Viator goes virtual to support small businesses and help travelers #RoamFromHome

NEEDHAM, Mass., April 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Viator, a Tripadvisor company, today 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."

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,

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.

What else are you doing to help 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.

About Viator

Viator, a Tripadvisor company, makes it simple for travelers to find and book the best tours and activities anywhere in the world. With access to more than 300,000 bookable experiences, travelers can easily discover and book with confidence, thanks to the millions of traveler reviews. Viator is the easiest, most flexible way for travelers to experience the most memorable things to do in their destination. Travelers can plan in advance or book on-the-go to skip long lines and sold-out signs. We offer a low-price guarantee, 24/7 multilingual support, and a 24-hour cancellation policy.

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SOURCE Tripadvisor; Viator