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A Growing Japanese Travel Start-up Makes Local People the “Stars of the Show”: MagicalTrip Tours – Changing The Way You Travel through the Eyes of Locals

May 4, 2019 Visit North Asia No Comments Email Email

MagicalTripJapan’s leading website for local experience tours (operated by Libra Inc., Tokyo, CEO Yasuhiro Suzuki), today announces the launch of its new booking website for guided tours with unique features showcasing major tourist highlights, local tours, and experiences, as well as an up close and personal introduction of their tour guides. Travelers can now see their local guides in major areas and cities across Japan before booking a tour.

Since its launch a year ago, MagicalTrip has acquired over 1600 reviews on TripAdvisor and MagicalTrip website from customers and provided hundreds of tours all over japan, TokyoKyotoOsaka, and Hiroshima. Now the service turning out to be one of the largest guided tour provider in Japan.

Zooming In on the People Factor

One of the key features of MagicalTrip’s new website is providing an inside snapshot of over 150 certificated local guides who have been carefully selected and completed a comprehensive training course from among over 1,000 applicants: a self-introduction video, their hobbies, a gallery of photos, as well as reviews from previous tour participants. Now the website shows tons of photos and videos from a wide array of locals ranging from teachers, dancers, skilled professionals etc.

Travelers can now get an idea of what kind of person they will travel with before choosing tours to join.

“People usually check who is starring before booking tickets to a Broadway show. So why not tours? After all, the guide is the main facilitator and has a significant impact on the travel experience.  And not only they remember the experience, also be remembered by deep connection through our tours with local guides. The idea of showcasing profiles of local guides makes travelers feel relieved and even more excited. ” says Yasuhiro Suzuki, CEO of Libra Inc.

Travelers Want “Personable” Experiences Throughout Tours

The structure of this new website is based on feedback from early adopters. Planning tour content and training the guides themselves, MagicalTrip saw two main sources of customer satisfaction.

First, the authenticity of the experience, which means gaining access to off-the-guidebook destinations and giving a privileged insider view through the tour.

Second, the satisfaction of getting to know a real person and feeling a connection with locals first hand, rather than just taking photographs of tourist attractions.

According to the company’s survey, 98% of all participants were satisfied with the tour because of the local guides. The customers loved hearing local stories and recommended places through real voices as well as exchanging cultural differences with a guide.

Reviews by travelers, the all-important yardstick of the industry, support this analysis. Lesli, a Canadian solo traveler, who took part in MagicalTrip tours says,

“After reviewing various tour companies, Magical Trip seemed to me the most personal, so I booked two tours with them – one in Kyoto and one in Shinjuku. Both were so enjoyable! This is because the local guides were personable and took us to out-of-the-way places which were unique. They were also knowledgeable so I learned so much about the area.”

Others have said they enjoyed how “the whole group ended up like friends.”

“It’s about the who, even more so than the what or where that makes a trip memorable.
Looking back on my trips,  what I remember the most is interacting with the locals there. MagicalTrip has a competitive advantage because we have a group of charismatic locals, each of whom are passionate about presenting their hometown and its unique ways of life to visiting tourists. We also keep our groups small to enhance the communication between tour participants and our local guide,” explains Suzuki.

A New Way of Traveling

Since its inception in 2017, MagicalTrip is innovating to give the customers a genuine local experience. Getting to know your guide is a big step towards this goal.

“Traveling with a local used to depend on a chance encounter. We learned that there are so many locals with full of warm hospitality who are eager to show a part of their hometowns. However, they didn’t have experiences as a tour guide nor provide their own tour.

We thought about trying to build a peer-to-peer service where individuals could offer and manage their own tours but we found it’d be difficult to get locals with guiding experience to become hosts.

That’s why we decided to develop local tours on our own and take full responsibility for operation and training for guides to allow them to become great local guides. As a result, we are able to provide high-quality tours with great locals successfully. Our next challenge is to help local guides bring a better experience to travelers by developing a mobile app for local guides.

Our final mission is to make it easier for travelers to connect with friendly residents who can show them around their neighborhoods and provide an authentic experience anywhere in the world.

We believe that local guides will play an important role in the travel market to make every trip memorable. It’s by far the best thing about traveling. We will keep striving to change the way people travel through MagicalTrip.” says Suzuki.

The company plans to roll out its services to other locations in Japan and foreign countries in order to establish the MagicalTrip brand as a leading guided tour service in the industry.

From hopping your way across local watering holes to sampling home-made food in tourist-free neighborhoods, MagicalTrip gears up in anticipation for its next phase of growth. Their journey has just begun.

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