Back in fall of 2008, when ToursByLocals
first opened our online doors for business, we had guides in just two cities: Vancouver and St Petersburg. In the intervening years, we’ve steadily grown that number to 1100 cities, parks, ports and towns around the world. As of this week, in addition to Canada and Russia, we have guides in 148 other countries, meaning travellers can count on finding insightful, delightful tour guides in 150 different countries.
150 countries covered, in 8 years. We could have done this faster, of course. We could have opened the doors to any guide who applied. But from the start, we’ve always wanted to be more than a simple “Yellow Pages” for travellers looking for guides. When travellers hire a ToursByLocals guide, they do so knowing they are hiring someone experienced, knowledgeable, reliable and ultimately delightful.
These days, only about 1 in 10 guides who apply to ToursByLocals end up as a part of our network. They go through a rigorous screening process that involves a series of interviews with our HR team, reference checks, and background checks through Thompson Reuters. Once they’re brought on board the TBL team, our Guide Support Managers plan an active role in helping new guides set up their profiles on our website. They learn how to use the TBL system to design tour itineraries, keep their calendars up to date, respond to inquiries and create customized tours.
Of course, they already know how to deliver exceptional private tour experiences, and it’s always exciting to see a new guide receive their first 5-star review.
Guides continue to be actively supported long past their first tour. Like travellers, they always have access to our support staff, and we check in frequently to ensure they are responding promptly to all inquiries, keeping their calendars up to date, and continuing to receive favourable tour reviews from delighted travellers. And to put our travellers minds at ease, we use the Thompson Reuters World-Check screening service on an on-going basis with all ToursByLocals guides.
This system of slow and steady growth, hand-picked guides, and on-going quality control is why over 98% of the reviews you’ll see left for our guides are 4 or 5 stars (and over 92% of them are 5 stars!)
So book your guide in confidence, knowing an unforgettable tour experience is in your future.