Since last week, GetYourGuide, With Locals, and other online booking services for sightseeing and experiences have been tempting people with online-only classes and webinars. The move can sometimes offer some income for tour and experiences operators that have lost revenues during the coronavirus pandemic.

GetYourGuide last week began an effort called The World at Home where it offers free Facebook livestreams run by professionals.

Withlocals, another booking service, also launched last week its Withlocals Live, which presents a few dozen online experiences by 20 locals in 15 cities worldwide. About 200 people watched the full hour of a recent pasta-making class led by Nico Mazzei, a Rome-based tour guide.

While the live-streamed events are free, the industry hopes that some people will pay to book private online sessions.

“So many companies suddenly have their staffs working remotely, and some of them may want to boost morale by bringing their team together to engage in a group activity via Zoom,” said Withlocals co-founder and CEO Matthijs Keij.

The crisis risks devastating the “experiences” sector. A survey of 816 operators of tours, activities and attractions between March 14-19 by Arival found that 43 percent feared risk of failure within three months. Since then, the risk level has been in “a steady-state” as operators sift through government aid offers in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere, said Douglas Quinby, co-founder and CEO of Arival.

This is an excerpt from an article by Sean O’Neill, originally published on skif.