Magic gets a makeover
- Client:Disney Destinations
- Project:Disney’s Travel Agent Guide
Travel agents relied on Disney’s selling guide for information on the Disney destinations, but it was in need of an overhaul. The trick was to improve it without losing what agents loved: detailed content presented in an engaging way. We introduced advice from the Disney sales reps to create a personal connection with the audience, plus a bold new geometric design and colour-coded palette – making the guide a must-have for every agent.
The Disney bible
By 2018, we had been producing Disney’s Travel Industry Reference Guide about once a year, for almost 20 years. UK travel agents relied on the 72pp handbook – affectionately referred to as the ‘Disney bible’ – for detailed information and selling tips on Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, and Disney Cruise Line. The guide had gone through several incarnations, but the latest design had been in circulation for several years and with shifting brand priorities, was no longer fit for purpose. It was time for a fresh approach.
Ask the audience
For our brief, first we looked to our audience, starting with qualitative research on a mixed sample group of agents. Three key findings came out: first, they wanted more of the detail – they needed specific information to answer customer questions. Second, although they liked the online version we created with each new edition, they preferred reaching for the printed copy. Third, they loved the guide and found it incredibly useful.
So the trick for us was to make it even better, without losing what agents loved about it already: that it presented a lot of highly detailed information in a fun, engaging and visual way.
The personal touch
We wanted to create a more personal connection with the audience, so decided to make the Disney sales team the ‘faces’ of the new guide. The reps met agents in person all over the UK, so featuring their bios, pictures, expert tips and advice would carry extra weight. We worked with the team to generate a bank of authentic content relevant to key product points on all three brands, and peppered bite-size snippets throughout the guide.
A bold statement
From a design perspective, we knew the cover had to give equal share of voice to all three destination brands, look iconically ‘Disney’ from first glance, and also stand out among all the other brochures surrounding agents day to day. To deliver that, we created a bold, vibrant style featuring classic Disney characters and strong geometric patterns in colour-coded palettes for each destination. A set of abstract triangles alluded to Paris’ Eiffel Tower, overlapping circles hinted at the Florida sun, and zig zags suggested ocean waves. The distinct colours gave each brand its own identity within the new look and feel, and made reader navigation easier.
We redesigned the page structure to a flexible grid system, building in highlight strips to accommodate the sales team content and key brand messages. We also introduced fold-out ‘bookmarks’ for each destination, that outlined the selling stages and pointed agents to the relevant page numbers for more detail.
Finally, the name. ‘Disney’s Travel Industry Reference Guide’ was stuffy and overlong, but we wanted to keep the purpose clear: Disney’s Travel Agent Guide it was.
The client was delighted with the finished product. Initially distributed UK-wide in December 2018, the guide was revised for the following year, and a 2020–2021 edition is currently in the works. We also created a companion workbook for training sessions, and a dedicated version of the guide for the Walt Disney Travel Company.
Agents are delighted too. Feedback has shown that they look on the guide as a ‘one-stop shop’ for knowledge on the Disney brands they sell every day – the fact that some of the content is hard to find elsewhere makes it indispensable.