Ovago.com Reviews: Is Ovago.com a Scam or Legit?

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  • Post published:February 15, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Ovago.com is an online platform that connects travelers with local guides for unique travel experiences around the world. However, with the rise of online booking platforms, there are often concerns about whether new websites like Ovago.com are trustworthy. This detailed review will examine Ovago’s services, user policies, and reputation to determine if Ovago.com is a scam or a legitimate business.

Overview of Ovago.com

Ovago.com launched in 2017 as a startup aiming to transform the travel industry by connecting travelers directly with local, expert guides. Here are some key facts about Ovago:

  • Headquarters: Based in Zurich, Switzerland
  • Services: An online marketplace to book private tours, activities, and other experiences with local guides around the world.
  • Business Model: Takes a 20% commission from guides on each booking. Travelers pre-pay Ovago.com when booking.
  • Funding: Raised $4.7 million in funding from venture capital firms.
  • Team: Founded by 3 entrepreneurs and has a team size of 11-50 according to LinkedIn.

On the surface, Ovago.com presents itself as a disruptive player in the tours and activities sector, similar to global brands like Airbnb Experiences and GetYourGuide. The premise of accessing authentic local experiences while supporting local guides is appealing for many travelers.

But does the reality live up to Ovago’s promises? Let’s analyze further.

How Ovago.com Works

Ovago.com aims to connect travelers directly with local guides, without any middlemen. Here are the key steps for how the platform functions:

  • Guides create profiles – During onboarding, guides create a profile showcasing their expertise, languages, and list specific tour activities and pricing.
  • Travelers browse and book tours– Travelers can browse Ovago for tours and activities in their destination city. They select a specific tour date and time, number of guests, and pre-pay Ovago.com to confirm the booking.
  • Ovago facilitates trip logistics – Ovago provides contact information for the guide to the traveler. They can coordinate meeting times and locations. Ovago.com also reminds both parties of upcoming bookings.
  • Guide delivers tour & travelers leave reviews – On the day of the tour, the guide meets the traveler(s) and conducts the activity as promised. Afterwards, travelers can leave reviews of the guide and tour quality.
  • Ovago pays guides – Once the tour is complete, Ovago.com pays the guide their earnings after deducting the 20% commission. Payments are made via bank transfer.

This direct connection from traveler to local guide provides a more personalized experience than large group tours or activities operated by 3rd party agencies, according to Ovago.com Travelers get a local insider’s perspective, while guides earn income.

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Key Facts About Ovago for Travelers

Here are some key things travelers should know about using Ovago.coto book tours and guides:

  • 1000+ guides in 180+ destinations – Ovago claims to have a large network of local guides around the world, offering a wide variety of tours. Popular destinations include Italy, France, Greece, and others in Europe.
  • Activities range from walking tours to cooking classes – Options range from 2-hour walking tours and day trips from city to city, to more immersive experiences like food tours, photography excursions, and intensive cooking classes. Prices start around $50 per person.
  • Book instantly online – Ovago’s website and app allow travelers to search destinations, browse guide profiles, and instantly book and pay for tours online. Last minute bookings are accepted.
  • Pre-pay for bookings – Ovago requires full pre-payment at the time of booking a tour, including their 20% commission fee. Travelers pay via credit card through Ovago’s secure payment system.
  • Ovago provides support for issues – In case of any problems, travelers can contact Ovago’s customer service team for assistance re-booking, locating guides, or investigating problems. Support is available via email, phone, and social media.

Pros

  • Direct access to local guides
  • Competitive pricing
  • Instant online booking
  • Range of unique activities

Potential Cons

  • Requires full pre-payment
  • Less protections than a big tour company
  • Quality reliance on individual guide

Is Ovago a Scam or Legit? Key Factors to Consider

When determining if a newer online travel platform like Ovago is trustworthy, there are a few key factors travelers should research:

Company Reputation

As a young startup, Ovago does not have an extensive track record yet. However, so far it has exhibited signs of being a legitimate company:

  • Backed by known investors – Ovago is funded by several reputable VC firms including Redalpine and Karma Ventures, who have vetted the company.
  • Positive press coverage – Ovago has been featured in established publications like Forbes and TechCrunch who praise its innovative model.
  • Founders have business credentials – Ovago’s founders have backgrounds working at Rocket Internet, McKinsey, and Goldmann Sachs.
  • Listed public contact details – Ovago provides a business address, email contact, phone number, and LinkedIn profiles for its team. This level of transparency is positive.

