Market for travel guides being challenged by new media and new players

POSTED ON: 24/07/12 TAGS: Social media Travel publishing guidebooks

by BMS

World travelers continue to find more reassurance in printed guidebooks than online information sources

A recent survey by Bowker Market Research in both the UK and the US has found that websites (alongside advice from family and friends) are now the most used source of information when planning a holiday, but that websites from non-guidebook publishers are rated more highly than the online resources provided by traditional travel publishers.  In the US, magazines and printed leaflets are the next most used sources of travel information, whilst holiday makers in the UK tend to use online travel forms.

“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,” said Jo Henry, director of Bowker Market Research. “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 research was conducted simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. Among the revelations: guidebook buyers’ choice of foreign destinations and their pursuit of cultural activities as a major part of their vacation plans were key reasons behind the purchase of printed guidebooks.

Use of social network sites has not crossed into travel planning in either the U.K. or the U.S.; so far, they are mainly tools for sharing pictures and experiences as well as staying in touch with friend.

The 2012 U.K. and U.S. Travel Reports explore the behaviour and attitudes of travellers in three unique categories: guidebook buyers, non-guidebook buyers and non-book buyers. The reports are now available either separately or together, providing a full and detailed analysis of travellers and their information sources, with a commentary by Travel Publishing expert Stephen Mesquita.

For more information please contact James Howitt at

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