9998 london Lonely Planets stroke of marketing genius. Entrepreneurs take note. Lonely Planet has responded to the ash induced European travel crisis by offering it’s iPhone guides as freebies for 13 European cities.

Travellers will (rightly) be left with a sense that Lonely Planet is looking after them. From Lonely Planet’s perspective, users will get to test drive the Lonely Planet apps which will hopefully drive them to purchasing more in the future.

The cities covered are Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul, London, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Vienna and the apps will be free until Thursday 22 April. Of course, as part of Apple’s model, once you download the apps, ongoing usage and upgrades remain free. Unsurprisingly, at the time of writing 14 of the top 15 free travel apps were occupied by Lonely Planet (in the UK app store).

In the announcement, Tom Hall, Lonely Planet’s Travel Editor, said ‘Travellers stuck in unfamiliar places need access to practical information as well as suggestions on what to do whilst stranded’.

The comments on the announcement are largely supportive of the move, although there is call for Android versions as well.

Nu, what are you waiting for? You’ve got 13 apps to download!

Picture 101 Lonely Planets stroke of marketing genius. Entrepreneurs take note.