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Viator Goes Virtual to Support Small Businesses and Help Travelers #Roamfromhome

100+ Virtual Experiences Cover a MIX of Free and Paid-For, Commission-Free Activities

Viator, a Tripadvisor company, announces #RoamFromHome, a new project enabling tour guides and experiences hosts to bring their activities online.

The new virtual experiences allow travelers to continue expanding their horizons from the safety of their sofas, while also supporting the small businesses hit hard by COVID-19.  Make pasta like the professionals, enjoy a self-guided wine-tasting, wander around Berlin, or visit sites made famous by Harry Potter and more.

“With #RoamFromHome, we hope to help travelers continue exploring the world while so much of it, and so many of us, remain on lockdown,” commented Ben Drew, president, Viator.  “We’ve also heard from our operators just how challenging things have been. For that reason, we’ll waive commission on these products. We want this project to support our operator community – and give those of us at home a way to keep learning and exploring.”

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The key facts:

  • Travelers can access our new virtual experiences in this dedicated section of Viator. Experiences are organized by category, including culture, sightseeing, and food & drink.

  • Experiences are a mixture of free and paid. On the paid experiences, Viator will waive commission, meaning all proceeds go to the operator.

  • Currently about 80% of the paid experiences on #RoamFromHome are run by small businesses. Homebound travelers can prepare vegetarian dishes like mattar paneer in a private cooking class with a chef broadcasting from her home kitchen in Mumbai, or learn to make pasta at home with a highly rated chef in Florence, who’s been running Italian food tours with her family for over 15 years. 

  • Experiences are currently available in English, but may expand to additional languages going forward.

  • We also trawled our video library – collected by our team who’s been traveling the world, recording amazing experiences for the past decade – and made the best ones available. Travelers can hang out on the beach with penguins, go off-roading through Sedona, take in NYC’s nighttime skyline views, and so much more.

  • At this time, we’re dedicating our social media channels to these experiences, as well as fostering connections with guides, operators and experience providers worldwide. Check out our Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn.

These are unprecedented, unthinkably difficult times for so many people, businesses and industries globally. We hope that #RoamFromHome will help families and friends connect not only with each other but with new cultures as well — all while supporting the small businesses that have helped so many of us create happy, long-lasting memories.

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Other ways Viator is helping the industry

We’re working closely with our operators to identify ways in which we can help them through these challenging times. In addition to the option to add virtual tours, we’ve done the following to support tour operators, with additional ways to support them in progress:

  • Faster payouts: We’ve initiated more frequent payouts to help operators receive payment faster and assist with cash flow.

  • Free optimization sessions: We’re providing free, 1-1 sessions with our team to help operators improve their listings so when demand returns, they’ll be positioned to take more bookings, more quickly.

  • Dedicated content and resources: We’ve created and collected content to help operators through the COVID-19 crisis. That content is centralized here and is being updated regularly.

  • More broadly, the Tripadvisor charitable foundation is committing $1M to support organizations serving the most vulnerable populations around the world in response to COVID-19.

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