Switch nets Lonely Planet web-bookings initiative

Iconic travel brand Lonely Planet has brought in Switch Communications, its first agency appointment, to launch its holiday booking website Haystack.

Work on the brief starts immediately, with Switch positioning Haystack as an authoritative alternative to travel sites that rely on user-generated content.

Switch director Paul Doran said: ‘Advisory sites are saturated with user-generated content. The difference with Haystack is that the reviews are written by accredited Lonely Planet authors.'

The global travel adviser held pitches in December with four agencies.

Doran reports to Lonely Planet media and comms manager Briony Grogan.

Doran said the campaign will use case studies of travellers who have had negative experiences after following amateur advice. ‘Work will be media-based and, as the subject is particularly visual, there will be a broadcast element,' he added.

Haystack - launched in Australia earlier this year - will allow travellers to book a range of accommodation around the globe, from luxury hotels and castles to beach huts.

‘Independent travelling is no longer the domain of snotty-nosed students. We are all independent travellers, even when on business,' said Doran.

Doran - a former associate director at Porter Novelli - set up Switch in 2005 with former Joe Public Relations MD Matt Wood (PRWeek, 24 September 2006). Doran now manages the agency solo following Wood's departure (PRWeek, 12 May 2006).

Lonely Planet handles all other promotion in-house.

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