JS 100: Travel With A Local with Sanne Meijboom Founder & Publisher of I-LikeLocal.com

April 10th, 2015 by Jason | Comments Off on JS 100: Travel With A Local with Sanne Meijboom Founder & Publisher of I-LikeLocal.com

Sanne

Jason Hartman invites Sanne Meijboom to the show to talk about her I Like Local business. I Like Local connects tourists and travelers to an individual local of the country they plan to visit. Travelers can now get a local’s perspective and tour the country with them for cheap. With the help of I Like Local’s website, you can now fish with a fisherman in Sri Lanka, go on fun food tours all over Asia, and more. Join us on today’s JetSetter show to find out more about Sanne’s website.

Key Takeaways:
1:05 – I Like Local enables travelers to book tours and activities with real locals.
3:15 – Sanne talks about how she selects a local.
6:20 – I Like Local wants to empower local people and encourage them to make some money.
9:55 – Travelers love I Like Local. The locals have been extraordinary helpful and honest with the them.
12:20 – Many organized tours from big companies don’t offer the local experience travelers are looking for.

 

Tweetables:
“We differ a little bit from the Airbnbs where any person can create an account and start offering accommodations.”

“People are saying that the kindness of the hosts and their honesty was the most rewarding experience.”

“I’m very much a fan of the sharing economy and this is just helping in places where it’s really need.”

 

Mentioned In This Episode:
https://www.i-likelocal.com/
@I_Like_Local

 

Transcript

Jason Hartman:
It’s my pleasure to welcome Sanne Meijboom to the show. She is the founder of I Like Local and this is a really unique sharing economy concept where people can book and activities with real locals, real people in the destination. Maybe kind of think of it as a Uber or Lyft for travel activities. Sanne, how are you?

Sanne Meijboom:
Thank you so much, great to be in the show.

Jason:
It’s good to have you. You’re coming to us from Hong Kong today, is that correct?

Sanne:
Yes. So, for me actually at this moment it’s in the middle of the night, so it’s a 12 hour difference, yes, indeed, I’m living in Hong Kong.

Jason:
Well, I appreciate staying up so late for this. Tell us about I Like Local.

Sanne:
I Like Local is a sustainable social travel platform that enables travelers to book unique local activities and accommodations from people in the developing countries. It’s created with the goal in mind to bring an unique experience to travelers and at the same time creating an easy and simple way for people in the developing countries to earn money and currently I Like Local offers over 300 activity with 130 locals and 10 different countries in Asia and the activities people can book range from home stays, farm stays, tours to food experiences, workshops, and short-term volunteering opportunities. 100% of the money caused by locals for the activities is directly paid to them, so as there is no fee for the locals to participate in the concept, they are getting the best price and so is the traveler. So, how do we earn money? We just charge a small service fee that varies between 10-20% depending on the price of the local.

Jason:
Yeah, pretty much like many sharing economy concepts. Sort of the same split. So, how do you pick these guides and do they just go on to your platform and apply and then you will approve them to the guides. How does that all happen? I would think that pricing things is rather difficult.

Sanne:
There are actually two ways how we find people. So, either can contact us through our website and just mention they are interested and would like to offer something or the other option is we have hand pick them ourselves, so we are always looking for the best unique, well, opportunities and unique experience we can offer the travel and that way we differ a little bit from the Airbnbs of this world where any person can create an account and start offering accommodation or activities.

While we have a more, yeah, careful selection process and that way that we always have a certain criteria that people need to meet, so for example the people really need to be local people and not like maybe foreigners living in this countries. They really need to show how they value their local community. We also would like to have that personal touch, so all the activities are small scale and in the case of accommodation it will be like a maximum of four rooms that way it’s diverse a bit.

We are working with different, well, you can say local individuals or organizations in this so either our local individuals directly or we’re working with NGOs who are focused on community based tourism so that means they are training local communities and receiving tourist without losing their culture or having a bad influence on the environment or we are working with small local travel, sustainable travel agencies.

Jason:
So, tell us about some of the activities. I mean, how many different types of activities? You said, I think you said 300. Tell us about some of the different activities. I bet they are pretty unique.

Sanne:
Well, indeed, it’s currently over 300 activities that we are offering and these vary in, well, we have 6 different categories so it varies from farm states, so really helping on an organic farm for example in Nepal to sleeping with a local family in Thailand to fishing with a local fisherman in Sri Lanka, having a food experience in Indonesia. So, we have divided these activities in six different categories you can say. So, these are a little bit like the top of experience we’re offering.

Jason:
Why is it sustainable? I mean, what makes it sustainable? I assume if you want to be sustainable to better not to travel at all, probably, but you know, but what’s the sustainability component?

