How To Connect Online With – Local Travel Hosts

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts- Online Experiences

Travel has grounded to a halt due to COVID-19. But there are ways how to connect online with local hosts from your home’s comfort as though you were traveling.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit Asia, Withlocals – a peer-2-peer travel platform for personalized Tours & Activities in 80+ destinations across the globe – worked on a new proposition for its customer base – Online Experiences. Since going live two months ago, Online Experiences has been very well-received by Withlocals customers.

All About WithLocals, the Company

The company’s travel marketplace connects travelers & verified local hosts around the world. Its private tours and activities cater to travelers’ passions like food, music, and sports. It allows travelers to experience a city just like a local.

Brothers Marijn and Willem Maas founded the company in 2013 in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) and started by targeting a market for sharing home-cooked dinners across seven countries in Southeast Asia. Since then, it has refocused on personalized tours, and its popularity and growth have been exponential.  Its dramatic growth has broadened its reach. In 2019, it was active with thousands of tour options in more than 30 countries, as shown below:

  • Europe (Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey)
  • Asia (Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam)
  • Africa (Morocco, South Africa)

The company’s recent infusion of new capital will support its objective of expanding its presence in the above countries/cities and opening-up new destinations.

One of Withlocals pillars of growth is its extensive community of local hosts who show travelers their city and their passion, generating a 9.8 out of 10 average ratings in customer happiness. To ensure the quality of its hosts and provide safe and trustworthy experiences to travelers, Withlocals follow three critical steps, namely quality check, tight connection, and review system.  Please see our review of Withlocals for more information about the company.

Online Experiences

Withlocals offers a platform for enjoying an online experience with friends and family. The sessions are varied, from a tour of Berlin by car to an origami workshop from Seoul, from cooking pasta with a local from Rome to a workshop on using spices in the kitchen from Dubai.

Currently, there are about 80 experiences online, and this is expanding rapidly. Categories organize various online sessions, with the current ones shown below:

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts - Categories

Let us take the Cooking Class category as an example. When you click the Cooking Class button, it shows you the various online cooking classes available.

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts - Cooking Classes

When you select “Bake Belgian Waffles with Patrick,” it brings you to the following:

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts - Belgian Waffles

The particular page will tell all about this cooking class, i.e., how long it will take, how the session will flow, reasons to book, what preparations are required, and cancellation provisions, among others. It even provides a video clip with the host explaining the key points about the offering.

Why Book an Online Experience?

There are several compelling reasons to book, particularly at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevailing travel restrictions:

  • Connect and leverage the skills and experience of a true local from one of your favorite travel destinations
  • Video call with your host and group and have fun throughout from the comforts of your respective homes
  • Reconnect online with family and friends you cannot physically visit during this time of the lockdown
  • Get to have the authentic and quarantine-proof experience at very reasonable prices

All Withlocals’ virtual experiences are private. As such, the number of people who can join the event is up to you! You can book for as many people you want, i.e., family, friends, colleagues, neighbors… all of them!

What Do Customers Say?

You can also check out reviews from customers. Below is an example of such a review.

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts - Customer Reviews
Once you decide to take the class, you can book directly through the online booking form.

How to Book and Enjoy?

Withlocals hosts offer high-quality experiences that can be enjoyed online by guests through video calls. Booking is quite straightforward.

  • Select an Experience. Browse and choose your favorite local expert and thing to do from their top-notch collection. Withlocals has an exclusive selection of verified online experiences lined up now and are adding new offerings every day.
  • Book Online. Once you have found your preferred experience, you proceed to book it within the blink of an eye. Withlocals support different payment methods depending on the country of your payment account
  • Prepare for the Event. After you receive an email confirming your booking, your local host will forward you a message with a custom link to your online experience together and some suggestions on how you can best prepare. If you want to communicate with your host before the actual event, you can use the platform’s message online. Just hit the “contact” button underneath their profile and forward your questions or suggestions to them.
  • Enjoy Online. Get online at the specified time and enjoy the authentic experience with your host and your group

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the grounding of travel. While cities and countries are preparing to reopen their economies, resumption of trips to pre-COVID-19 levels is still a distant reality. If you want to have a local experience as though you were traveling, virtual sessions are good options.

Online Experiences offered by Withlocals has become a very popular option.  Check out Withlocals and all the interesting online experiences on offer by clicking the banner below.

