Wanderlust is big business, worth more than $1 trillion annually worldwide. Americans are no slouches, traveling more in 2012, both domestically and abroad, while globally one billion people ventured beyond their country's borders, a record annual high, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Lonely Planet is outperforming the market in print sales, while its e-book revenue has doubled year over year, and its mobile apps have been downloaded more than 11 million times.
"We deliver content wherever people are looking for it," said Brenda McLaughlin, general manager and senior v-p, Lonely Planet Americas. "A big change that's happening in travel publishing is that we always provided the information people used to make decisions, but we weren't with them when they acted on those decisions."
Now the company aids travelers in a range of way, from booking flights at LonelyPlanet.com to using an app to find a restaurant while they're on the road. Digital platforms are complementing printed guides, which are "still the number one way people like to engage with travel content," said Gosnell.
In the last year, Lonely Planet has re-launched every one of its series based on third-party consumer research and input from a standing focus group of 5,000 readers. Since travelers enjoy arranging getaways according to interest, guidebooks now feature prominently placed "if you like" sections that outline experiences based on themes such as Food, Wine, Art, Architecture, Castles, Nature and Scenic Drives. Lonely Planet readers also like itineraries, leading to the inclusion of more defined routes, ranging from a few days to a few weeks.
For the more than 50% of U.S. travelers who prefer to vacation in North America--domestically as well in Mexico and Canada--the Best Trips series has a brand new look. Revamped editions of California's Best Trips, New England's Best Trips and The Pacific Northwest's Best Trips have fully updated content. Each of the titles in the series offers ideas, itineraries, detours, maps, local insider information and trips organized by location and theme, such as Big Sur and Alice Waters' Culinary Tour.
Due to the strength of the Best Trips series, guides to France, Ireland, and Italy have been added to the line-up. Europe is the most popular overseas destination with Americans. The country they most want to visit is Italy.
Lonely Planet is also taking travel to other areas of the bookstore. The Not For Parents series is intended to encourage the next generation of explorers. Books like Extreme Planet and New York City: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know feature fun facts, quirky stories, cartoons and photographs. Coming this fall are The Real Wonders of the World and How to Be a Dinosaur Hunter, with an additional four destination titles scheduled for February 2014.
In the cooking and food section, gourmands can sample Food Lover's Guide to the World, a celebration of great culinary experiences across the globe, with an introduction by Mark Bittman, and Fork in the Road (November), a literary anthology edited by James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine. Following the success of The World's Best Street Food: Where to Find It & How to Make It, Lonely Planet is expanding the "World's Best" into a culinary-themed series.