Last week’s official debut of Yahoo’s Trip Planner helps fuel the notion that any globe-trotter with an Internet connection can become a guidebook publisher – and it provides more evidence that user-generated content is transforming the Internet travel landscape.
This is certainly a trend worth watching, but as with all the past developments on the web relating to travel, there is a segment of the market that consists of early adopters who have embraced social networking in other areas and now use it in the travel arena. My own guess is that most of them are younger and heavy web users overall.
But let’s not expect that this will mark the demise of guide books and content provided by destinations and suppliers themselves. Like the oft predicted disappearance of travel agents, this is not going to happen. It’s going to have an effect in the medium to longterm but Lonely Planet and Fodors will not go out of business overnight.