TRAVEL streaming platform Heygo has just smashed the TWO MILLION bookings barrier and continues to grow its following of armchair travellers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The online UK start-up, only launched in the depth of lockdown last year, has celebrated the milestone by rolling out its first mobile phone app for Beta testing by subscribers.
The service offers free-to-join live streamed tours with local guides, complete with a live chat facility and the opportunity to take screenshot-style ‘postcard’ souvenir snaps.
The Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland
A message from university pal founders John Tertan and Liam Garrison to site users, reads: “Heygoers made over two million bookings for tours across 100-plus countries.
“We went from streaming about six to often 40 tours a day, That’s a lot of postcards snapped, chats lol’d, memories made, and world explored, which is reason enough to celebrate.
“But we’re not done yet…”
The success of Heygo lies in its ability to offer live virtual travel at a time when the real thing is severely restricted by the pandemic, with user tip donations keeping guides in work.
At Everest’s North Base Camp
It currently offers more than 450 destinations, and recently hit new heights with a guided walk from North Base Camp, 5,200 metres up on the Chinese approach to Mount Everest.
Other highlights have included the Great Wall of China, the Grand Canyon, Peru’s Machu Picchu, Jordanian sandstone city Petra, the temples of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and South African safaris.
Trips have been not only on foot but also on skis and ice skates, by boat and gondola, on hang-glider and in a plane, the latter over the erupting Iceland volcano.
Sunrise over Angkor Wat
Weather permitting, ex-pat guide Lesley Hammam will take Heygoers on a hot air balloon ride over Egypt’s ancient sites in Luxor on New Year’s Eve.
The site has also offered a number of educational trips for schools, and language, art and culture, dance, cooking, wine tasting and history classes with local experts.
Temple on Lungyun Mountain
Back in September, co-founder John Tertan admitted: “We probably would not have thought of it had it not been for Covid.
“But it is something that should exist, and I think will exist, after Covid because it is such a cool way to meet people and see places. I love how it has become a window on the world.”
He confirmed that there were not any plans to introduce admission fees, or to introduce advertising to the streamed tours, although travellers are encouraged to leave a tip, typically from £5 in the UK. Read the full interview here.
The dunes at Gran Canaria
Tips are split, with 60% going to the guide and 40% to Heygo. After expenses such as the provision of equipment, streaming and support for the guides, Tertan says Heygo’s share ends up between 15% and 20%, which is re-invested in the business.
For latest tour calendars and booking, make tracks to www.heygo.com. The lead image is of the lesser-visited Monastery at Luxor in Jordan. All images in this article are ‘postcard’ snaps taken during virtual tours this year.