We caught up with Alex Jones, co-founder of Vidi Guides, to talk all things from empowering people to explore whilst social distancing to navigating a travel company during COVID-19…
Tell us about Vidi Guides
Vidi Guides provides self-guided podcast tours of Oxford, Cambridge, London, Paris and Stratford-Upon-Avon. We team up with top storytellers, historians and influencers etc. to provide sharp, engaging audio experiences of cultural sites, neighborhoods and off the beaten track spots!
We’re one of the few sightseeing solutions that can still operate at full capacity at the moment and we’re working with a number of tourism boards and cultural sites to empower them to offer a viable sightseeing offer for visitors who want to respect social distancing.
How did you come up with the idea for Vidi Guides?
Marius founded Vidi Guides after visiting Machu Picchu in 2018 and realising the only sightseeing options were Wikipedia, expensive tour guides, or old fashioned guide books.
He saw a huge gap in the market and realised that the guided tour sector was moving heavily toward independent sightseeing and self-guided tours.
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How has the business fared during COVID-19?
We were fortunate to have raised investment just before Christmas. This gave us time to develop our product and content over the next few months in time for an April launch. Given the situation, we held off fully launching until June. This was when lockdown was lifted and when people could go out and explore again. It’s been a great period to really test out our product, grow the brand and get the first customers on board. We also thought it was great to offer a product to travel starved consumers and let them rediscover their own cities!
We did however have a number of partnerships that have been held up which has been frustrating.
What does the future hold for Vidi Guides?
The immediate future is all about customer acquisition. We really want to focus on getting great traction out of the Culture Trip partnership and the remainder of the summer period. Beyond that, it’s all about building our partnerships and content and potentially another funding round in the not too distant future!
Assuming we get back to some normality next year, we’re going to be in a great position to take advantage of a fundamental shift in the industry. The industry was slowly moving toward independent sightseeing solutions but this has brought everything forward by a year or two. We’re seeing tourism boards, brands and cultural sites all coming to us asking to collaborate and we’re hoping to be at the forefront of this change once the travel industry picks up again.