Customers / Lonely Planet
  • Size
  • 600+

  • Industry
  • Travel

  • Location
  • Melbourne, Australia

  • Customer Since
  • 12/2012

Benefits With PagerDuty

  • Decrease response times by 200%
  • Accurate alerting to improve engineering productivity
  • Visibility across all monitoring tools

Lonely Planet: Helping Travelers Plan a Trip of a Lifetime with PagerDuty

Lonely Planet is the world’s largest publisher of travel guides and is exponentially increasing their online presence. Millions of travelers go to every month to dream, plan and book their next adventures and to connect with other travelers to find hidden gems across the globe.

With Scale Comes Business Challenges

Lonely Planet’s web properties generate revenue via ad and e-commerce sales. With over 8000 Destinations pages covering cities and countries and 200,000 top attractions, Lonely Planet’s websites need to be up 24/7 for their global customers. Being up all the time is a challenge for any digital business, but another operational challenge is the competitiveness of the travel segment as a whole. To provide a seamless experience for those planning a dream vacation to booking their trip of a lifetime, Lonely Planet strives to stay ahead of the competition by continually introducing new features to its web properties.

“Our goal is to build and release things fast. We traded off a long, expensive QA process to rely on automated monitoring and alerting.”

Lonely Planet’s rapid pace of feature releases keeps things interesting. By not having a formal QA process coupled with quick releases, the engineering team accepts that there is going to be the occasional incident, but that issue will be caught and fixed immediately to reduce customer impact. For this reason, having robust, fine-grained application and web performance monitoring and alerting is critical.

Lonely Planet relied on Nagios and Amazon CloudWatch for monitoring and had an alerting solution in place that just wasn’t made for incident management. The UI was extremely difficult and scheduling on-call shifts was a nightmare. On top of that, the alerting was unreliable and noisy.

“We weren’t getting the alerts we needed to reach our uptime goals. We needed something better.”

Instead of having brute force alerting which would cause alert fatigue and on-call burnout, they needed alerting that they could trust. Additionally, with the creation of a new ops team in the UK, Lonely Planet needed an easier way to manage on-call rotations for their engineering teams across the globe.

Decreasing Downtime to Enhance Productivity and Revenue

If Lonely Planet’s websites aren’t working, they lose revenue and customer loyalty – simple as that. But downtime also has a hidden cost; the time it takes for a developer to produce a fix. In the Lonely Planet DevOps culture, where all devs are responsible for the code they create, time spent triaging and repairing problems is time that can’t be used to build new products.

PagerDuty’s customizable alerts provide a complete solution to both of these issues. PagerDuty ensures that the right people are notified when an incident occurs, minimizing context switching, maximizing devs’ productivity and enabling quick bug fixes.

“If the wrong engineer is notified, they lose 30 minutes of productivity every time that occurs. With PagerDuty, this doesn’t happen anymore.”

Plus, setting up PagerDuty was quick and easy for the Lonely Planet’s ops and dev teams. Thanks to PagerDuty’s pre-built integrations with Nagios, CloudWatch and Datadog, configuration was all but painless – a welcome change from the custom-built notification system that Lonely Planet had had in place.

PagerDuty’s benefits have proven to be more than just qualitative. PagerDuty is generating a measurable impact on Lonely Planet’s operations. With more reliable alerting, Lonely Planet has improved its mean time to acknowledgement by 200%. What used to take minutes, if not hours, is now cut down to seconds. That means quicker incident resolutions, less operations impact and happier customers.

“PagerDuty is a cost-effective, de-facto incident management solution. It’s a no-brainer.”

“PagerDuty is a cost-effective, de-facto incident management solution. It’s a no-brainer.”

Mark Jennings, Director of Technical Operations