Lonely Planet Writer

Thorn Tree: 2015 annual survey

At Lonely Planet we’re proud of our online community of independent travellers, and the fact that we continue to host one of the most enduring discussion boards on the internet today. Each year we take the opportunity to survey the members of our travel community, asking them questions about who they are, why they come to Thorn Tree, and – most importantly – how well they feel the forums suit their needs.

TT Homepage - Sept15

As Thorn Tree approaches its twentieth birthday, it’s more important than ever for us to continue supporting our user base and improving our technology platform. 2015 will be the third consecutive year in which we conduct our survey, and we’ve been making good use of the feedback gathered in previous years to help us shape the course of future improvements.

The 2013 user survey identified navigation, the search feature, and reinstatement of some ‘lost’ forum functionality from previous Thorn Tree systems as areas of primary focus for us in launching the new community platform. The 2014 user survey allowed us to iterate on existing features and start building new ones, with a dedicated section for users to rate future feature ideas and provide their own thoughts.

As a result of these previous user surveys, we’ve reinstated:

- private messages
- signature lines
- the General Chat branch

We’ve also added the following new features to Thorn Tree:

- the Explore panel, for easy browsing of the latest content (new, active, unanswered and trending topics)
- a revamped search feature
- an @mentions system
- an improved block/ignore feature
- post and topic bookmarks
- user profile maps
- better tagging and filtering for Travel Companions

TT Bookmarks - Compact Bookmarks were the most popular idea from our 2014 survey.
TT Profile Map - Compact Maps have been a great way to show countries visited – some members have been to more than 100!
TT Travel Companions - New Improvements to the Travel Companions section have helped more people partner up.

In fact, we’ve been launching something new roughly each month so far in 2015, so we really hope the next survey will help us measure member satisfaction with these additions, and provide us with direction on how to further improve the forums in 2016.

We’ve already been discussing ideas within the community, but if you’ve missed out on that part please don’t worry – there’s plenty of opportunity to leave your comments and ideas at the end of the survey, so feel free to go into as much or as little detail as you like.

The 2015 survey is now open, and will be available until 23:59 UTC, Friday 13 November 2015.

Ready to have your say? The following link will start the survey in a new tab:


We’re looking forward to hearing from you!