When we decided to spend extra nights after disembarking from our Western Mediterranean Cruise, we wanted to feel the local vibe of the city. We thought that there’s a better way to have that experience than to leverage one of the private tours in Barcelona, Spain?
One of our friends recommended Withlocals based on their experience the last time they were touring Europe. So we decided to find out and experience it ourselves.
Company: Withlocals (founded in 2013)
Headquarters: Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Countries Covered: In 2019, more than 30 in Europe, Africa and Asia
Key People: Matthijs Keij (CEO), Marjin & Willem Maas (Co-founders)
Service Offering: Private Tours with Locals
How To Enjoy A City Like A Local
There are so many ways to experience and enjoy the local vibe of a city. You can walk around, “get lost” and explore local neighbourhoods. You can also cycle around like a local. Another way would be to go to authentic local food places and try out local specialties.
If you have a family or friend living in the city, that would be best. Sans those, a great way to do that would be to utilize a local tour guide – someone who knows the place well, adores it and wants to show the city through their lens.
Withlocals provides such a service offering. Localization is their specialty, and they achieve this by providing complete customer experience from the initial touchpoint to the experience with a host who speaks their language and everything in between.
WithLocals – A Scale-Up Company
The company offers a travel marketplace connecting travellers & verified local hosts in 80+ destinations around the world through personalized private tours and activities based on travellers’ passions like food, music and sports. Such allows travellers the opportunity to experience a city just like a local.
The company was founded in 2013 by brothers Marijn and Willem Maas in Eindhoven. It began operations by targeting a market for sharing home-cooked dinners across seven countries in Southeast Asia. Over time, the company has changed its focus on personalized tours and has grown dramatically.
The company’s growth has been enabled by a series of funding it received, with the latest one being Series B funding of €8 million. According to CEO Matthijs Keij, the funding will help Withlocals “connect people and cultures, offer a broader and more localized range of experiences and build a strong community of hosts.”
Its Reach – Continents and Countries Serviced
Withlocals 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 (specifically Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, The Netherlands, Turkey)
- Asia (specifically Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam)
- Africa (focused on Morocco, South Africa)
The infusion of new capital will support the company’s objective of continuing to expand its presence in the above countries/cities and opening-up new destinations.
How It Works – A Simple Travel Marketplace
The company offers a travel marketplace connecting travellers & local hosts to experience the local vibe of a city. Locals only have to sign up as tour guides or ‘hosts.’ They get to show travellers their city through their eyes. Locals can host a tour crafted with the company, or they can create their own.
Travellers experience the city like locals and not as tourists. They can choose and pick a specific local for their private tour. They can also search for people sharing the same passion, such as food, music or architecture.
Travellers can connect with their local whenever and wherever. Just download the Withlocals app from either the App Store or Google Play, and you can instantly become part of the fastest-growing local travel community.
Before the experience takes place, travellers can exchange messages with the locals of their choice to curate you’re a customized tour if preferred. The communication also creates that feeling of having a friend awaiting you in the city.
Quality of Hosts – Safe and Trustworthy Service
One of Withlocals pillars of growth is its extensive community of local hosts who show travellers 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 travellers, Withlocals follow three essential steps:
Once a host signs up on their website, the company performs a thorough verification process from its headquarters. They verify necessary information, e.g. name, address, social profiles, phone number, ID, payment details and description of the experience.
The company creates and nurtures an active community in every destination they have a presence. Company representatives tightly maintain a connection with the hosts and pay regular visits to the city to ensure that quality standards meet guests’ expectations.
Guests have the opportunity to review experience with a host. When multiple guests leave positive reviews, you are more confident you can trust the host and the service he or she offers.
Opening-up A New Profession for Locals
Withlocals has gathered from its research that most people’s travel plans are shaped by their passions like food, music or sports. If you love your city, its food, music, art, sports or architecture and is passionate about it, Withlocals provides you with a free platform to share it with the rest of the world.
What a better way to showcase your city and provide your guest with a one-of-a-kind experience? And to top it all, you earn money doing what you love! So why not be a host of Withlocals?
During your travels, we recommend that you stay a bit longer to experience the local vibe of the city. Explore and be lost beyond the city center and the usual city highlights.
To imbibe and meaningfully engage with a city’s history, culture, food and especially with its people, our experience tells us that a good host is critical. We recommend leveraging Withlocals on your next trip.
Meanwhile, if you are a local and passionate about your city, showcase it to visitors while earning in parallel by being a Withlocals host.
We hope you enjoyed this review. If you have questions on the topic or would like to share any experience you may already have with this network, please feel free to leave your comments below.