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Sixteen months after buying the travel guide publisher, BBC Worldwide is starting to thread Lonely Planet in to the heart of its web effort. The broadcaster added a Lonely Planet-branded area to the homepage of its overseas-facing, profit-making BBC.com site, doubling for its “Travel” section. The box links to searchable destination guides on lonelyplanet.com.
No big deal here; it just marks one of the biggest steps so far in leveraging Lonely Planet’s content following the acquisition. We expect Lonely Planet to form the basis of the travel component in BBC Worldwide’s “passion site” strategy, which leverages Top Gear for its cars passion site, for example.
It will be interesting to see whether Auntie can spread some LP love through its domestic BBC.co.uk – whilst likely to be frowned upon by rival commercial travel publishers, it would help add some easy travel content to the UK site, whose homepage currently lacks a travel section. LonelyPlanet.com is also to license its content commercially, free to non-profits and do linkback and rev-share deals.
Update: A footnote to that last point: a BBC Worldwide spokesperson got in touch to say: “There will only be links from bbc.co.uk (UK site) to lonelyplanet.com if it
is editorially relevant and will be beneficial to the user and will be at the discretion of the editor. All links from the BBC UK site will adhere to editorial guidelines which mean that Lonely Planet is treated like any other website and will not get preferential treatment.”