I completely lost trust in Viator. I don’t know the ins and outs of Viator but I’m pretty sure there is something I am not being told. I’ve been using Viator for a while now and without any hitches. After the pandemic though, it’s been a rough go.
My first issue was on a trip to Tunisia in January when I was pretty sure I had a private tour and ended up on a group tour. I contemplated asking for a refund but decided against it as the tour guide was pretty decent and I had minimal issues with the tour.
My second issue came in February on a trip to the Dominican Republic where I booked a day trip to Isla Sonoa. The morning of the tour came and so did the driver but there was no room for me. There were five of us and four seats in the car. It became evident that I was the only one who didn’t receive a confirmation text and so I got left behind. I reached out to the tour company and was told they canceled the tour a day prior but I was never notified by Viator. I then attempted to book a replacement tour and had no such luck.
This piqued my interest and so while in Nepal in April I asked a tour guide about how Viator works and got some real keen insight. Apparently, they have their own tours and they also do tours via Viator but opt to keep their business alive rather than Viator. He confessed there have been times he didn’t go on Viator tours and did his own bookings instead. The obvious problem here is what happens to the customers whose trips are canceled but this makes me think what is the pay structure of these tours? Is a majority of the money going to Viator and are the guides not compensated correctly? I am not sure.
On a recent trip to Chile, however, the problems became more glaring. I was in Chile for three days and booked three separate trips via Viator. Trip number one was a walking tour of the city. The guide messaged me while at the airport, stating he was already booked and would have to cancel but he would notify Viator. I got an email with a refund shortly after.
Trip number two was a day trip to Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar in Chile. I waited in the lobby for two hours and the guide was a no-show. I contacted Viator and even they couldn’t get a hold of the guide. Instead of refunding my money instantly, I was told they'd have to email the tour operator before issuing a refund. This doesn’t make you feel valued as a customer because it seems even when you’re honest, you still have to prove yourself.
Lastly, after the second debacle, I asked Viator to contact the third company and confirm my tour. I was assured I would get a message at 9:30 pm that night to confirm the tour but shortly after it was canceled.
I spent a total of three days in the country and had to seek alternatives for all three days. As a company head, this is not the image you want for a company and I hope you seek to correct this quickly. To the tour operators, when you cancel trips, you’re sticking it to the customers, not Viator so please keep that in mind when missing tours.
Has anyone experienced this so far? Judging by the reviews on some tours, it’s becoming a major problem and one that needs to be addressed.
Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any parties mentioned. None of the entities mentioned has reviewed, approved, or endorsed the content listed in this post.