Travel TechnologyInfluencers to get paid…for influencing bookings.

Lonely Planet to buy Trill, an AI-powered platform

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Lonely Planet will adopt the revenue-sharing model that Trill uses, which pays commissions for bookings tied to individual posts.
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According to Lonely Planet, it will adopt the revenue-sharing model that Trill uses, which pays commissions for bookings tied to individual posts.

Lonely Planet is acquiring Trill Travel for an undisclosed price.

Trill enables users to book travel experiences based on content creators' Instagram posts. The content creator is given a monetary reward every time their content sparks a booking. Trill uses artificial intelligence to automatically link content to booking sites.

"We are looking at this acquisition from an asset perspective - we want to incorporate Trill's tech and capabilities into our digital products and soon reimagine our Pathfinders programme," Lonely Planet president and CEO Luis Cabrera said in a statement.

Pathfinders is Lonely Planet's network of travel bloggers, photographers, videographers and social media experts that create content and contribute to its online community.

According to Lonely Planet, it will adopt the revenue-sharing model that Trill uses, which pays commissions for bookings tied to individual posts.

"This dual-sided marketplace helps travel brands drive direct bookings through organic social content, and acts as a monetization platform for content creators," Cabrera said.

Trill founder and CEO Eric Shepard will report to Cabrera. Lonely Planet said he will have a large role with the company's venture experiments, the first being integrating Trill into Lonely Planet's digital properties.

“About 70% of Instagram content is travel related, and consumers are constantly looking to recreate these experiences. I also saw a large movement in socially driven commerce, especially in the fashion space, and thought, why can't this be done in travel? Let’s put these pieces together,’’ says Shepard. 

Shepard comes from a background of music, tech and travel companies and was recently named one of Phocuswright’s 35 under 35 for most influential people in travel technology.

"With this acquisition, Lonely Planet is bridging the gap between those wanderlusting and those on the road by streamlining the booking process through a powerful visual search mechanism," Lonely Planet said in a statement.


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