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Ask A Local
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September 2021
Local know-how for wherever you’re going

Ask A Local is the solution for independent travelers who don't need or want a travel agent to book everything for them, but value local insight and expert knowledge.

Our experts are tour guides and travel professionals who have spent decades exploring their regions and honing their craft. They are passionate about the places they call home and dedicated to helping travelers experience the best that their regions can offer.

We’re Abe and Manny - twin brothers originally from Connecticut, in the United States. We founded Ask A Local because we know how much better travel is when you get off the beaten path and experience a new place like the locals do.

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1 month ago
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Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hey everyone! This is Manny from Ask A Local. I'm the co-founder of the platform and a tour guide in South America and Southern Europe. Please leave a comment with your thoughts and any questions. Looking forward to discussing with you!

What exactly do we do?

We connect travelers with in-destination local experts for live trip planning consultations done over Zoom. We founded Ask A Local to meet the needs of travelers who know that overtourism is real and tourist traps abound. Most travelers are suspicious of travel agents and blogs and guidebooks only get you so far; to get off the beaten path and experience a place uniquely and authentically, you need a local. By connecting travelers with in-destination local experts for what are essentially information sharing sessions, we give them access to the hyperlocal insight they want, without the pressure selling of a travel agent.

Our job now is to determine whether clients will pay $75 up front for an hour on Zoom with a local expert. Do clients value our expertise enough to pay for it? We think so and we REALLY hope so. We'll let you know!

1 month ago (edited)
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Hi Manny, thanks for sharing your startup with our community. The site looks great, and you've got a lot of really interesting destinations covered... bravo!

Perhaps in addition to the 1:1 sessions you could offer a scheduled group info session for a smaller fee (eg. cover some sample itineraries, photos, general intro) and this might build your potential customer base and increase the conversion to clients. You could also get some interesting market research, too!

1 month ago
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hey Ian. Thanks for looking at the site and for your thoughtful comment. It's certainly still a work in progress, but we're running with it while we recruit new experts and work to improve the tech and web development side.

We hadn't considered the concept of pre-scheduled group sessions, but that's a really interesting idea. The client gets a preview of what they could do in a private session, but for a much more accessible rate. It's an easy way to get a foot in the door. Fantastic idea!

I'll have to open up a time zone map (!!) and see how it would work logistically, but I've just scheduled a call with a couple of experts this afternoon to see if some of them are up for demo-ing a few weekly info sessions. Thank you for the great idea and for sharing!

1 month ago

Do you have an app, too? I found one with the same name when I did a google search.

1 month ago
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hi Alison. There's a company called "ask a local app" which has an android app. It's a different company. It's not entirely clear to us if they're actually operating or what the service provides.

1 month ago

Yes, it did look different. Glad you are aware of them. I’m really interested in your idea. I live in Japan. I’m not a professional tour guide, but I know some in Hiroshima and could probably give people information about places to see from Hiroshima down through Kyushu. Many tourists want to see Hiroshima, but not a lot of people go fury their south and both Kyushu and Shikoku are beautiful places to travel. I’ve done lots of road trips around both. Very easy to get to by train, too.

1 month ago
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Kyushu and Shikoku look gorgeous! As does most of southern Japan to be fair :) Its always a shame when people get so ingrained in the delineated "tourist trails" that they don't explore just beyond them. That's part of what we're trying to address with Ask A Local - helping people get away from the prescribed tourist places and see more!

We almost exclusively work with professional guides simply because of their depth of experience with travelers and familiarity on topics and places of interest in their regions, but I'd be happy to chat more about your experience if you think you might be a good fit! You can always reach out to us at goaskalocal.com/contact

1 month ago
Marketing Director, Bà/Cô

Haha I thought about this one day that we needed a local friend in each destination who could bring us to any hidden treasures there. Brilliant idea and congrats on the launch!

1 month ago (edited)
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hi Pham. Thanks for the nice note. So glad to hear you like the idea! Hopefully for your next trip we'll have a good "local friend" available where you're going :)

1 month ago
Key Account Manager, Drive to Russia

Great idea. How does one sign up to become a local expert? :-)

1 month ago
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hey Pavel. Thanks for reaching out. Shoot us an email at ops@goaskalocal.com and we can chat a bit more.

1 month ago
Key Account Manager, Drive to Russia

Thanks, Manny, just sent you an email.

1 month ago
Online Journalist, In Transit Travel + Food Blog

Hi Manny,
Really interesting concept here, I love it! Some thoughts: At first glance when I read out intro, it reminded me of Quora. But then when I saw your video from Laura and the website, my only question/concern here would be, would it come back to attracting travel agents/bloggers anyway as the experts? When Laura in your video says she's been "in the travel industry" for X years, that's the first thing that came to mind. Also regarding your $75 fee... I wonder if there's a different monetization model you could use here, like seamlessly placed advertising? Another thought: not sure if there's some way to integrate what's trending from a certain location as a feed from that place, either from Twitter or Instragram, or even Facebook check ins? For instance, when a hot new restaurant opens here in Atlanta, people flock to it, check in, and post a ton of photos from that place. Is there a way to integrate that into the site so people or your site is able to sense what's populat with locals? I feel that could really boost the "here's what the locals do" aspect.
Just some thoughts. Best wishes! The concept is cool.
Amritha
joinmeintransit.com

1 month ago
Co-Founder, Ask A Local

Hey Amritha. Thanks for checking out the site and for your thoughtful message. Glad you like the platform! We like to think of the experts as guidebooks that can talk (a bit slogan-y that, but hey...), so I totally get the reference to Quora.

To respond to a few of your comments/questsions:

We don't have any travel bloggers as experts because their information will be pretty surface-level by necessity. They simple can't spend enough time somewhere to be an expert. The appeal of chatting with an Ask A Local expert is that their knowledge is in-depth. The vast majority of our experts are private guides with many years of experience. Any who run local tour operators must still guide themselves or have extensive past guide experience. A standard travel agent wouldn't qualify. Experts who run tour operators are expressly forbidden from trying to market their services to travelers during consultations.

I'm not sure how we'd integrate the check-ins/trending spots idea, but I think it's a great idea. We have thought about having a weekly post from an expert where they chat about some current great things to see, do, and eat in an area that they cover.

Regarding advertising, we have a firm no upsell policy and part of our appeal to travelers is that they know what they're paying for: honest information without pressure selling. We will never make money off of what a traveler ultimately books (because we don't book it), so they know that our experts don't have ulterior motives when making recommendations. For that reason, we will never allow paid advertising of any nature on our site.

Thanks very much for checking out the website and for taking the time to comment. I hope I clarified a bit :) If you find yourself planning a trip somewhere we cover, please reach out directly and I'd be more than happy to set up a consultation for you to check it out first hand!

1 month ago (edited)
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