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