Since it was sold to the BBC, everybody’s favorite guidebook company has had uncertainty looming in its future. The brand took a step away from its paper-and-binding roots recently by signing a deal with Expedia and Hostelworld. The trio will join forces to provide an online hotel booking service.
Lonely Planet will put all those hotel reviews it has in its vaults to good use, while Expedia and Hostelworld will provide the nuts-and-bolts.
The move is good for LP. They are actively bringing the brand to an online audience, and by doing so, are ensuring their survival in a world populated by websites featuring user-generated travel reviews and tips. With guidebook writers already scouring the globe and bringing back write-ups about hotels, guest houses and hostels, it shouldn’t drain the budget too much.
Expedia might also come out well in the deal. They are a giant among booking sites, but perhaps not much of a player when it comes to the backpacking set. By working with LP, they will gain exposure to a new group of customers.
Hostelworld and Lonely Planet are a match made in backpacker heaven. The budget accommodation booking service gets to put its name next to two of travel’s biggest, LP gets the technical side of the venture taken care of without having to break a sweat, and Expedia, like I mentioned above, gets some exposure in a new demographic.
No word on when the service will be up and running, but I’m sure quite a few people are holding their breath in anticipation.
Photo from Flickr user ChihPing