In the past few months, the travel industry has experienced a major shake-up as well-established publishing companies have been rethinking their strategies and repositioning themselves for the current web 2.0 that is changing the travel information industry to its core.
Several studies confirm that about 80% of consumers are turning to search engines and travel websites for their travel information, foregoing traditional guidebooks which are frequently out-of-date by the time they hit bookshelves and which consequently have seen a slight decline in recent years despite growth in travel overall. In reaction to this trend, the following announcements have been made recently:
- 75% of the Lonely Planet empire has been sold to BBC Worldwide
- Rough Guides founder Mark Ellingham has resigned
- St. Martin’s Press will end its longtime partnership with Let’s Go travel guides
- Footprint Guides were bought by Globe Pequot
The VivaTravelGuides.com, website combines the elements of a wiki, with a social network of accomplished and aspiring travel writers, in addition to everyday travelers’ reviews then compiles this user generated content into printed guidebooks.
The BBC’s announcement of the purchase of Lonely Planet detailed how BBC plans to emulate the VIVA Travel Guides business model.
VIVA CEO, Jason Halberstadt elaborates, “We’ve got a big head start in engineering, using and perfecting the core technologies that are transforming the guidebook industry. We firmly believe that several years down the road most guidebooks will be produced and updated using a methodology similar to VIVA. Mobile devices will become increasingly used, but printed guidebooks won’t disappear anytime soon. They never run out of batteries, and don’t even think about swatting a cockroach with your blackberry.”