How To Connect Online With - Local Travel Hosts - Withlocals banner


We hope you enjoyed this article. If you have any questions or want to share any insights on this new way of having local experiences, please feel free to leave your comments below.

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(14) Comments

  1. David

    It is a brilliant idea you are suggesting! What an interesting way to feel some traveling sensation while being at home. Many of us not able to travel now, but WithLocals suggest new opportunity to get acquainted with the culture of another country. 

    I looked up WithLocals to see what they are offering. I am surprised by how many they have to offer! From recipes, bike tours, night tours, city architecture, or ancient architecture history tours. I believe it is going to be a new opportunity for those who are willing to try to use WithLocals as an alternative to traveling! I am thinking to try it myself! 

    1. JRandZen

      Hi David,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Yes, we think this is an excellent offering from Withlocals.  Glad to know that you are thinking of trying it yourself.  Do you have a particular category or topic that interests you most?

  2. Keti

    Quite interesting!

    You might nicely surprise someone by booking an experience. Imagine you are able to visit Acropolis from your sofa and asking questions… 

    Because I like cooking, I find very useful the possibility to prepare  for the experience by contacting the host. And being live, gives a plus of excitement. 

    Soooo many experiences to choose from! The WithLocals is definitely the place everyone could find something to enjoy.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Keti,

      Thank you for your comments.  Yes, indeed this quite an interesting offering that would allow anybody to experience a certain destination (including interesting topics such as cooking, history, etc) virtually.  You will surely enjoy exploring unique cooking experience.  

      Good luck.

  3. Philebur

    Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I must say i really did enjoyed going through your article as it contains valuable information’s one can hold on to. I think this is a great way to ease the tension one passes through during this pandemic in traveling, thanks for sharing.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Philebur,

      Thank you for your comments.  Yes, this offering indeed provides a good alternative to learn about other places and interests even without having to travel to a particular locality.  Which of these resonates most with you?

  4. evans

    Hello dear,

    Awesome article you have here, have to say that I really miss traveling. The ravaging COVID-19 pandemic has really caused a lot of herbs and has made life quite unbearable I wish there could just be an antidote for the virus so that everyone could go back to his normal lifestyle. I had before now planned on a vacation to Paris.  My visa is still valuable and I can’t wait to make use of it but I’m looking towards using Withlocals to make a trip around my city.

    Thanks for the awesome review really would love to share it too.

    1. JRandZen

      Hello Evans,

      Thank you for your comments.  Glad to know that you found the information we shared of value and that you will share it as well.  If there is any additional information you need, please feel free to contact us.  We will do our best to provide whatever information we have.  Wondering which of the activities interest you?

  5. Michel

    What a great idea and in this way you can connect with people from countries that you would love to visit to find out how to get the best experiences. The waffle making course sounds like a blast.

    I would love to know if there is anyone who gives online experiences of Orlando and Disney World? I will take a visit to the site and take a look for myself as would love to see what I am working towards.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Michel,

      Thank you for your comments.  Yes, Withlocals offer a host of online experiences, and cooking classes are one of the favorites.  It appears that there is currently no host offering Disney World online experience within the Withlocals platform.  However, you can explore My Disney Experience at Disney’s website or you can also look into Insider Secrets revealed by an ex-Disney employee.

  6. Mojisola Kupolati (Debbie)

    Hi,

    Thanks a lot for enlightening us of the opportunity with the “Withlocals Company”. I consider this an innovative idea worth discovering. Reserving an online experience to have a foretaste of what is obtainable at a proposed destination is very commendable. This is an interesting opportunity I will like to experience with my family. Perhaps we may end up deciding on our next holiday thereafter.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Debbie,

      Yes, there is indeed an innovative idea to skirt the current constraints.  Which experience are you likely going to explore?  We would be glad to hear how it went.

  7. edahnewton1

    Hey nice innovative article you have there, your thoughts are indeed invaluable. It’s quite unfortunate that traveling is part of my hobby and having a pleasant experience during the journey is very very essential to me. But what can one do now, since traveling has being on hold as a result of a dreaded pandemic disease. Nevertheless discovering withlocal travels now, has revived my travelling zeal again. I will definitely do well to engage withlocal to explore my city

    1. JRandZen

      Thank you for your comments, Edah.  Glad to note that our article has revived your traveling zeal and will enable you to explore your destination city via this online experience while we are not yet able to physically travel.

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