Dec 21, 2023

How to build a marketplace for tour guides

Creating an online platform for tour guides presents a promising business prospect. If you are contemplating building such a website, this guide is for you as it delves into the reasons and methods behind constructing a marketplace for tour guides.

What is a marketplace for tour guides?

Online marketplaces for tour guides are platforms where individuals or companies can connect with professional tour guides. These marketplaces provide a wide range of tour guide options, allowing users to choose guides based on their expertise, language skills, and customer reviews. Users can browse through profiles, compare prices, and book tours directly through the platform. These marketplaces often offer a secure payment system, ensuring a smooth and reliable transaction process. Additionally, they may provide additional features such as tour customization, itinerary planning, and customer support.

Why build a website for tour guides?

What are the benefits for buyers?

Buyers on the marketplace for tour guides can enjoy several benefits. Firstly, they have access to a wide range of tour guides from different locations, allowing them to choose the one that best fits their preferences and needs. Secondly, buyers can read reviews and ratings from previous customers, helping them make an informed decision about the quality of the tour guide. Lastly, the marketplace provides a convenient platform for buyers to compare prices and book tours, saving them time and effort.

What are the benefits for sellers?

Sellers, or tour guides, also reap numerous advantages from the marketplace. Firstly, they gain exposure to a larger customer base, as the marketplace attracts tourists from various locations. This increased visibility can lead to more bookings and higher earnings for the tour guides. Secondly, the marketplace provides a platform for sellers to showcase their expertise and unique offerings, helping them stand out from competitors. Lastly, the marketplace handles the administrative tasks such as booking and payment processing, allowing tour guides to focus on delivering exceptional experiences to their customers.

What are the benefits for the marketplace owner?

The marketplace owner benefits from the platform in multiple ways. Firstly, they earn a commission or fee from each transaction that occurs on the marketplace, generating revenue. Secondly, as the marketplace grows and attracts more buyers and sellers, the owner can leverage the network effect to increase the value of the platform. Lastly, the marketplace owner has the opportunity to establish partnerships with other travel-related businesses, such as hotels or transportation services, creating additional revenue streams and enhancing the overall user experience.

Successful marketplaces for tour guides

Here are a few thriving online platforms exclusively designed for tour guides. Analyzing these platforms can provide valuable insights into the market and assist you in finding your own path.

  1. Viator: Viator is a popular online marketplace that connects travelers with local tour guides and offers a wide range of tours and activities in various destinations worldwide.
  2. GetYourGuide: GetYourGuide is another well-known platform that allows travelers to book tours, activities, and experiences with local guides in numerous destinations across the globe.
  3. ToursByLocals: ToursByLocals is a marketplace that specializes in connecting travelers with private tour guides who provide personalized experiences and insider knowledge in their respective cities.
  4. Withlocals: Withlocals is a platform that offers travelers the opportunity to book unique and authentic experiences with local guides who provide customized tours and activities in their own cities.
  5. Airbnb Experiences: Airbnb Experiences is an extension of the popular accommodation platform, where travelers can discover and book various activities and tours led by local hosts in different cities worldwide.

What features does a platform for tour guides need?

The most important functionality of a marketplace for tour guides would be:

  1. Profile Creation: Tour guides should be able to create detailed profiles that highlight their experience, qualifications, languages spoken, and areas of expertise. This allows travelers to make informed decisions when choosing a guide.

  2. Booking and Scheduling: The marketplace should provide a seamless booking and scheduling system, allowing travelers to easily browse available tour guides, check their availability, and book tours based on their preferred dates and times.

  3. Reviews and Ratings: A review and rating system is crucial for building trust and credibility. Travelers should be able to leave feedback and rate their experience with a tour guide, helping future travelers make informed decisions.

  4. Messaging and Communication: The marketplace should facilitate communication between tour guides and travelers. A messaging system allows travelers to ask questions, discuss tour details, and clarify any concerns before booking.

  5. Payment Processing: The marketplace should provide a secure and reliable payment processing system. This ensures that tour guides receive their payments promptly and travelers have a hassle-free payment experience.

  6. Customization and Personalization: The marketplace should allow tour guides to offer customized tours based on travelers' preferences and interests. This could include options for private tours, group tours, specific themes, or tailored itineraries.

  7. Geolocation and Mapping: Integrating geolocation and mapping features can help travelers easily locate tour guides in their desired destinations. It can also provide interactive maps and directions for the tours.

  8. Multilingual Support: Since tour guides cater to international travelers, multilingual support is essential. The marketplace should offer language options and translation services to facilitate communication between guides and travelers.

  9. Cancellation and Refund Policies: Clear cancellation and refund policies should be in place to protect both tour guides and travelers in case of unforeseen circumstances or changes in travel plans.

  10. Marketing and Promotion: The marketplace should provide tools and features to help tour guides market and promote their services. This could include options for showcasing photos, videos, and itineraries, as well as social media integration for wider reach.

What are the options & costs of building a marketplace for tour guides?

Costs of building from scratch

Building a marketplace for tour guides from scratch can involve several costs. Firstly, there will be expenses related to the development of the platform, including hiring a team of developers, designers, and project managers. The cost of development will depend on the complexity of the marketplace, the features required, and the time it takes to build.

Additionally, there will be costs associated with hosting and infrastructure. This includes setting up servers, databases, and other necessary infrastructure components to ensure the marketplace runs smoothly and securely.

Marketing and promotion expenses are also crucial to attract both tour guides and customers to the platform. This may involve online advertising, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and other promotional activities.

Furthermore, ongoing maintenance and support costs should be considered. Regular updates, bug fixes, and customer support will be necessary to ensure the marketplace operates effectively and provides a positive user experience.

Overall, the costs of building a marketplace for tour guides from scratch can vary significantly depending on the scope and scale of the project. It is essential to carefully plan and budget for each aspect to ensure the successful development and operation of the marketplace.

Other options for constructing a marketplace for tour guides

Creating an online marketplace for tour guides from the ground up is a significant and costly endeavor. However, there are now numerous alternative methods to build a marketplace that do not require a substantial budget.

The choice of approach depends on:

  • The desired features for the marketplace
  • Technical skills (either personal or within the team)
  • Budgetary constraints
  • Available time.

The various methods for building a marketplace include:

  • Utilizing WordPress and plugins
  • Constructing on top of open-source software
  • Employing a combination of no-code tools
  • Utilizing a dedicated no-code marketplace SaaS tool
  • Developing on top of an API-based marketplace SaaS tool

In addition to considering skills and budget, it is crucial to prioritize the speed of learning. By swiftly launching your tour guide platform, you can rapidly gain insights about your target audience. These insights are invaluable in creating a platform that surpasses existing solutions in terms of user satisfaction.

Sharetribe's marketplace software is designed with this iterative learning process in mind.

Initially, we assist you in launching a tour guide platform in just one day, without any coding required. Use the two-week long free trial of Sharetribe's Build plan to get your marketplace ready fast. When you're happy with your marketplace, you can subscribe to go live.

Once launched, you can learn about the additional features and functionality needed to cater to your audience. This may involve a complete redesign and workflow overhaul, integration of various third-party services, or the development of a mobile app. With Sharetribe, you can easily customize all these changes and more, either independently or with assistance from our Expert partners.

At Sharetribe, we have been constructing marketplaces for over ten years. Our experience and expertise are at your disposal through our content resources, which you can access and utilize regardless of your chosen platform-building method.

We wish you the best of luck with your tour guide website!

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