Lonely Planet Acquires Mobile Travel App TouristEye

Earlier this year, we wrote about TouristEye, a mobile app for planning trips and discovering new things to do while traveling. Today the startup is announcing that it has been acquired by travel heavyweight Lonely Planet, as that company seeks to broaden its portfolio of products.

TouristEye has been around since 2010, founded by a group of entrepreneurs in Spain to create a mobile-first app for building itineraries and collecting things to do while traveling in new cities. The app aggregated data from multiple sources to build profiles of landmarks and things to see in locations around the world.

There are a number of apps available for finding out more about things to do while traveling. The big differentiator for TouristEye, however, was that it allowed users to add items to an itinerary which could later be viewed offline, so users could have access to their trip plans and locations even when they weren’t connected to WiFi or didn’t have a data plan while abroad.

The big turning point for the company came after it was a part of the 500 Startups Accelerator, at which point the team got a better understanding of its own internal metrics, which features mattered, and which were driving engagement in the app. At the time it entered, only 7 percent of users were returning to the app on a regular basis, according to co-founder Ariel Camus. It was able to increase that dramatically by giving users advice on things they could do nearby for weekend trips or local getaways, even when they weren’t traveling.

While TouristEye was able to increase engagement and grow its user base, it still faced competition against the giants of the travel industry — competition like Lonely Planet, which has its own series of guides and mobile apps. And so, rather than compete, Camus and team decided that it made more sense to join one of the heavyweights.

For TouristEye, the acquisition will give it a lot more resources, including access to Lonely Planet content and the help of its massive distribution network in the travel and tourism industry. Lonely Planet, meanwhile, gets some mobile expertise as users shift slowly from buying expensive, heavy, and sometimes outdated travel guides to carrying apps around with them in their pockets.

In each case, the teams are hoping to leverage their communities and data to improve the mobile experience for users.

While terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, Camus said TouristEye investors walked away happy. The company had raised a modest $500,000 from 500 Startups, Plug And Play Innovation Center, and a group of European angels.

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