Despite having to close offices and shutter its print magazine, Lonely Planet is determined to reinvent itself with the launch of a dedicated TV channel and partnership with Apple Maps. Sam Ballard reports
Since launching in 1973, Lonely Planet has become one of the world’s largest travel publishers – now it has unveiled its own streaming platform called LPTV and announced a new partnership with Apple Maps for those wanting to plan their next adventure.
LPTV features a range of travel programmes including GlobeTrekker, Treks in a Wild World and Planet Food. While Lonely Planet is allowing viewer to view a certain number of episodes for free, the vast majority form part of the company’s Premium subscription service, which can be accessed when people take out a Lonely Planet Membership.
One month membership costs £2.99 and includes unlimited guides app access, unlimited LPTV access and 25 per cent off a purchase at Lonely Planet Shop. Six month’s membership costs £15.99 and includes 50 per cent off the next purchase, while a year’s membership costs £24.99 and includes a free guidebook.
Luis Cabrera, CEO of Lonely Planet, says: “At Lonely Planet, we have always focused on the needs of the traveller. Though travel plans may be uncertain for many of us, we’re excited to bring the world into people’s homes and on to their devices via Lonely Planet TV. We know that the outlook for travel is changing every day. Lonely Planet’s mission is to be there at every step of the journey, from dreaming until it’s time to hit the road again.”
The launch is part of a wider strategy being incorporated by the company, which, along with other travel publishers, has been rocked by Covid-19.
The company has also announced a partnership with Apple Maps that will allow users to access curated Lonely Planet content, including recommendations by Lonely Planet’s seasoned experts.
The new feature was unveiled at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference and will be launched in San Francisco later this year. It will then be rolled out other large cities including New York, LA and London.
Cabrera says: “We reach hundreds of millions of travellers each year through our printed guides, online and through our own mobile products and we are thrilled to offer one more way for people to discover the world around them.”
In April the company announced that it was closing its Melbourne and London offices “almost entirely” while it was also closing down its travel magazine, Lonely Planet Traveller. This is on top of a fall in guidebook sales across the industry of 40 per cent between 2007 and 2012 as more travellers have sought advice online.
While the numbers have recovered by 27 per cent, according to a Globetrender report on the future of travel publishing, many publishers are looking at how to better diversify.
Lonely Planet has added new features to its Guides app, including the ability to scan a guidebook to access “all their cities content and Magic FX augmented reality that automatically converts prices into different currencies by simply pointing your phone’s camera at it,” according to a release.
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