Lonely Planet is publishing a new series of travel guides in April, called Make My Day (£5.99), with content also accessible via a dedicated app.
The spiral-bound city guides are divided into three sections—with options for morning, afternoon and evening activities—enabling readers to flip through pages and build customised itineraries. The series will launch with six guides (Barcelona, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo), with six more planned for the autumn.
Piers Pickard, m.d. at Lonely Planet Publishing, was inspired by the children’s books that let kids build weird and wonderful characters by mixing up heads, bodies and legs of various people and animals. He said: “It really reminded me of the way that people swipe on phones and I just thought this would be great for a travel guide, with three parts of your day.” He expanded: “We’re trying to respond to the way people consume information differently. I’m interested in the way that phones are changing the way that people interact with information.”
The Make My Day series will be an addition to Lonely Planet’s travel guide offerings, which will continue to be published with their iconic blue spine. Pickard explained: “The traditional guides are for travellers who want lots of choice and enjoy investing a lot of time planning in advance. But there are more and more people who don’t want to spend lots of time pre-planning, they expect quick, visual information instantly.”
Lonely Planet tested the books with travellers and found that the idea fits well with a certain outlook on travelling, especially city tourism. Pickard explained: “Cities are not that scary to most British travellers nowadays, and they just want something fast that will help them have a good time. With Make My Day, it’s very easy to quickly look at each activity and decide if you’re interested.”
A test group preferred to plan a day’s activities over breakfast, ruling out the possibility of a large guide that requires a lot of reading. However, the test group was averse to taking a book out for the day, and so Lonely Planet built a Make My Day app.
The app will be on sale through app stores, but customers who buy a book in the series will be able to access the corresponding in-app content for free. The app is currently in soft launch, but it will be officially launched alongside the books in April.