Onboarding Guide

Last updated: 13 January 2024

Overview

Welcome to Pletoura!

Pletoura is a platform that provides experience planning and hosting services within the Southeast Asia region. Our platform encompasses 11 countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam.

As a host with Pletoura, you will have the opportunity to share your love and passion for Southeast Asia with our guests. Our hosts are based within the region and are knowledgeable about its diverse cultures, landscapes, and cuisines.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started as a Pletoura host, including an overview of our platform, your responsibilities as a host, and the support and resources available to you. We are excited to have you on board and look forward to working with you to create unforgettable travel experiences for our guests.

How did Pletoura start?

Almost everything you see on the website, social media, and in the emails is curated by Angie, one of the hosts. If you have read my host profile, I work as a web developer by trade.

Traveling has been an integral part of my life since 2016. I spent sabbaticals in Europe, exploring nine countries within a year. In 2019, I started hosting guests at my place, gaining first-hand experience in connecting with travellers and guiding them through the city. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, I left my full-time job and ventured into freelance IT work, which I’ve continued to pursue to this day.

Hosting travellers has always been a passion of mine that I wanted to expand upon. I could create a website and share my experiences, but there’s only so much I can achieve on my own. Hence, I founded Pletoura in 2023, fuelled by my love for Southeast Asia and a desire to connect with like-minded individuals.

It will take some time to establish a reputation while managing day-to-day expenses on my modest salary. However, with networking and your support to bring Pletoura into the spotlight, I believe we can achieve this!

To stay updated on my journey in building Pletoura, you can follow this roadmap on Trello!

Host Responsibilities

We believe that travel is an opportunity to connect with people and cultures in meaningful ways, and we are committed to providing our guests with unique and authentic travel experiences. As a Pletoura host, you will play an important role in making this happen. In this section, we will outline your responsibilities as a host, and provide guidance on how you can ensure that your guests have an unforgettable experience.

  1. Plan and organize the experience: You will plan and organize experiences, including but not limited to selecting attractions, arranging transportation, and making reservations. You should have a deep understanding of the region and be able to provide valuable insights to your guests to help them make the most of their experience.
  2. Share your knowledge and expertise: As a local expert, share your knowledge and expertise with your guests. This includes introducing them to the local culture, history, and customs, as well as providing recommendations for local food and activities. You may also engage local guides who can provide more extensive knowledge and enrich your guests’ experience.
  3. Ensure safety and security: You are responsible for ensuring the safety and security of your guests throughout the experience. This includes taking necessary precautions, such as avoiding high-risk areas or activities, and being prepared for emergencies.
  4. Maintain professional conduct: You are expected to maintain a high level of professionalism at all times, including dressing appropriately, being punctual, and communicating clearly and effectively with your guests. Your behaviour should be respectful, courteous, and inclusive, and you should avoid any behaviour that may make your guests or local people feel uncomfortable or unsafe. As a Pletoura host, you are expected to uphold our values of inclusivity, diversity, and respect for all individuals, including the local communities and cultures that we visit.
  5. Represent Pletoura: As a Pletoura host, you are representing our platform and our values. You should conduct yourself in a manner that reflects positively on Pletoura and our commitment to providing unique and authentic travel experiences.

Remember, your guests are trusting you to provide them with an unforgettable experience. By fulfilling these responsibilities, you can help create unforgettable travel experiences that your guests will cherish for a lifetime.

