Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More from Lonely Planet - maybe I should stop being so tough on them

I gave Lonely Planet a hard time when they announced a new travel classifieds section, arguing that it might be too late for them to try to join the online revolution and the content was eclectic and (frankly) a little over weight pachyderm content. I ranted a little more when they finally announced a booking engine (Haystack) because again it was a little late and as one of the comments pointed out the information was not as up to date as competitors.

The latest effort is a video sharing site - Lonely Planet TV. Follows a similar model to Travelistic (here are my comments on them) and like them enables you to search by map as well as channel, tag, views etc.

So that is review content (their old media content), classifieds, a booking engine and a UGC/Video site.

If I was consistent I would criticise them for being late, having a challenge to reach scale and other quibbles. However there reaches a point where you have to give snaps to a company that was late to a market pulling out all of the stops to catch up and dedicating the time and money to launch new products with planning and co-ordination. This is clearly that time for me and my comments on Lonely Planet. There is much work to do and there are areas of each product that need fixing but snaps to them for launching three in a row.

UPDATE - m-travel is reporting that Reality Digital Opus is the technology partner behind this product.

UPDATE - have just read the interesting post on the Compete blog analysing the (limited) traffic flows from the Lonely Planet main site to the Haystack booking engine. Makes for interesting reading

1 comment:

stuart said...

That Compete link makes for interesting reading, though their comment that "50% of the featured properties on 'Haystack' were not previously bookable online" I'm almost positive is incorrect -- at least for their Asian properties I'm yet to see one that can't be booked through another provider.