Withlocals experiences launched in Verona and Bologna

Focus on creating shared experiences which are beneficial to travelers, locals, local restaurants and small businesses alike

Eindhoven (the Netherlands), 13th November 2019 -  This week Withlocals is launching their new travel experiences in Verona and Bologna. Palermo will follow next month. The online travel platform provides travelers with alternative ways of enjoying these cities. Through the eyes of locals and away from the crowds and touristy paths. With these immersive travel experiences Withlocals wants to break down the barriers between locals and travelers. 

Creating connections between locals and travelers is Withlocals’ response to the challenges that popular tourist cities are facing. CEO Matthijs Keij: “We love traveling. The way it can open eyes, hearts and minds. But we do realise tourism can have its downsides. That’s why we focus on creating shared experiences which are beneficial to travelers, locals, local restaurants and small businesses alike.” 

Italy through the eyes of a local - This is how it works

Locals are invited to sign up as tour guides, or ‘hosts’ as Withlocals calls them. They get to show travelers their city through their eyes. Whether they are a gelato lover, a local nightlife expert or a rock & roll archeologist. Locals can choose to host a tour which is crafted together with Withlocals. Or they ideate an experience which is 100% their own creation and suits their passion, such as a home dinner with family recipes or a street art bike tour.

In turn the traveler gets to experience the city like a local and not as a tourist. On the platform, travelers can pick a specific local they like for their private tour or experience. They can even search for people who share the same passion they have, such as food, music or architecture. Before the experience takes place travelers can message the local of their choice, so it will feel like a friend awaits in the city. 

A new way of travel & a new profession

Matthijs: “We want to encourage travelers to dive deeper, stay longer and seduce them to choose tours that go beyond the city centre and some highlights. You can choose an early morning or evening tour, or one that takes you outside the centre or even the city. All our tours are private to ensure there’s enough time and space to share ideas and insights. That’s how you can meaningfully engage with a city’s history, culture, food and especially with its people. We believe a good host is the key to all of this and needs to be truly awesome! We carefully select our hosts and provide them with the necessary training before they can appear on our platform. Many of our hosts in other cities have started out as part time guides, but have now turned hosting into a new lifestyle and career.”

Ready for launch

Verona is on the platform as of today with tours such as:

- The Charms of Verona at Night

- The Flavors of Verona: Wine & Bites Tour

- Lake Garda Day Trip: Villages, Wine & Roman Ruins

Bologna is following on November 15th with tours such as:

- Half-day Wine Tour: Winery Visit & Medieval Castle

- Food Tour Bologna: the 10 Tastings

Palermo is planned to launch on the 16th of December. 

Withlocals is starting with roughly 30 of its most popular tours in Verona, Bologna and Palermo. In the following months the number and variety will grow organically based on supply and demand for these specific cities. 

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About Withlocals

Withlocals is a Dutch scale-up marketplace that connects tens of thousands of travelers each month. Our verified and well-trained local hosts offer personalized private tours and activities in more than 50 cities across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Our vision is to end mass tourism and replace it with personalized traveling at scale. We break down the barriers that separate locals and travelers. We let locals earn their fair share with their passions and the love for their cities. While at the same time creating authentic travel experiences for travelers. This is our way to improve the quality of living in cities and brighten up the world.

How it all started
The idea of the company originated when founder Willem Maas was traveling in India. After some disappointing experiences, Willem met an amazing guide who showed him the true colours and wonders of India. When he found out Willem was working in online marketing, he asked if he could set up a website which would send guests directly to him, so he and his family would be the one profiting. That’s exactly what Willem did in 2013 when he founded Withlocals.