Could the ‘modern’ guidebook increase direct bookings?

I recently found myself in rather an unusual situation – sitting on the couch, dreaming about a holiday, with a coffee in one hand and a guidebook in the other. 

“What’s so unusual about this?” you might ask. Perhaps this isn’t the most unusual way to plan a trip, but it was certainly a new experience for me. As a 20-something, the internet has always been my go-to guidebook for all things travel. I can honestly say that I’ve never picked up the phone to book accommodation, or read about a hotel in a book and visited its website – so what changed?

Even for millennials such as myself, the internet can be a noisy place. It’s often overwhelming scrolling through hundreds, sometimes thousands, of reviews to decide whether a hotel or resort is ‘worth it’. I feel the need to verify claims of a ‘central’ location, or proximity to the beach and before I know it, my browser has 20 tabs open and I’ve lost the page where I can make a booking. A simple guidebook was a refreshing change of pace.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”15046″ align=”left”]Wondering whether I was alone in this opinion, and if there’s still a benefit to accommodation providers in being featured in guidebooks or other trusted resources, I contacted Lonely Planet. The company confirmed that while there is still a huge market for guidebooks, the majority of travellers are now turning to the internet to undertake general location research, while some supplement it with information from trusted resources such as travel guides.

A recent Skift report indicates that a huge 63 percent of consumers look to social channels before making any bookings. With this in mind, Lonely Planet has launched an app called Trip, combining their trusted resources with self-published content.

“At Lonely Planet, we are proud of our long history of offering the world’s best travel content in a variety of ways,” said Daniel Houghton, CEO of Lonely Planet.

“We understand what the modern traveller wants and have delivered an interactive digital platform that offers an effortless, mobile-first way to document, share and discover remarkable experiences. Trips is simply the next step in growing Lonely Planet as we continue to pioneer the future of travel.”

For accommodation providers, platforms such as this could allow travellers to undertake research, access trusted information, and read reviews, all whilst being steered back to make a direct booking. Unlike OTAs, it’s a resource that could assist travellers in giving feedback and making decisions, rather than making bookings.

Could being present on new platforms such as this increase exposure and direct bookings for accommodation providers? Only time will tell – but for now, don’t rule out the relevance of travel guides, whether in print, in app, or online. They might just get you direct bookings from those you least expect.


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