides helpful day-to-day descriptions of the trips, said one judge. Another panelist was impressed with the lead-in copy, “which tells the story of the destination.” For instance, the lead-in to a description of a Mali/Dogon Expedition begins: “Even for the most seasoned traveler, Mali is a cultural and scenic bolt from the blue. It’s one of the most photogenic places in Africa, where the mighty Niger courses gloriously through savannah and desert….” Despite the exceptional editorial, however, one judge commented that “more promotional copy would have been nice.”

Wilderness Travel makes it easy for customers to select and book a vacation from its more than 100 trips. A grading system ranks each trip numerically from one to seven according to the degree of difficulty and general travel rigors (one being the easiest and most cushy; seven the most difficult and expeditionary). But one judge found fault with the order form — or rather, with its placement in the book: “The order blank is folded and bound sideways — not a great way to promote readership.”

Its emphasis on nature photos rather than traditional sightseeing shots makes Wilderness Travel stand out in the crowded field of travel catalogs, said one judge. And since this edition is the result of a recent redesign, the company’s Silver Award-winning achievement is even more notable. Judging from the information supplied by the company on the entry form, “the redesign appears to be a success from a graphic and performance point of view,” said the panelist.

Wilderness Travel
1102 Ninth St.
Berkeley, CA 94710
Company/catalog founded: 1978
Catalog directors: Bill Abbott, Barbara Banks-Altekruse
Designers: Emily Ahlvin, Krystie Bonzelet
Copywriter: Pamela Shandrick
Marketing manager: Barbara Banks-Altekruse
Printer/color separator: C & C Offset Printing Co. Ltd.
Cover paper: 250 GSM
Text paper: 115 GSM
Number of pages: 128
Trim size: 12″ × 10″

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