Read an Insight Guides book? Now buy the trip from a local expert

Insight Guides makes it easy to book travel with local experts.
Insight Guides makes it easy to book travel with local experts.

Insight Guides Launches Platform that Allows Travellers to Book Direct from Local Suppliers

Following The Bookseller’s recent report that the travel guidebook market has seen its first sales rise in seven years, Insight Guides has diversified in a direction that no other publishing company is thought to have gone before and created a state-of-the art online travel marketplace. Until now best known for its quality photo-rich guides, Insight Guides is launching a new concept that allows travellers to plan and book tailor-made trips online using the services of local experts – without incurring financial risk, thanks to an Insight Guides guarantee.

The publishing company’s research identified a widespread desire amongst travellers to book trips with local people. For them, finding the best authentic restaurants and bars and knowing how to avoid the crowds are second nature. Insight Guides’ innovation will allow UK travellers to tap into this knowledge and provide them with a safe place to book and customise trips directly through the experts on the spot.

Speedy Planning & Customising Trips Made Simple

Booking travel direct, rather than going through a travel agent or tour operator, can be extremely time-consuming. Thanks to Insight Guides’ new technology, with the trip planning process being all on one platform, there will no longer be a need to search through dozens of different websites when booking hotels, car hire, rail transfers, guiding and excursions.

Insight Guides is currently offering 20 destinations and a choice of 120 trips, either tailor-made or pre-packaged, with the number of trips rising to some 250 in over 30 destinations by the end of March. Once on the website, users simply customise a trip with the drag-and-drop feature, and create their own trip, perfectly matched to their own specific interests. Alternatively travellers can ask the local expert to tailor-make the trip for them. Then on their return they can share their adventure with other like-minded travellers.

Safe Booking Process

Hitherto few UK-based travellers would be prepared to pass, say, £2,000 several months prior to travel to a stranger in Peru, Vietnam or Myanmar, for example. But Insight Guides resolves the problem of sending money abroad by providing the consumer with their no quibble money-back guarantee. Should disaster strike and the local agent go bust, the traveller gets every penny back from Insight Guides who are in turn protected by a leading global insurance company. All of this and more, on a secure and entrusted online environment. Of course, every travel supplier is credit- and quality-checked, and anyone who does not meet the required standards is refused.

Insight Guides’ New Direction

APA, the publishers of Insight Guides, was bought by a new company from the Langenscheidt family in 2014 at a time when travel guide publishing was at a low ebb. Many suspected that the new owners would kill off their book business and invest purely in e-books and apps. The truth, however, is anything but. Instead they had a clear vision for the Insight Guides brand and have not only introduced the online sale of travel trips via local experts, but also invigorated the book publishing arm by reinvesting in and re-launching the Insight Guides book business, now in its 45th year.

Connecting travellers and local experts 

Commenting on Insight Guides’ new departure, René Frey, who has been CEO of APA Publications since the purchase of the publishing company, said, “I am a traveller at heart myself and this concept came to me when I was learning Spanish in Havana in autumn 2013. It was clear to me that readers would feel inspired to visit a destination if they had already enjoyed the guidebook, its writing and imagery. Our platform connects travellers and local travel suppliers."

“We’re excited that our new state of the art digital purchasing platform, in which we have already invested more than 10,000 hours of development, will facilitate travellers to use local suppliers, ease people through the booking process and help them to get the most out of their time away. Our long-term goal is to become a global platform for people living all over the world.”

Today there are some 400 publications from Insight Guides, with over 100 new titles and new editions planned for 2016. Among them will be a brand new series of visually striking notebooks, ideal travel journals for trips purchased online. In addition, every book will come with an e-book and an app – and these will be free. Despite this heavy investment, Insight Guides has become profitable for the first time in five loss-making years, and sales of travel guides are looking up.

SAMPLE PACKAGES (Customised versions available)

A happy sloth in Costa Rica, where Insight Guides offers plenty of trips. Photo: Shutterstock

Costa Rica – Coast to Coast – a 12-day trip created by local expert Alain

After exploring San José and the Central Valley, search for turtles in Tortuguero off the Caribbean coast (July to October), before heading across the country to Pacific Tamarindo, one of Costa Rica’s premier surf spots, stopping in Arenal and Monteverde en route. Visit coffee and sugar plantations, go on volcano treks and experience the jungle and its wildlife inhabitants at night. The Great Outdoors is what it’s all about, whether spending lazy days on the beach or on an adrenalin-packed adventure.

Price: from £1,585pp including 11 nights’ accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.

Explore the splendour of Vietnam on one of Insight Guides' many trips. Photo: Shutterstock

Quintessential Vietnam - a 9-day trip created by local expert Thu Lan

Uncover the secrets of vibrant Ho Chi Minh City and the colonial charms of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. Explore the lush rice paddies and traditional villages of the Mekong Delta and former imperial Hue. Complete the trip with an overnight cruise to the stunning limestone caves of Halong Bay.

Price: from £1,084pp including 8 nights' accommodation, selected experiences and transfers. International flights are extra.


Julia Spence or Natalie Postlethwaite

Julia Spence Public Relations

+44(0)1491 824524 or +44(0)7802 443113