ONLINE tour streamer virtualtrips is to rebrand as heygo – after the fast-growing travel company notched up its 100,000th review in the week it took 800 guests to the edge of a volcano.
Offering scores of live streamed real-time tours with local guides all round the world, the platform has lightened pandemic gloom for thousands of travel-hungry people stuck at home.
Virtualtrips, a UK start-up founded by pals John Tertan and Liam Garrison in lockdown last year, has fast been going places – quite literally – and has already attracted a worldwide audience.
Liam and John launch heygo name on London tour
There are more than 250 locations from which to choose on the site, and a Facebook followers’ group already numbers more than 2,700 members.
Some have notched up more than 200 trips apiece – walking, cycling, sailing, riding and even ski-ing via the webcams of the guides. There are, whisper it quietly, tripaholics.
On recent trips, for example, I’ve shared a dramatic three-hour trek to Iceland’s erupting volcano with Albert Armannsson, and skied speedily downhill at Canada’s Lake Louise with Patrick Twomey.
I’ve discovered Venice’s Banksy during a backwaters gondola ride with Igor Scomparin, and I’ve strolled the streets of the Inca settlement at the foot of Machu Picchu with Mike Lazo Gamarra.
New, inventive ideas are being added every day. I have to admit I never dreamed I’d be riding an Icelandic horse…
The move to a new brand identity is designed to reflect the fun and friendships developed via the live chat facility available on every trip. There’s chance to take postcard screen shots throughout too.
What’s more, the trips are free to join and there is no membership fee. Guests can, however, leave a tip from as little as £5 if they wish.
John Tertan is telling members: “When Liam and I started the platform we never imagined what an incredible community we’d have. Your enthusiasm, support and boundless curiosity have made us want to work harder and improve faster.
“So from the entire team, we want to thank you! We realised that what makes this community and platform unique is how fun and lively the tours are.
“It really feels like we’re breaking down the barriers to discovery and bringing the world closer together so we wanted to create a brand that reflects the impact we are all having on each other.
“When we were designing the logo, we wanted to make something that captured the smile we all get when we go on a tour – so hopefully you see a bit of yourself in the name.”
heygo is, says Liam Garrison, at its core, the combination of ‘hey’ and ‘go’ and all the positivity that comes with those words. It’s friendly, social and aspirational.
“It embodies the spirit of openness, curiosity and friendship that is central to what makes us, us,” he says.
“For the entire team and everyone we’ve seen interact with the platform, the first reaction people have when they join a tour is to smile. We wanted to capture that smiling face in our name.”
John and Liam retraced the site’s very first walk, undertaken in June 2020, around London’s Bankside, on Friday April 2 to talk more about the brand and to show where it all started.
The new name and look went live from 7am London time on April 6, when the virtualtrips web address changed to www.heygo.com.