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Lonely Planet has named Luis Cabrera as its new president and CEO.
Cabrera doesn’t have a media background and his previous role was as a partner at BCG Digital Ventures, a corporate investment subsidiary of Boston Consulting Group.
Cabrera replaces Daniel Houghton, who left in May last year. Houghton joined Lonely Planet in 2013, initially as chief operating officer, after Lonely Planet’s current owner, NC2, bought it from the BBC for £51.5 million (about $80 million based on exchange rates at the time.) He has since joined digital marketing agency Pyxl as CEO.
In a statement filled with corporate jargon, Cabrera said he wanted to “elevate” the brand as an “omnichannel travel platform,” while at the same time explore “new adjacent business opportunities.”
Under Cabrera, Lonely Planet will target new partnerships, acquisitions, and diversification.
“This strategy will lead us to think bigger and reinvigorate our digital properties and programs like our influencers, and launch new ventures like festivals, tours, and even a membership program,” Cabrera said.
“We have a brand that really means something to people,” said Cabrera. “We must be brave and bold to push ourselves into new areas and connect in a meaningful way with our audience. Thinking of Lonely Planet as a platform completely changes the way brands and advertisers can partner with our brand.”
Last year Skift wrote that Lonely Planet’s parent company NC2 was said to be pursuing a sale, and installing someone with a management consultancy background suggests that change is coming. This might happen under NC2 or under new owners.
The digital content field has become more crowded in recent years with companies like Culture Trip emerging. Lonely Planet has tried to adapt but legacy brands have often struggled to reach new audiences, especially when they are particularly well known for one thing, such as guidebooks.
Founders Tony and Maureen Wheeler published their first guidebook in 1973 after embarking on a trip from from London to Australia. The BBC bought 75 percent of the company in 2007 before taking complete control in 2011.