How our platform works

  1. Experience design: In your onboarding email, you should have received a host profile template and experience detail template in Google Form format. These templates contain sufficient details on what needs to be included in your experience listing. After submitting them, we will vet through the experiences to ensure they meet Pletoura’s standards. We will discuss with you if any amendments are required. Once the experiences have passed this process, we will proofread, edit, design and publish them accordingly.
  2. Managing your listings: After your experiences have been published on our platform, you can update or modify details such as the itinerary, pricing, and availability at any time by emailing us the changes. However, please note that making drastic changes to a published listing is not recommended. We suggest that you notify us immediately if there are any significant changes to your experiences.
  3. Experience booking: When a guest books your trip, you will receive a notification from our designated WhatsApp number (+60) 10 928 6921. You will be able to view the details of the booking, including the trip date, time, and any specific requests from the guest. As the host, you will need to confirm the booking through the same WhatsApp channel so that we can notify the guest and collect payment. Please note that cancellation and payment policies will be in effect based on the agreement that was made during the experience design stage.
  4. Host payment: We use Wise, a foreign exchange company that makes international money transfers fast and seamless, to pay your remuneration. This allows us to make the payment to your preferred bank account, in any preferred currency, while absorbing any accompanying fees. Payment will be made within 7 days of the completion of the trip. Please ensure that you provide us with accurate payment information when requested.
  5. Handling inquiries: Sometimes, a guest may have inquiries or requests regarding your experiences. We will facilitate this with you via the same WhatsApp channel mentioned above. You should respond to these inquiries in a timely and professional manner to ensure a positive customer experience.

Note that our platform is constantly evolving and we may update our processes from time to time to improve the user experience. We will notify you of any changes and provide support to ensure that you are comfortable with us. If you have any questions or concerns about the process, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Safety and Security

  1. General safety guidelines: You should follow general safety guidelines to ensure the safety of your guests. This includes being aware of your surroundings, avoiding dangerous areas, and keeping valuables secure. You should also be aware of any potential scams or thefts that are common in the area, and advise your guests on how to avoid them.

  2. Emergency procedures: In case of an emergency, you should keep a list of emergency numbers for the country of travel that you can contact when needed. This list should be shared with guests at the start of the experience if needed. In addition, you should be aware of the emergency protocols for any activities or experiences that you are providing, and should communicate these protocols to your guests.

  3. Insurance requirements: You are strongly recommended to hold a valid travel insurance or related insurance to protect yourself during the experience. Pletoura will not be involved in this process at this time, but may plan to do so in the future as an incentive to our hosts. You should also make sure to communicate to your guests about the importance of having their own travel insurance.

  4. Health and safety: You should prioritize your own health and safety, as well as that of your guests. You should obtain necessary vaccinations and take precautions against common illnesses when required. You should also be aware of any local health and safety regulations that apply to your activities or experiences, and ensure that they are in compliance with them.

  5. Risk assessment: You should conduct a risk assessment of your activities and experiences during the planning stage to identify any potential hazards, and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. You should communicate these risks to your guests and provide clear instructions on how to avoid them. You should also make sure that your guests are aware of any potential risks associated with the destination, such as natural disasters, crime, or political unrest.

  6. Reporting incidents: In case of any incidents or accidents, you should ensure your own safety and that of your guests before notifying Pletoura via WhatsApp. You should document any relevant information related to the incident, such as photos, witness statements, and police reports, in case legal procedures are necessary.

  7. Communication: You should communicate clearly and effectively with your guests during the experience. This includes setting expectations for behaviour and conduct, and establishing open lines of communication for guests to voice any concerns or issues. You should also be prepared to handle any potential conflicts or issues that may arise during the experience, and have a plan in place to address them.

Quality and Standards

As a Pletoura host, you represent our brand and are responsible for delivering high-quality experiences to our guests. To ensure that our guests have a memorable and positive experience, we have established the following quality standards:

  • Communication: You must maintain clear and timely communication with your guests before, during, and after the experience. Respond to their queries and concerns promptly, and be proactive in providing updates and information related to the experience.

  • Professionalism: You must maintain a professional demeanour at all times, and adhere to the cultural norms and customs of the country you are operating in. Dress appropriately, behave respectfully, and refrain from using inappropriate language or engaging in activities that could compromise your reputation or the reputation of our brand.

  • Personalization: You should strive to personalize the trip to meet the unique needs and interests of your guests. This could include customizing the itinerary based on needs, offering local insights and recommendations, or tailoring the experience to their preferences.

  • Safety: You must prioritize the safety and well-being of your guests at all times. Follow the safety guidelines and recommendations provided in the Safety and Security section of this guide, and ensure that your guests are aware of any potential risks or hazards associated with the experience.

