Lonely Planet finds Trill in turning images into bookings

Betting on visual search and influencer content in travel, Lonely Planet has acquired Trill Travel, a AI-driven travel marketplace that analyses pictures and automatically creates links to booking sites, enabling users to book a hotel, experience or table at a restaurant with the touch of a picture.

The acquisition of Trill, according to Lonely Planet, will help in “bridging the gap between those wanderlusting and those on the road by streamlining the booking process through a powerful visual search mechanism”.

“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,” said president and CEO, Luis Cabrera.

Following Lonely Planet’s recent purchase of ArrivalGuides, Trill marks the second acquisition the company has done since Cabrera joined the company in early February 2019.

“Trill is another example of how we strive to enable a seamless user journey and interaction between influencers posting content, consumers looking for adventure and our travel partners,” he added.

To attract and incentivise influencers, Lonely Planet will also adopt Trill’s revenue share model, which automatically pays out commissions for confirmed bookings tied to each individual post.

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

Going forward, Trill’s founder & CEO, Eric Shepard will report directly to Cabrera, and is expected play a large role in Lonely Planet’s venture experiments, including integrating Trill’s technology and model into Lonely Planet’s digital properties, then focusing on finding further transformative adjacent spaces in travel.

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