Top Tour Marketplaces Online

While traveling has traditionally been slightly passive and relaxing, there is a growing trend to pursue more engaged types of experiences.

And some of the packaged experiences are truly amazing. You’ll see them perhaps on ads here on this page, or if you visit the major tour marketplaces which I’ll introduce below including Toursbylocals, Viator, Collette Vacations, Tour Radar, Go Ahead Tours, Intrepid Travel and Gadventures.

Yes, these are vacations, but travelers are venturing further around the world to many new places in larger numbers, and they want greater immersion in these distant local cultures.  Tourism dollars are welcomed in many communities and this has spawned the fast-growing local tour operator industry. Travelers can visit any of the major tour marketplaces below to book a private tour online with knowledgeable, experienced and interesting guide, and manage itineraries/payments themselves.

While Expedia and Travelocity and others offer up popular mass tour experiences, these travelers prefer smaller portals that organize niche tours that are more credible and significant to them.  The portal’s brand is part of a more authentic travel experience (the mind travels first) and there is greater trust that some of these tour portals such as Toursbylocals, Gocollette or Gadventures are more meaningful to them. And they’re enjoying fast-growing bookings.

Hurry up Bucket-Lists

According to ToursbyLocals, a major tour experience marketplace, travelers are seeking and doing more bucket list travel excursions. It seems people feel more urgency to travel and 2023 was a big year for tour operators and guides. A confluence of demographic, economic, fear of missing out, and opportunity is behind this amazing travel phenomenon.

Paul Melhus, ToursByLocals CEO and Co-Founder reported that 6 weeks into 2023, tour sales rose 200% from 12 months earlier. “2023 is no longer about recovery; it’s about growth. We expect to send over half a million travellers on tours this year.”

This is such a fun, trending travel topic, I’m going to delve into some of the most interesting local tours in later posts, and cross my fingers that I’ll get to visit these places and experience them like a local would. I think for many travelers such as yourself, the first few tours break the ice and lead to a yearly commitment to even more exciting places and experiences.

I suspect many of these tour travelers are much more sophisticated about their travel choices and connections with tour guides. And then there’s the others who just dive in. There’s something to be learned from both don’t you think? You can read reviews and get in touch with those delighted globetrotters.

Many Roads Lead to Local Tours

And when we talk travel experiences, millions of travelers have ventured solo or with families, or on extended business trips to enjoy their precious time and lives more. Many were doing their own thing and touring by themselves which is fine. And solo travelers are an amazing, courageous group.

It’s not only the desire to travel this way that’s grown. New software technology and marketplaces have appeared to make International or long-distance travel easier, more secure and safe, and a more enjoyable experience. That would include travel management software companies and niche online travel marketplaces you’ll discover below. Travelers are more likely to find and buy the exact adventure, hike, safari, cruise or day trip they dream of.

Collectively, it’s boosting demand for guided excursions, including private guided tours with local guides who know the communities and the history of the region and country. And when travelers experience a great guided tour, they would like to experience more of that in their future travels.

Toursbylocals in their data, show Paris and Italy are very popular destinations and of course travelers enjoy every kind of experience in France and Italy. They are filled with endless towns and villages with charming character and interesting local people and attractions.

From the Alps to the Mediterranean, there’s something for every traveler. And with more venues and tours, comes new demand for tours.

Culinary Tours

Today, I thought might be interesting to introduce a number of travel tour companies who make local, private guided tours available. It’s with private guides who know the location and people who can see the sites efficiently, safely and enjoyably.

If the numbers are true, then more travelers are believing this is true. The traffic to these company’s websites varies from tens of thousands to several million per month. And the growth of tour companies suggests a broadening of specialized destination tours.

At the risk of understating their offerings, I present this introduction to the major tour marketplaces so you can find the kind of private tours perfect for you and your travel companions.

Tours by Locals

Tours by Locals is an online marketplace for private and guided tours in numerous countries.  One look at their people shows how happy and fulfilled travel can make you become. They’re changing the way people travel, by making it easy to find reliable, experienced and inspiring local tour guides absolutely everywhere.

According to Wikipedia, the company serves nearly 400,000 clients a year, connecting them with over 4400 private tour guides in 188 countries and 1,500 locations.

On the website, travelers can search for and book private tours in over 190 different countries where they will discover new cities, towns and regions through views of history, photography, food and wine, architecture, art, music, nature and local culture.

Get Your Guide

GetYourGuide offers the best way to connect with your destination. Make memories all over the globe with our locally-vetted, expertly-curated experiences from iconic attractions to unexpected under-the-radar gems.

According to Wikipedia, GetYourGuide sells tours and excursions, activities including cooking classes, and tickets to tourist attractions well as 60,000 travel products worldwide in 150 countries, 22 languages, and 40 currencies.

Viator Tours is an online travel platform for tour operators and travelers owned by Tripadvisor.  This tour marketplace offers  300,000+ experiences to explore — everything from simple tours to extreme adventures.  Their SaaS-based travel management platform offers tour buyers flexibility and last-minute availability as well as marketing and management tools for tour operators and exposure to 455+ million visitors.

