Have you ever travelled and asked someone where to eat, what to do, what to see?
If you read my blog, you must have.
Sunday I got to meet the founder Jamie Wong (@JamieJWong) of Vayable.com, a site that just launched for travellers all around the world and that you’re probably going to love :
For travellers : a way to experience a new city – or your own – with locals that know the ins and outs and off the beaten paths. Think of the Lonely Planet standing and breathing in front of you, showing you around the way you want to see the city.
For locals : Meet people from other cities — and your own — while showing off what you know best about your city, and earn an extra buck while doing it.
The catch : they may not be in your city – – yet. Don’t worry, though, Jamie says that they’re growing quickly and are looking to grow internationally as quickly as possible while maintaining a grassroots, organic growth.
You can check out who is offering what via the videos that present their offer, and pay directly via the site, so no cash ever changes hands between the guide and the guidee.
Obviously I fell in love with the site when I first saw it, and after meeting Jamie am an absolute FAN.
I had a couple of questions for her, though, that you may have too (NB : these aren’t exact transcripts, but notes I took because I didn’t want to forget anything :D) :
What about security? How can I be sure that I’m really getting a scooter tour of the city and not being thrown into a dumpster off the left bank?
Security is absolutely an important issue, and making sure that people have great experiences. Everyone currently on the site is known by someone on the 4-member Vayable team, meaning that they know them personally, or have been recommended by a friend and met with in person or via Skype, and has been backed up via multiple checks. They’re looking into having a type of “Vayable vouched” stamp that would help users identify which are trustworthy and offer incredible experiences not to be missed.
Jamie acknowledges that this may not be scalable, but
if when the site becomes a major success with millions of members, they will most likely have to resort to other types of checks, but will always maintaing multiple checks to ensure that the people on there are awesome. It’s a main point that they’re basing their brand on and prefer to take the time handpicking “tour guides” to growing too quickly.
Vayable also has a “1 strike you’re out” policy, so anyone doing something crazy or wrong is blacklisted from the site.
Can people pay from any country to any country?
It took some time (international banking laws do not translate easily), but thanks to some creative work, Vayable offers international payment.
what if my guide doesn’t show? or i don’t?
Guides are paid after they provide what they promised, so if they don’t show, then you’re fully refunded. If you don’t show, it’s your loss (both in terms of money and probably a great experience). There is a bit more to it (like cancelling 5 days prior, and getting 50% back if you cancel 24 hours before, so I let you find that out here all by yourself 😉 )
There are certain exceptions when needed, that are only available because the team takes personal relationships so close to heart. One guide in Uganda, for example, offers jungle gorilla tours, but can only give them after obtaining a government license that costs probably 3 months’ salary for him. In his case, he is paid early to be able to offer such an incredible tour.
who does the videos on the sites?
personally, one of my favorites (and someone I want to go shopping with) :
The Gay BFF Experience: SOHO from vayable on Vimeo.
The Vayable team does! Jamie has a background in video production and journalism (and has worked on the most awesomest coolest show ever), and says
The story is the most important, and you have to showcase the characters.
i.e. it doesn’t matter if they film with an iPhone (which they mostly do) or a badass camera, what matters is that you get to see who is really going to be leading you around.
Human instinct is so powerful and seeing a video of someone really lets you get a feeling of whether you think you can trust them or not.
The music is local, too, so it’s free for them and helps promote local bands.
all of the descriptions are super long. why?
Setting expectations is super important. Vayable realizes that experiences are so intangible before they are bought and can vary greatly, and wants to reduce the uncertainty as much as possible to make it easy to click and go.
Vayable is still in Beta, BUT if you’re in Paris and free tonight, head to :
68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (GMT+0200)
Vayable is hosting a mixer to launch in Paris TONIGHT and you can RSVP for a free ticket here
Add it to your calendar so you don’t forget 😉 It looks like there’s already a good group of people going, so join in!!
ADDED BONUS : They’re hiring
Happy travels 🙂
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