Just a few days ago, we covered a story about Lonely Planet’s lovely new E-book, and today the news from the travel guide company is that a good portion of its web staff has been given pink slips. The majority of Lonely Planet’s web team is moving to London, while 17 percent will be looking for new jobs.
Lonely Planet is cutting approximately 70 employees, out of the 500 or so it employs in Australia, London, California, and other places around the world. Those who are left will be shipped off to London and given new roles to trim down redundancy.
The move is likely an effort to move Lonely Planet closer to its new parent company BBC WorldWide, which purchased a 75 percent stake in the company in 2007, and then finished off the acquisition of the remaining 25 percent in February of this year. Moreover, times have been tough economically, largely due to the strength of the Australian dollar, the company’s primary currency, even though 80 percent of revenue comes from other countries.
”Lonely Planet is facing a series of financial challenges from external forces beyond our control – a sluggish global economy, the troubled retail sector, a declining print market and, significantly, the effects of the strong Australian dollar,” said CEO Matt Goldberg.
Lonely Planet hopes the cuts will help the company “return to profitability”, but nothing is certain with the current economy. The fact that it mostly cut jobs from its online division despite the admission of a “declining print market” also indicates the execs at the top may not know exactly what direction to take the company, something that has become common for many print-based organizations struggling to adjust in an increasingly digital world.
Feature image, courtesy: John Shadbolt.