TheAge.com just ran an article an article on Lonely Planet's Haystack booking engine.
When Lonely Planet launched its Haystack online booking service five days before Christmas, 390 properties were listed. Six weeks later there are more than 1000. It's a typically fast ramp-up for the publisher of backpacker guides, which is seeing demand for online services soar.
Five million people log on to the Lonely Planet website each month. Its Thorntree online forum has 300,000 registered members. It also hosts a classifieds site where travellers can sell anything from a backpack to a Kombi van, while the "Bluelist" records its clients' experiences and recommendations.
The article describes the technical side of the Web site. Take a look at Haystack and leave a comment below with your thoughts on the new hostel booking engine.
UPDATE: Join the discussion in the forum about Lonely Planet Haystack (Hotels).