Lonely Planet treads on Wanderlust's turf

In the grey gloom of the global financial climate, is it blue skies for the travel industry? The launch of a new BBC travel magazine, Lonely Planet, on 28 November would suggest so.

'The UK travel industry is pretty resilient,' says Caroline Calvert, associate director at Fleishman Hillard.

For travel PROs, the new magazine, launched just over a year after BBC Worldwide bought travel guide publisher Lonely Planet, will be a prime target. Billed as 'feature-led, with use of great photography and a mix of the aspirational and practical', Lonely Planet is aimed at 'inquisitive people'.

Edited by former Top Gear deputy editor Peter Grunert, the magazine has an initial print run of 90,000, which suggests the BBC agrees with Calvert that in tough times, holidays are the one luxury people are reluctant to give up.

Grunert says: 'Lonely Planet will cover a range of destinations to suit a range of budgets.'

But it is not just the credit crunch the new magazine will have to overcome. It is joining a similar marketplace to long-standing travel 'bible' Wanderlust, which has just published its 100th edition.

It is 15 years since founder and editor Lyn Hughes and her partner, bored during a long-haul flight, designed their ideal travel mag on the back of a sick bag. The title is still going strong with a monthly circulation of more than 36,000. Haymarket Consumer Media (sister company to Haymarket Business Media, owner of PRWeek) acquired a 25 per cent stake in the magazine this November.

Hughes is confident Wanderlust will hold its own in the face of a new rival: 'There have been attempts to compete with us that have come and gone.'

But Amanda Mills, account director at Seventy Seven PR, says: 'The new title may be able to take away some of Wanderlust's readership - Lonely Planet is a well respected brand.'

As Hughes battles it out with Grunert, travel PROs will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of another target.

Lonely Planet is expected to cater for a similar slice of the market as Wanderlust, which is a more down-to-earth travel magazine than the notoriously high-end Conde Nast Traveller. So golf resorts and luxury spas are out, and original, exclusive ideas are in.

'Wanderlust likes something a bit different, and tends to focus on issues such as sustainable travel,' says James Allen, director of travel PR agency McLuskey International.

Grunert says of Lonely Planet: 'It is important that our ideas are as original as possible.'

Hughes says when it comes to Wanderlust, a good photo can tip the balance when deciding whether to run a story, but stresses 'babes in bikinis' are not the way forward. 'We want to show it how it really is,' she advises.

QUICK FACTS

Wanderlust
Editor: Lyn Hughes
Circulation: 36,000-37,000
Contact: submissions@wanderlust.co.uk

Lonely Planet
Editor: Peter Grunert
Circulation: Initial print run of 90,000
Contact: peter.grunert@ bbc.com

A MINUTE WITH ... LYN HUGHES, EDITOR, WANDERLUST

- Who reads Wanderlust?

Our readers are intelligent and curious people, wanting to get beneath the skin of a place, and to have an authentic experience. They are well-travelled and live and breathe for their next trip.

- What's the best way to pitch to the magazine?

Ensure you have read and understood the magazine first, and study the guidelines on our website. Then send a one-paragraph proposal, including details of dates of travel and who the trip is arranged through, to submissions@wanderlust.co.uk.

- Describe an ideal Wanderlust story.

Anything that gives us, and our readers, itchy feet.

- Any PR irritations?

We get the occasional PRO contacting us who clearly has no idea of who we are and what we do. PROs need to demonstrate that they know who our readers are. If we know PR people are going to be spot on we'll listen to them.

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