Wednesday, October 18, 2006

DK guides wake up to the web

It says something about the importance of the internet to travellers when high-brow guidebook publisher Dorling Kindersley finally decides to launch an online portal.

The famous DK books have been around since the early 1970s and specialise in lifestyle sectors such as its Eyewitness travel guides, plus other collections for gardening and the arts.

Early next year will see the launch of [there is a screen grab of the site], a travel portal which early indications suggest will carry pretty much the same as its rivals – such as Lonely Planet and Rough Guides: reams of content, booking facilities and reviews.

One interesting addition, similar to the recently launched Yahoo! Trip Planner, will be a facility to create customised guides for a trip, which users will be able to create on the site and then print out.

However, there is one part of the new DK site – scheduled for launch in February 2007 – that sits somewhat uneasily against the likes of Lonely Planet and Rough Guides, as well as the travel sections of the national newspaper: a member-only, paid-for area.

“For a small fee annual fee”, DK will allow users – some of which will be corporate clients – into an exclusive part of the website that will include “special discounts and features”.

It will be interesting to see how much DK will charge for this part of the site. But with a multitude of pages elsewhere – both on and offline – containing excellent travel editorial content, DK will have to come up with something very strong, or very different.

Most of the major online media brands have now abandoned paid-for or subscription content, simply because consumers are [cliché alert] just a click away from something else.

UPDATE: Hotel bookings will be handled by the excellent and particularly well suited Insurance by Columbus. Flight partner has yet to be found.

DK say fees for the member-only section of the site will be £10 per year. They are also reasonably confident that paid-for content will return once more as a model for other sites , especially in the travel sector.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Darren Cronian said...

DK travel guides are the best in the business IMO! Much better than Lonely Planet guides.

Wherever I travel I buy a DK book, especially the top 10... it lists top 10 attractions top 10 restaurants etc!

Georgina said...

Thanks for your comment Darren, we love feedback, particularly when its so positive!

You, and other readers of the Travolution Blog may be interested to know that the new website which showcases our Top 10 series is now live and in beta testing. Have a sneak preview before the press release goes out...

Georgina Atwell
Head of Online
Dorling Kindersley