Are new IT-savvy adventure travel entrepreneurs trying to kill employment opportunities for professional tour guides by developing platforms facilitating direct interaction between travelers and locals? As loads of free online user generated travel guides and crowd sourced travel information websites have already compelled traditional travel guide publishers to revamp their business models.
I think one main reason behind love for local is to bring down the cost of travel, because a well-established professional tour / travel agent would definitely charge more than a non-professional local service provider. Another reason is direct interaction with local community for rich cultural experience. In recent past, three new adventure travel websites based on these two factors have been set up:
The tag line of Advlo: Adventure Local reads “Adventure with Locals not Tour Guides.” The US-based Advlo focuses exclusively on adventure activities.
Advlo plays three-fold role:
- Allows travelers to search for and communicate with local hosts who meet the travelers’ adventure holiday needs.
- Allows locals to sell their expertise and help travelers in creating and enjoying active holidays.
- Allows travelers to share their experiences.
Jonathan Maser, an American traveler who did not find affordable adventure activities during his trips to Asia, America, Europe, and Africa, thought of creating an online global platform for local resources and expertise. Jonathan and his team consisting of Jeff Fine, Miguel Sancho, Shayan Dhanani, and Willy Smith are raising funds for their new business. According to the website, on May 26, 2014, Advlo had already raised about one fourth ($6,085) of the needed funds. The adventure community marketplace won the Raymond von Dran (RvD) IDEA Award and received $5,000 in 2014.
Canada based Guideally, set up in late 2013, is a travel community marketplace. The name is an interesting combination of three words: guide, ideas, and ally.
The new community, “the eBay of Travel,” also connects local guides and global travelers to create and enjoy authentic adventurous and cultural experiences. Travelers can search, book, and share the experience on the website. But free registration is required.
The company, a venture by Rutul Sharma and Dávid Kapitány, collects 10-15% of every successful booking made on the site from the local service provider.
Another US-based adventure travel startup Latitude six-six, a brainchild of Jordan Meclon and Sam Alexander, won grant worth $25,000 during the 2014 Dartmouth Ventures Entrepreneurship Contest held at Tuck. The company was also selected for the MassChallenge (MC) 2014 Accelerator Program.
The new adventure travel company is named after the approximate latitude of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Latitude is the first company to host trips to the world of Gwich’in tribe, native to Alaska. The company located in Northeast Alaska produces “positive economic opportunities” for the natives. The company, owned by a native, would share a small part of the trip revenue with the native employees. Latitude offers winter and summer trips for niche market craving for physical and cultural Alaskan adventures seasoned with local flavors.
The company did not have a website when this post was published.
I am sure more will jump on the bandwagon in future. However, would adventure travelers prefer local non-professional guides for (extreme) adventure activities to save money? I do not think so because, now-a-days, safety standards are the prerequisite for buying an active holiday.