Travel publishing 'at crossroads'

Travel publishing 'at crossroads'

Websites and apps by non-traditional publishers are most useful for travellers, according to an investigation by Bowker.

The information company conducted a study of 1,500 people in the US and UK to determine how the digital transition has affected the travel guide buying habits of recreational travellers.

The study found that vacationers in the UK were more likely than those from the US to use travel apps to help plan holidays—and that the tools tended to be from non-guidebook publishers.

In both countries, websites from non-guidebook publishers received a higher usefulness rating than the resources provided by traditional travel publishers. Meanwhile, a guidebook buyers’ choice of foreign destination and their pursuit of cultural activities were key reasons behind the purchase of printed guidebooks.

Jo Henry, director of Bowker Market Research, said: “Travel publishing is at a crossroads. As consumers’ use of the internet and digital books grows, travel publishers have been investing in developing e-books, apps and websites. This research identifies the information sources travellers are turning to and how satisfied they are. In particular, we explored how digital forms of information compare to physical guide books.”

The study also found that travel websites and advice from friends and family were important sources of information for all travellers but while Americans rely on free printed leaflets, British travellers opt for online travel forums for advice.

The Bowker report explores the behaviour and attitudes of travellers in three categories: guidebook buyers, non-guidebook buyers and non-book buyers.