Lonely Planet builds online classified ads

Lonely Planet is to launch a classified listings section on its website in a bid to personalise its services and head off the growing number of vertical search tools elsewhere on the internet.

Travellers will be able post items for sale or search a variety of categories such as flat/house share, vehicles and jobs, as well as use the site as a social networking tool during trips.

Lonely Planet said the launch phase of the service will be free to all users but eventually a premium service will be added to obtain prominent position in the listings.

A moderator will be put in place in Lonely Planet’s headquarters in Australia to ensure that, apart from those offering jobs, only travellers are using the service.

Digital products manager Pamela Philpot said: “We plan for Lonely Planet Classifieds to become a trusted online resource where like-minded travellers can connect with each other.

“From hiking boots to a Combi, travellers can buy gear off travellers who have been there and done that. They can fund their next trip by selling their stuff to fellow travellers, find a job to suit their travels, rent a room or simply hitch a ride.

Philpot stressed that the site would aim to be a “niche player”, rather than a general service “with a lot of irrelevant content”.

Lonely Planet this week added a European rail fare search and booking facility to the site, powered by International Rail. The move follows the inclusion of flight search tools powered by Kayak, GlobalTravelMarket and Bezurk.

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