No one wants to be a tourist anymore. Today, people are looking to live like locals, experiencing the culture through the eyes of a local. Travellers are already being called “temporary locals”in some forward-looking cities such as Copenhagen, Denmark.
“We are loving this new trend”, says Tomi Virtanen, the founder of Doerz. “We have been around since 2016 and started testing in Finland to find our first experienced providers here who could offer tourists some real-life experiences. At first, people were often asking if it is legal to offer sharing economy experiences to tourists. Today, with Airbnb and others starting to move to this direction too, it is easier, so we don’t have to spend time educating the market anymore”.
Tomi goes on explaining his passion behind the idea: “Our founding team comes from Finland and loves experiencing new cities. But we do it with a twist: we’ll go the extra mile to hang out with the locals to do authentic local things together with them. For us that is the best way to feel what the city is all about. We believe in sharing and equal people doing things actively together. Urban culture is something we are very much into and creating cultural impact is close to our hearts”.
The promise for customers is to provide new experiences, experiences that are otherwise not available online in that city.
Answering the questions: What can I do in this city, and How can I live like a local?
In some of the cases just making things easy to buy is enough.
“Being able to book the experiences online and paying, for example through Alipay, is a big thing for the Asians. Plus, we still have plenty of businesses even in the Nordic countries where cash is the only payment method and the providers have zero online presence… and this is 2018!”
Doerz is expanding in Europe now, with French market being launched in Lyon and Strasbourg, with Paris following soon. Tallinn has been around for few months and Amsterdam is the next location in just few weeks’ time.
“Even if Europe and soon Asia are very interesting for us, we still see high value in Finland and Nordics. Lapland is our biggest priority in Finland for the coming season. But Helsinki might play a big role in our plans along our hopefully upcoming partnerships”, Tomi continued about the near future.
Experiences are being listed in five categories: traditions, food, urban culture, outdoors and active. The spread is quite wide, but the common feature with everything is that the experiences are being provided by the true locals who are passionate about what they do.
“Almost all of our experience providers, Doerz as we call them, have some other full time job. Some do this for the money they are receiving. But many do it for the fact that they get to meet the interesting people and share their love towards their city, hobby or their passion”, Tomi concludes.
Doerz is a Finnish travel technology startup building the bridge between travellers and locals and can be found on www.doerz.com