Do you love to travel but hate the hassle of going through multiple websites just to book a tour? If so, our friends over at GuideMe are here to solve just that. We had the opportunity to speak with the Co-Founder, Oliver Lee, as he shares more insights with what GuideMe can do for you.
Can you share with us the background of your journey and how you got to where you are today?
My co-founder Phil and I go back over 25 years where we met at kindergarten in the North of England. Both of our dads were teachers at the same school so we had a lot in common growing up. It wasn't until after university that we chose very different paths. I pursued a career in finance and moved to California while Phil started a web design company here in the UK. I recently moved to London to start GuideMe and given our long standing friendship and diverse skill set it was an easy decision to start this new journey with Phil.
How did the idea of GuideMe come about?
The idea for GuideMe originally came about when my wife and I were on vacation in Thailand. Airbnb was starting to become mainstream and we found ourselves wishing there was an equivalent platform for tours and activities with local people. We found that most of the tours and activities in Thailand were generic and overcrowded and we craved a more authentic, off the beaten path experience that could be booked directly with local guides.
What problems does GuideMe solve?
While we touched on the annoyance of overcrowded, generic tours and activities, the problems we aim to solve go deeper than that. Booking can be an extremely labor intensive exercise that requires a lot of negotiating between review websites and booking websites. Similarly, it’s common to be sold items you don’t want, bombarded with popups and overwhelmed by the amount of information presented.
GuideMe simplifies all of this with a clean, straightforward, easy to negotiate website that wants the user to have a great experience. While GuideMe does offer tours of typical landmarks of a given location, we encourage guides to offer an array of alternative things to see and do. We hope all of this leads to a great customer experience all around!
Why should people try GuideMe?
While we originally aimed to solve what are typically first world travel problems, we realized that travel was a relative term. We often think of travel as where our next vacation will be or how to get to the grocery store. But for many people in the world, travel constitutes a means of getting to fresh water or delivering much needed food and supplies.
This parallelled reality resonated with us and we started a program called Guide Me. Guide Them. for which we set aside some of our revenue to purchase bikes for those in the developing world. The bikes help children travel to school, families reach fresh water faster or even earn an additional income! We hope that everyone's a winner, the customer, guide and beneficiary in the developing world.
When it comes to vacations and traveling, it can cause quite the headache. They are supposed to be fun and enjoyable aren’t they? Unfortunately many people, including myself like to opt away from traveling as it can be a difficult planning process. Luckily for us, GuideMe can cut the hassle but more importantly TIME and MONEY!
GuideMe is currently live in London and coming soon to a city near you! If you would like to learn more about GuideMe and it sounds like the perfect fit for you, visit them below!