Lonely Planet Writer

Thorn Tree: 2016 user survey

This year we celebrated 20 years of hosting travel forums on lonelyplanet.com. At the end of each year we turn to users of Thorn Tree to make sure that the platform is still useful and call for suggestions for how we can improve. We’re interested in hearing about what you’d like to be able to do, but can't currently do on Thorn Tree.

Any thoughts? Have your say here.

We use the results of the survey each year to determine the priorities for areas of work for the following year. Here are the ideas for features based on feedback from the 2015 Thorn Tree user survey.

Click image to see detail

Fixing our FAQs

In 2016, we removed the dead links from all FAQ topics. We’re working on the second phase of the project now, curating traveller tips for every country. If you’re interested in helping out, we’re looking for volunteers.

Redesigning our landing page

We gave the Thorn Tree landing page an update. Based on your feedback, there were a few things that we thought we could do to make it easier for visitors and new users to start participating on the forums. We grouped the feedback into five areas of improvement:

  • Make it easier to find a conversation that you want to join.
  • Help first-time visitors to work out where to post a new topic by using a map to navigate through to the right branch.
  • A more prominent search box to encourage guests to spend some time browsing through the thousands of questions and millions of answers already on Thorn Tree.
  • Faster access to conversations happening on the site right now.
  • A way to acknowledge and celebrate the most active members of this community.

Community country pages

Regular members of the forums tell us that it’s tiring to answer the same questions about when to go and how much money to take over and over again, so we've set up community pages for each country. These pages cover the basic information about budgets, advice on when to go, and the latest articles published to the site.

If you’re curious, have a look at the community country pages and you’ll see some images from Lonely Planet writers on the road. Have a look at Mozambique, Thailand, Poland, USA, Mexico or Japan. You get the idea.

Traveller talk

Keen followers of the Lonely Planet blog will have spotted the Traveller Talk monthly round-ups. We reinstated ‘Best of’ Thorn Tree articles as a way of shining a light on the abundance of great advice that gets shared across the boards and what a diverse and helpful community we have.

Making Thorn Tree personal

We looked for ways to make it easier for regular users of the forums to get to the content they want faster. ‘My board’ makes it possible for a signed-in user to generate a personalised view of content based on their choice of the 51 forums that make up Thorn Tree. If you’re signed in to Thorn Tree, you can now create a bespoke landing page by selecting widgets for the things that you do want to see on your dashboard.

What’s next?

Now's your chance to have your say if you have any other comments, complaints, kind words or suggestions. What can we improve? What do you like? What do you find confusing about Thorn Tree? The survey is completely anonymous and open to anyone who has used the forums at least once in the last 12 months. We’ve listened to your feedback from last year and returned to a much more basic survey format.

The 2016 Thorn Tree user survey will be collecting your comments from Monday 10 October to Friday 11 November.

Thorn Tree is nothing without all the travellers that share their wisdom so generously across our forums. We're grateful to everyone who takes the time to complete the survey each year. We're happy to hear your feedback about Thorn Tree at any time during the year by email to community@lonelyplanet.com or in our community feedback forum. We’ll use your feedback to keep improving in 2017.