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Gordon R. Meyer
La Quinta's Shrinking Directory
Printed forms of reference information are disappearing at an alarming rate. If they're still being published at all, they're almost certainly being reduced in size and page count. The differences between the 2010 and 2011 editions of the La Quinta Hotel Directory are a fine example.
Pictured below are the two books, each attempting to cover the same information, but in completely different ways. The difference in size is striking. The publication has gone from a thick perfect bound book to a pocket-sized stapled booklet.
But the information designers at La Quinta didn't take the easy way out, such as making the task a simple (but tedious) reformatting job. Instead, they completely rethought the type of information that modern travelers really need.
The old 2010 edition was lovely, but also lavish in comparison. Not only did it feature maps for each location, it went so far as to include nearby restaurants and attractions. A nice touch to be sure, but certainly that information was time consuming to gather and often outdated.
The new 2011 edition forgoes the maps entirely, perhaps as a nod to the increasing prevalence of GPS navigation. Listings are now much shorter with only the bare minimum of facts being presented about each hotel. While this certainly gives the directory a very dry feel, it's hard to argue that the trivia that was formerly included is really necessary. Although some information has certainly been lost, such as the unique amenities a location offers. Now, one La Quinta is the same as any other, it seems.
I'm a fairly loyal La Quinta customer, primarily because they are pet friendly as a matter of policy, and I haven't missed the information that was removed. Additionally, I do enjoy how much less space the directory takes up in my car's glove box. I'd call the redesign a success. I did laugh out loud, however, at the CEO's message that appears near the front of the book. Someone forgot to change it and it still references the maps and attractions list that are no longer provided. Oops, other than that, it was a thoughtful and, I'm sure, much discussed change.
See also: The Not So Hidden Cost of Paper.