  • Satisfaction: Ultimately, your goal should be to ensure that your guests are satisfied and have a positive experience. Encourage them to provide feedback and reviews, and use this information to improve your services and enhance the overall quality of our brand.

Payment and Commissions

As a Pletoura host, you will earn commissions on each completed booking made through our platform. The commission structure is as follows:

  • You will receive 90% of the booking fee for each completed booking
  • Pletoura will retain a 10% commission fee for each completed booking

Payment will be made through Wise, and will be processed within 7 days of the completion of the tour. It is important to keep in mind that the commission fee is used to maintain and improve our platform, marketing efforts, and customer support.

In addition, please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that your payment information is accurate and up-to-date with us. Failure to provide accurate payment information may result in payment delays or errors.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding payment or commissions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Legal and Compliances

As a host, it is your responsibility to comply with all applicable laws and regulations related to hosting activities, including but not limited to permits, licenses, taxes, and insurance. You should also ensure that all activities and experiences offered to guests are legal and do not violate any laws or regulations. For example, if you plan to offer a guided tour of a national park, you should obtain any necessary permits or licenses from the relevant authorities before offering the tour, or else hire a licensed guide. You may refer to the service agreement sent to your email for more information regarding this.

Support

We are always here to support you in your journey as a host. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via email at hello@pletoura.com or WhatsApp. We are happy to assist you with any issues or difficulties you may encounter during your planning or hosting experience. We are dedicated to ensuring that you have a smooth and enjoyable experience with Pletoura.

Additionally, we will provide you with regular updates and news about Pletoura and the tourism industry in general to keep you informed and up-to-date through a monthly newsletter delivered to your email.

Additional Resources

Experience design format: We highly recommend referring to Merake Adventures and 57 Hours for inspiration in designing your experiences. While Pletoura is not an exclusive adventure travel company like them, their format in presenting their offers is something we like to emulate. By referring to these websites, you can gain insights into the structure and content of a well-designed experience.

Pricing your experience: At Pletoura, we understand the importance of pricing your experiences and activities correctly. To assist you in this process, we have developed a customized budget and expense table in a Google Sheet, which you can easily access by making a copy to your Drive (File > Make a Copy). This tool is designed to provide guidance on pricing considerations. Simply hover over the cells marked with a black triangle to view explanations of their purpose. We have also included a sample sheet for reference. However, please note that this is a guide, and if you already have your own pricing template, feel free to use it instead.

We also suggest checking out these two articles 5 tips to find the right price for your tours and activities and 7 tips to find the right price for your tours to find the right price for your experiences. As a basic rule of thumb, start with the potential expenses, then price your time at an hourly rate or other, and finally factor in the platform commission.

Guiding and hosting: To help you develop your skills as a great tour guide and host, we recommend watching “What makes a great tour guide and host?“, a TED talk by Rick Steves. This talk provides valuable insights into the practices and skills that make a tour guide and host successful. It can also help you develop a greater enthusiasm for pursuing this job.

Stay updated on Southeast Asia: The South East Asia Travel Show is a weekly podcast that provides insights and updates on the latest travel and tourism developments in the region. This is a great resource to stay up-to-date with trends, news, and insights related to Southeast Asia travel. Additionally, we recommend following local travel blogs and social media accounts to stay informed about the latest happenings in the areas where you will be hosting your experiences.

"Passion"

Anthony Bourdain was known for his deep love and appreciation for Southeast Asia, particularly its food and culture. He often spoke about his passion for the region, and here’s a quote that captures his sentiment:

“I think food, culture, people, and landscape are all absolutely inseparable… I think you have to experience a place through its food. I really do. That’s the only way to get to know a culture.” – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain believed that food was a way to understand and appreciate the nuances of a culture, and Southeast Asia’s diverse and vibrant food scene clearly resonated with him. He often expressed admiration for the region’s street food, hawker stalls, and local markets, and frequently highlighted the beauty of Southeast Asia’s landscapes and people in his shows. Let us apply the same passion in the experiences we provide and make unforgettable memories not just for our guests, but for ourselves too!

2023 Pletoura by Inspired Trip | Images from Unsplash

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