Go Ahead Tours

Enjoy 200+ immersive, guided tours around the world on their travel experience portal. From landscapes ranging from misty cloud forests to sun-kissed beaches in Costa Rica, to wandering through medieval piazzas, to basking in postcard-worthy views of Naples and sampling antipasti in Umbria, a tour of Italy you’ll enjoy a feast for your eyes or pallet.

For more than 55 years, Go Ahead Tours have been fueled by constant curiosity and a natural desire to bridge cultures, communities, and people.  They’re committed to making safe, authentic, life-changing travel experiences affordable and accessible.

The Goahead team of in-the-know travel experts crafts immersive, experiential itineraries in 87 countries and on all seven continents. Whatever kind of tour you decide to join—a rail journey through the Canadian Rockies, wining and dining in Argentina and Uruguay, a solo-friendly escape to Sicily — they take you behind the scenes, inside private spaces, and off the beaten path, too.

Collette Vacations

Since 1918, Collette Vacations has been sharing a love of travel for tourists. Today their worldwide travel collection features comprehensive land tours, river cruises, rail journeys, small group tours, family trips, garden holidays and more.

With Collette, wake each morning on tour with a new experience in front of you. You may have seen them advertise frequently on the Wheel of Fortune TV game show.

They cover the globe from tours of dramatic landscapes and a complex political history define this European nation marked with castles, forests, mountains, and myths, from the remnants of the Berlin Wall to the beer halls in Munich to the ancient and mysterious world of rural landscapes, bustling cities, and fascinating history o Southeast Asia where you can sample street food adventures and then visit Angkor Wat temple, the world’s largest religious structure hundreds of Buddhas found in the Pak Ou caves.

Tour Radar Adventures

Embark on transformative organized travel adventures and enjoy access to more than 50,000 options via 2,500 trusted operators on the Tour Radar platform.

With offices in North America, Europe, and Australia, TourRadar Adventures offers a large selection of multi-day organized adventures worldwide. TourRadar’s intuitive online platform seamlessly connects travelers and travel agents with 2,500+ multi-day operators, offering 50,000+ adventures in more than 160 countries globally. TourRadar’s vision is to connect travel enthusiasts, via our Organized Adventure Platform, with expert operators who curate memorable and sustainable multi-day journeys.

Experiences range from Active Adventure tours in Ecuador where for 8 days you can travel through Quito, Ecuador and 11 other destinations in Ecuador, to Food & Culinary tour through Catania, Italy to Palermo Sicily for a Food & Wine Lovers Tour, with an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

Intrepid Travel

Intrepid Tours offers a wide variety of real-life experiences you can’t find on Google search. They find interesting experiences and tours around globe.

For Intrepid, a B-certified corporation it’s all about travel with a purpose and fun. They genuinely connect to and invest in the places they build tours, and the people in the communities at the heart of every Intrepid experience. They think globally, act locally, and engage personally.

From trekking to the Maya ruins of Tikal in Guatemala to watching and lions stalking the bushveld up close, and taking breathtaking cinematic coastal switchbacks and burnt Kalahari sand, and the oldest wine industry outside Europe, in South Africa, they’ve lined up some impressive immersive travel tours for your travel enjoyment.

Their travel management platform helps tour operators and travel agent clients access our global network and receive our full support, but retain their own customers and brands.

Gadventure Adventure Tours

A well-known, smaller travel tour marketplace is Gadventures, which has been gaining popularity of late. The company is recognized for its commitment to sustainable and responsible travel practices and may be the foremost for ectours.

Their trips embrace a broader definition of community tourism to put travelers on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes and wildlife. From excursions into deep valleys visiting the dzong (fortresses) perched on precarious peaks in Bhutan, to sailing the beautiful Canary Islands on Private Yacht with time for hiking, snorkeling and exploring historical sites and cafe-lined harbors to dine on fresh seafood, Gadventures aims for once in a lifetime experiences.

These travel tour marketplaces and travel management platforms have had many years to build, develop and serve travel customers. In a later post, I aim to cover the more nichey travel tour operators where you might find the exact, intimate and engaging tour you’re looking for.

While many of these companies compete with Google, Expedia and Travelocity for reach to travelers, we can’t deny that Google is the homepage for travelers. More travelers are seeking thrilling, immersive cultural experiences and inevitably find one via Google search. Many of them aren’t found easily on Google search given the larger firms dominate the search results.

Using Google Search to Your Advantage

Being constantly visible on Google search for your brand and tours, and for general travel-related searches, you’re giving your company the best opportunity to create new customers and create repeat tours.

If you own or manage a tour operator, you’ll need to build visibility on one of these tour marketplaces or Google search. The best way to achieve that is by using an SEO/Content Strategist to plan and build the kind of content that will rank high enough to be found for popular travel searches as well as your own niche travel experiences.

Digital marketing and SEO/Content are all about strategy and advanced optimization techniques. If you’re ready to compete with the big travel companies, contact Gord at 416 998 6246 to discuss your project.

Read more on travel marketing and the power of travel management software to raise service quality, improve your brand and elevate your profitability.

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