Sanne:
What we’re trying to do is really focus on a good balance between people, a planet, and profits and that we are, well, really trying to empower local people that way we are not charging them anything. So, we are helping them, participation is free for them, so they can set their own price and besides that we are helping them with the whole marketing and editing of their text to make it as attractive as possible so in that way, yeah, we really try to create value in the places where people need it the most. If you look at other organizations, they are mainly focused on only the value for the travel and less on creating that balance and also have a look at who are these locals and how can they help them in the best way possible. In that case, you also sometimes see that there are foreign people participating in these concepts.

Jason:
Tell us about the pricing a little bit if you would. I guess the guide, is that what you call them? The guide or the host? They set the price?

Sanne:
Yep, they set the price, so in general these prices are not really high. It really varies from free activities and that’s mainly the case with for example with helping on a farm, so in that way you offer your help and in return you get free accommodation and food to like I think the most expensive one is a 16 day trekking in Nepal, which is around $1,100 US dollars more or less, but that’s also like 16 days, so yeah, in general they set the price and what I already mention is we on top of that 10-20% depending on what their price is. So, for example activities up to 20 Euros, I still speak in Euros, for that we charge 20% and the higher they get the lower the % will be.

Jason:
Very interesting, very interesting. What else do you want people to know about this really interesting idea?

Sanne:
I think what I know for myself is that prevalent travel is that I’m always on the look for, well, creating the best experience for myself, so I was always doing a lot and finding, okay, what are the, the best places to go and I think nowadays people are looking for a different kind of experience. It’s not only like ticking the box of the highlight of a country, people are looking for something more and often the best experience people have are the encounters with local people, so what better way than local people offering themselves, right? So, I think this concept really brings together supply and demand directly and can create these unique experiences for the travel and at the same time also knowing you’re doing something good for the local people.

Jason:
How many tours or events or hosting have been done through the site so far?

Sanne:
I think currently 40, 40 people have booked through I Like Local and the reactions we got are really stunning. Most people are saying that especially the kindness of the people and their honesty and really trying to make you happy was the most rewarding experience. I think if we look at the type of activities which are most popular, these are still like food experiences, people just love food, so it ranges from food tours to cooking classes, that’s an activity that’s very popular and other hand like farm stays are also attracting more and more.

Jason:
Where are you planning to take this? What’s next for you? What are the plans? Are you going to expand this to more developed countries?

Sanne:
Yep, the plan is currently we are still expanding here in Asia, but the plan is also to expand it to Africa and South America in the coming two years and yeah, so that’s – we’re looking where we can create value so we are not have the plan to cover the world at the end. So, that’s a little bit the idea, the step we would like to take.

Jason:
Right, so you’d probably consider yourself more of a social entrepreneur event, would that be a fair statement?

Sanne:
Yep, that’s a fair statement.

Jason:
Good, okay. Any tips you wanna give travelers? You know, how they can travel more effectively, see the culture better, you know, it’s nice not to be so isolated from it. So many of the old fashioned travel companies, they just have people too detached from the actual experience, you know, and that’s what’s great about I Like Local.

Sanne:
Yeah, I think even if you’re – you can range from a backpacker who’s more focused on a bunch of travel or even luxurious traveler who maybe like to be outdoors or anything, I think for both of these type of travelers, yeah, I Like Local or similar experiences can be of value and I really think that it provides you a deeper experience to really be in touch of the local people instead of like only watching from a distance, how many tours are like, going to a village and just walking there and maybe a guide is telling you a little bit, but you’re not really in touch and participating in their daily lives and I really think that can give you a more in depth experience and therefore a more memorable holiday.

Jason:
Absolutely, absolutely. Good stuff. Well, give out your website, if you would, and if you have a Twitter account too if you’d like to share that with the listeners.

Sanne:
Yep, yep, of course. The website site is www.i-likelocal.com and you can find us on Twitter as well as @I_Like_Local. I think if you fill it in as I Like Local it’ll already appear, so people must find their way.

Jason:
Fantastic, good. Check that out listeners, I Like Local. Really cool concept and I hope it grows quite dramatically. I’m very much a fan of the sharing economy and this is just helping in places where it’s really need, so keep up the good work and thank you for joining us.

Sanne:
Thank you as well.

Announcer:
This show is produced by the Hartman Media Company, all rights reserved. For distribution or publication rights and media interviews, please visit www.hartmanmedia.com or email [email protected] Nothing on this show should be considered specific personal or professional advice. Please consult an appropriate tax, legal, real estate or business professional for individualized advice. Opinions of guests are their own and the host is acting on behalf of Platinum Properties Investor Network Inc. exclusively.

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