Rough Guides founders to launch domestic travel guide Coolplaces

The founders of Rough Guides and Cool Camping are collaborating to develop a new website aiming to be the “go-to” site for domestic travel in two years.

The start-up is due to be launched tomorrow (Wednesday) by Rough Guides founder Mark Ellingham and co-founder Martin Dunford together with Cool Camping creator Jonathan Knight.

The new business aims to provide an “engaging and trustworthy” website featuring attractions right across Britain, breaking the areas down into seaside resorts, small towns, major cities and London neighbourhoods.

Reviews are written by locally-based professional travel writers, with users and locals able to add further reviews and comments.

There are 35 main areas covered initially including resorts such as St Ives, Padstow and Bournemouth, and weekend escapes like Bath and Brighton, Winchester and Cambridge.

London coverage includes neighbourhoods such as Clerkenwell, Camden, Shoreditch, Hoxton and Soho.

The website will extend coverage across Britain with destinations to be added including Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, the Cotswolds and Stratford-on-Avon

Managing director Martin Dunford said: “Our aim is to be the go-to site for UK travel within two years, and to break even within the same period.

“Cool Places is all about celebrating what is great about Britain, what makes the country so unique. Our focus is on the authentic, independent and quirky, with each area explored personally by a local author who has been commissioned to write unique copy for us as well as keep the information up to date and keep abreast of local developments.

“It’s odd that there are no other websites which focus exclusively on the UK, apart from the tourist boards themselves, many of which are still a long way from introducing user interaction and content generation.

“Our business model is built around the high-quality content of the site – by blending authoritative branded content with user-generated comments and reviews, we will create a unique forum for UK travel that local businesses will believe in and want to be part of.

“This premium content will be the driver of revenues, across listings upgrades, affiliate revenues, sponsorship and advertising.”

Co-founder Jonathan Knight added: “This is a golden era for British travel.

“Away from frumpy B&Bs, overpriced attractions and bland chain hotels, a rich variety of contemporary, high-quality places have changed the great British holiday for the better.

“Family-run boutique hotels, expertly-curated shops and fresh, local restaurants are all out there – and Cool Places brings them together in one handy place.”

Co-founder Mark Ellingham said: “What we wanted to do with Cool Places was create a website that people could trust.

“Our own experienced reviewers visit, inspect and recommend the places we feature – so users don’t have to rely solely on reviews written by disgruntled travellers or even by the hotels or restaurants themselves.”

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