Lonely Planet in booking engine move

Lonely Planet is to unveil a string of new online tools on its website and is considering launching what would be its first fully integrated booking engine.

It is understood Lonelyplanet.com has plans in place to open an accommodation booking engine in the near future – a move into unchartered territory for the travellers’ guidebook giant after providing until now only a referral service to external websites.

The move would allow Lonely Planet to seize on the growing independent travel market and push its high profile brand into online booking in the lucrative hotel and accommodation market.

Consumer product manager Amanda Whelan would not reveal further details but said Lonelyplant.com is expected to introduce a range of new features in the coming months as it looks to ramp up its online presence.

A recently launched Download Shop on the site includes podcasts of language and city guides.

Whelan said podcasts for new destinations or subjects will also be created in order to test their popularity with travellers.

“We can gauge the market with digital podcasts to work out what we can do with our guidebooks,” she added.

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