Every now and then a company does something really cool. This is very much one of those times. With so many travellers stuck in foreign locations due to the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull, the Lonely Planet has made 13 of its city guides available on the App Store for free. The move has been made so that these unfortunate folk might be able to make the most of their “unexpected” holiday.
Tom Hall, Lonely Planet Travel Editor, commented on the Lonely Planet "Volcano Relief Sale", saying:
These iPhone apps are usually priced between €10 and €15 but have been made available for free for the next four days (until 11:59pm GMT Thursday 22/04). The 13 free Apps are: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London,Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Vienna.
Don't get me wrong, I fully understand, and appreciate, the marketing here - 4 days of free downloads could potentially generate huge later sales as users come to realise the quality and value of the Lonely Planet Apps, as well as generating public positive sentiment through the campaign. All that said, I still think this is a great initiative and something that other companies could learn from. I don't advocate profit from misfortune, but I certainly think that temporary goodwill gestures (whether they could have future positive sales impacts or not) are a very good thing.
Fair play Lonely Planet.