Seek Sophie was founded by a couple of solo travellers to solve a problem that kept cropping up in our travels
One of us went to the Galapagos a few years ago. Before our trip, other travellers told us that boat trips sold online were overpriced, and that we should book only when we arrived in Ecuador.
While playing cards on the boat, in between snorkelling trips, we found out how true that was. Those of us who didn’t have much time in Ecuador had booked online - and paid almost twice as much as those who booked on-the-ground!
This happened again with a safari in Uganda, and again with a trek in Indonesia. We got frustrated and wondered why the majority of local tourism operators were still offline.
Why didn’t anyone bring these tourism operators online so that travellers could benefit from better prices and these local operators could grow their business?
Turns out there is a simple explanation
Over-80% of local tourism operators are small mom-and-pop shops that don’t have the time or resources to set up their own website or online payment system. They would much rather be out diving, trekking up a mountain or leopard spotting.
We started Seek Sophie to give travellers an alternative to the cumbersome process of going door-to-door to compare prices.
So we travelled to places that we loved. We went round to interview local operators and chose the best ones to list on Seek Sophie. We got excited every time they shared about the hidden gems in their country. Then we would travel there too.
With each trip, we found new places and incredible local businesses to list on Seek Sophie.
We also believe that as travellers, we have a responsibility to leave places better than we found them.
One of our favourite local operators hires ex-poachers to lead hikes in Borneo’s 130M-year-old rainforest. He found that when just one member of the village is hired in the tourism industry, the entire village stops poaching. With each job he creates, he saves the lives of countless endangered animals.
By directing our travel spending to these impact-driven local businesses, we are creating vital local jobs, and conserving our earth’s wildlife and forests.