While Ovago is still a new company, its backers, press coverage, founder credentials, and public contact information suggest it is running a legitimate business.

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Ovago.com Reviews (Customer Reviews)

Traveler feedback is crucial for evaluating if a tour booking platform provides good service. Here’s an overview of customer reviews for Ovago:

  • Google Rating: 4.2 stars (63 reviews) – Positive rating based on user reviews praising good value tours and friendly guides. Some mention disorganization and guide quality variation.
  • App Store Rating: 5 stars (28 reviews) – High praise in App Store reviews citing seamless booking process and good customer support from Ovago.com.
  • Trustpilot: 5 stars (149 reviews)– An “Excellent” TrustScore with most reviews giving 5-stars for great tour experiences. But only has a small number of reviews.
  • Facebook Reviews: 3.5 stars (20 reviews) – More mixed reviews on Facebook with several citing poor customer service follow-up from Ovago.com.

While some Negative reviews exist, the majority of feedback for Ovago.com is positive particularly praising the tour experiences with local guides. More customer reviews over time will provide greater insight.

Guide Screening Process

Ovago.com claims to carefully screen all tour guides before accepting them onto their platform. Here are the key steps they take:

  • Application & documentation – Guides apply online and provide government IDs, licenses, and certificates showing expertise.
  • Background checks – Ovago.com conducts criminal background checks in the locales guides operate.
  • Interviews – Guides have intro calls with Ovago staff to assess their skills and experience.
  • Onboarding – Accepted guides undergo training about delivering Ovago tours and using the platform.
  • Ongoing monitoring – Ovago.com monitors guide performance through customer feedback and can remove poor performers.

This multi-step screening process is quite robust and involves more rigor than competitors like Airbnb Experiences. Ovago.com also provides each guide’s background details on their profile. The vetting helps travelers feel more secure.

Are There Any Red Flags About Ovago?

While Ovago.com exhibits many signs of legitimacy, potential travelers should still be observant of any concerning signals about the platform. Here are a couple to be aware of:

  • Limited reviews – With just over 200 customer reviews online, Ovago.com still has a limited public track record. More feedback shared over time will give a better assessment.
  • Possible fake reviews? – A few of the glowing Trustpilot reviews read suspiciously generic, potentially pointing to fake reviews. Though hard to confirm.
  • Refund difficulties – Some negative reviews cite challenges getting refunds from Ovago.com for cancelled or problematic tours. Standard in the travel industry, but important to know.

Overall however, there are no major glaring red flags associated with Ovago.com currently. As a startup it still needs to further build its reputation and review history.

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Best Practices for Using Ovago Safely

While Ovago.com seems legitimate, travelers should always exercise caution when booking with new platforms. Here are some tips for using Ovago.com securely:

  • Vet guides thoroughly – Carefully review guide profiles, qualifications, past reviews, and details on each tour activity before booking.
  • Research destination regulations – Ensure the tours comply with local tourism and activity regulations. Guides should be licensed if required.
  • Book with a credit card – Pay with a credit card when possible, never cash or wire transfer. This offers buyers protection for issues.
  • Confirm everything ahead – Call the guide ahead to confirm all details. Get their number and reconfirm meeting location/time.
  • Tell family/friends details – Share the tour details and guide’s contact information with your family/friends for safety.
  • Trust your instincts – If anything about the guide or activity seems questionable during the tour, speak up or end it early if necessary.

Conclusion

In summary, Ovago.com presents itself as a legitimate online platform for booking tours with local guides around the world. The company is backed by recognized investors, has positive press coverage, employs experienced founders, and offers transparent contact information – which are all good signs.

While still a young startup requiring more customer reviews over time, the feedback for Ovago.com so far skews positive – especially praising the tour experiences with local guides. Ovago.com also conducts robust guide screening using ID checks, interviews, background checks, and ongoing monitoring.

Potential travelers should still take basic precautions like vetting guides thoroughly, booking with a credit card, and trusting their instincts during tours. But for travelers seeking unique local experiences, Ovago.com can be considered a legitimate option, providing one is reasonably cautious. As a new company, consistently monitoring Ovago’s evolving reputation will also be prudent before booking future trips through their platform.

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