Travel guidebook publisher Rough Guides has launched a trip-planning service, whereby each ‘completely unique’ itinerary is organised by one of its local experts. Rose Dykins reports

Before there were travel bloggers, there were guidebooks. Today, they’re still worth their weight in gold – particularly when data roaming, wifi connection, GCSE language skills and all else fails – and having a physical source of trust-worthy, reputable local knowledge on your person can be a lifesaver if you’re completely off the beaten track.

However, Rough Guides – which has published more than 400 travel guides in nearly 40 years – is taking its wealth of travel knowledge one step further and actually organising trips for adventurous travellers, with its new Bespoke Trip Booking Service.

In addition to its books, blogs, and podcasts offering travel advice, Rough Guides’ new trip-planning service is aimed at time-poor travellers with an adventurous streak who want to avoid “soulless, predictable” attractions, and who want to explore independently.

Harnessing the expertise of its local experts, Rough Guides’ new service takes a traveller’s preferred destination, budget and activities and curates a tailor-made trip for that individual. 

Rough Guides CEO, René Frey, says: “As our readership has evolved over the years, we’re conscious that not everyone wants to travel the same way. Many people want to hand the time-consuming planning process to an expert and use the time saved to immerse themselves in the culture of a place. 

“While many of our loyal readers would never travel without their Rough Guide, they perhaps want an itinerary that is a little less rough. And accommodation that’s not rough at all. So as part of our commitment to continue to serve adventurous travellers of all ages, we’re proud to launch our tailor-made trips.”

Rough Guides guarantees that each of its trips will have an adventurous element, will be planned by one of its destination experts, will be authentic (revealing the “true charm of a place”),  and unique, with no two trips the same, and no pre-planned packages.

The move by Rough Guides is a strategy to future-proof itself and appeal to a new generation of travellers. As reported in The Guardian, Rough Guides’ sister publisher, Insight Guides, has started to sell holidays, which now account for 18 per cent of its overall business. 

The introduction of the Rough Guides trips will increase holiday sales to 40 per cent of overall business in 2019. What’s more, it’s predicted that in five to eight years’ time, publishing will represent just 10 per cent of  the company’s overall sales.

Unlike the books, the Rough Guides bespoke trips won’t be for people travelling on a shoestring. It says: “While working directly with local experts means we cut the middleman and the associated costs, if you’re working with a budget of less than £100 per day, prefer to take public transport or stay in very low-budget accommodation, you might find our trips are not ideal.

“Similarly, all our itineraries are planned and agreed with you in advance – they’re not designed for people who like to take each day as it comes.”