Lonely Planet’s Content Marketing Through the Years - Ibrands Digital

Lonely Planet’s Content Marketing Through the Years

Lonely Planet: The Pioneer of Travel Content

Lonely Planet is a content-first business. Whether travellers are looking for destination ideas, or a detailed itinerary for an upcoming short trip, Lonely Planet is the first source of information that come to the minds of everyone. As sources of information on hotels, airlines and attractions became too much for an average traveller to look through, a Lonely Planet fills in this need in society to filter out the noise and give readers the most practical information without the advertising frills.

It’s now been almost 50 years since Lonely Planet set foot in travel content. Starting as little pocket notes for close friends interested to travel, the company transformed their knowledge into comprehensive guide books, then dominating the travel blog sphere, to now being still one of the biggest names on the internet for travel content marketing. Today, after selling more than 100 million books and having an even wider reach on digital channels, the brand continues to evolve, defining and redefining the genre over and over.

Lonely Planet’s story as a company is a great case study, as it shows how an industry can change drastically through time in real life. Not only that, it exemplifies how an organisation can adapt to the growth and changes in content marketing and still come out unphased. People’s appetites for travel content shifted rapidly through the decades, yet the company stayed on top, never failing to meet the latest demands of the content marketing industry.

Lonely Planet has been fighting hard to stay on top of content marketing trends and managed to stay relevant even today.
Source: Lonely Planet

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing approach that focuses on providing valuable and relevant content to attract specific audiences. It is a long-term strategy that creates a good brand image among readers and subsequently drives profitable customer action.

Content marketing works especially well for Lonely Planet as they publish consistent content that satisfy specific niche interests. The company not only emphasises on travel content, but also on food, wellness, and lifestyle topics. By publishing such detailed articles, their audience will come to Lonely Planet’s website to get the information they seek. At the same time, Lonely Planet will gain brand recognition and increase their reliability in the eyes of the public through its contents.

Other Brands That Nail Content Marketing

Another company that thrives off content marketing is HubSpot. HubSpot is one of the most recognized websites for marketing and communication information. They also provide free tools for social media marketing, content management, web analytics, landing pages, customer support, and search engine optimization. What makes HubSpot so successful as the go-to source of information is that they have meticulously crafted their content to address common questions in the industry. They are also great at the SEO game, almost always appearing on the first page of Google search results. As they grow their rapport with readers through their valuable content, they gain web traffic and brand recognition. Eventually, the company gains trust, enough for their audience to fork out money for their third-party services such as templates, and extensions. HubSpot also offers consulting services and an online resource academy for learning inbound marketing tactics at a fee.

In fact, many companies rely heavily on content marketing as its primary way to promote themselves and ultimately make a profit. TED is an American media organization that publishes informative material online. Their main source of profit comes from the TED Talks YouTube channel, where speakers present topics in their respective professions under the slogan Ideas Worth Spreading. The company makes money by providing free information through their massive video views received from their YouTube channel and TikTok account.

Another very good example would be Forbes. Forbes is a global media company that posts credible and informative articles that encompasses a wide range of topics including business, investing, technology, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle. A brand is more likely to pop up in search engines if it is established as a credible place to get information. Furthermore, your audience are inclined to trust you if you are considered as an industry expert.

Benefits of Lonely Planet’s Content Marketing Strategy

Lonely Planet’s amazing content brought them several benefits:

Audience Loyalty

Having great content is a crucial asset to a company. By providing trustable information, your content creates a positive experience for potential customers. Lonely Planet has successfully captured their audience’s hearts. If one thinks about travel, Lonely Planet’s resourceful articles and guidebooks immediately come to mind. Each repeated time a reader visits their website, the company’s name is etched deeper into their minds.

Increased Trust and Reliability

When a company creates value for their audience without taking money in return, people have a higher chance of trusting your recommendations. Similarly, Lonely Planet builds a relationship with their audience. According to many, every time they book a ticket to a new country, part of their routine is to head to a bookstore to buy a new Lonely Planet guide, collecting these books as they travel more and more. This continuously reinforces a positive brand impression towards Lonely Planet.

A traveller that has read and actually explored places mentioned in articles published by Lonely Planet would come to realise that the places are truly worth visiting. Most articles give out a very “human touch” to it as the information provided is very realistic and straight to the point. It’s almost as if the articles describe the actual scene that you experience when you are travelling there. If potential consumers see that a business provides value to its current audience, they will influence their friends and family’s buying decisions too.

Generate Lots of Leads

Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. When your audience views your content, they’re more likely to purchase from you in the future. A page that includes useful information can be useful in including CTAs (call-to-action). The idea is that the more pleased a visitor is with your content, the higher the chances of them clicking your CTA.  Once clicked, they will be brought to your landing page. Landing pages are the best option for increasing the conversion rates of your marketing campaigns and lowering your cost of acquiring a lead or sale. In this case, the landing page for Lonely Planet is their shop to purchase their physical and digital guidebooks.


The Lonely Planet Guides App provide a wide range of content.
Source: Lonely Planet

Increased Revenue

For Lonely Planet, they prioritise two sources of revenues. One is to maximise the percentage of visitors on their shop site and purchasing their books. Picture this, you’re on the website and see a travel story posted by Jaime Jacques on lonelyplanet.com informs about the 10 Ways to See Guatemala on A Budget: How to Explore, Eat and Sleep for Less. Someone reading this article might just be purely curious about how cheap it can be to travel halfway across the world. However, by the end of the article, they might already be planning their next trip to Guatemala. Tempted to gain more information before travelling, Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks might seem handy; especially now that it is available digitally as an eBook. This is how Lonely Planet influence their audience to become their new customers.

The other is to increase indirect revenue through their partnerships with other brands. For example, they are partners with CrowdRiff, Intrepid Travel, Acquia and KAYAK. In a study performed by their agency MMGY Global, up to 8% of those who were sent the Lonely Planet guide said that they visited Fort Myers as a direct result of the guide. Furthermore, an average of 39% of those who read their guide to the area visited within 4 months and 2% of those reading the guide while in the region extended their stay. Lonely Planet estimates that the upkeeping of the company website has led to around 40% increase in revenue generated through their online booking partners.

Secured Position in The Industry

Great content will definitely help your company to build presence and authority online. Lonely Planet is the top go-to brand for travel content. One might even say they are the king of travel guides thanks to their history from way back when they first established in 1973. Their articles are published by writers who have travelled to those places themselves. There is no other way to demonstrate their expertise in this field as they cover every aspect one could imagine to face during travelling. This further establishes a good brand reputation for the company and making them the top brand for travel content.

Brand Recognition

Content marketing is unique. Once executed, it can appear everywhere that your potential customers are looking for your product.  According to Carla Pearse, Senior Vice President, Sales & Business Development at Lonely Planet, the company has in-depth coverage on more than 29,000 destinations around the world. The trick is making that scalable in a digital age. They now commission, produce and manage their travel content with a platform-agnostic mind-set. It’s no longer with the printed guidebook forefront. That way they can provide content for all their different channels efficiently and make sure the freshest information is available as soon as possible.

Creating original content and keeping up with trendy topics can be time-consuming and difficult to manage. Here at ibrands, we can help you with content marketing tailored to your company’s needs. We are a reliable and reputable agency based in Penang. Get professional help and start seeing results now.