Travel companies that focus on experiential tours are going virtual to keep wanderlust in check during the Covid-19 pandemic and the movement control order (MCO) in Malaysia.
Homegrown travel marketplace LokaLocal for one, has adopted new strategies during this period of no travel.
These include offering video production services to businesses, and launching online experiences for people to explore Malaysia through a different lens.
LokaLocal chief executive officer Chin Yoon Khen said the company is integrating virtual technology with visual storytelling.
“Apart from raising awareness for local destinations, we have helped businesses through video marketing and branded content, ” he said.
The platform has initiated online experiences, where travellers can connect with their local experts virtually via online classes and webinars.
Among these, guests can learn to cook nasi lemak and chicken rendang, enjoy a virtual visit to Kampung Baru in Kuala Lumpur, pick up the ukulele, or join an ayurveda wellness session.
Chin said this move can offer local hosts and guides some revenue during the pandemic.
“Since the outbreak and the MCO in Malaysia, we have recorded zero bookings. For some local experts, it means losing their only source of income.
“Despite the challenges, the team is adapting what they know best to weather the storm. Now is an apt time for us to get creative to survive, and take the leap, ” Chin said.
Similarly, Airbnb has also offered a new way for people to connect and travel virtually during the Covid-19 crisis.
Its online experiences offer access to locals from over 30 countries worldwide. Some of these include a virtual bike tour, a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout session and nutrition workshop.
Airbnb Experiences head Catherine Powell said it’s about maintaining human connections from the comforts of home.
“With so many people needing to stay indoors to protect their health, we want to provide an opportunity for our hosts to connect with our global community of guests in the only way possible right now, online, ” she said.