You're traveling somewhere and want to make a few restaurant reservations, but have no idea where to go. You've recently moved somewhere and are trying to find your way around administration, banking, and all that other practical stuff. You need to go to the doctor abroad and would like to bring an interpreter. Or maybe you just want to hang with a local on your next trip.
That's what MeetnGreetMe is for.
What is MeetnGreetMe?
MeetnGreetMe is a platform where locals can offer services to people traveling to their hometown or country, and where travelers can find locals to arrange all kinds of things for them, guide them around or even accompany them and act as an interpreter.
A few examples of services offered on MeetnGreetMe are:
- booking accommodation
- help with shopping
- driving you around
- explanation of local etiquette
- booking activities
- guiding you around
- finding contacts
- taking photos
They all fall under one of the following five categories:
By helping locals offer these services to travelers, MeetnGreetMe hopes to help travelers feel welcome everywhere they go, have an enriched experience and offer an opportunity to locals to showcase both their skills and their home.
Who are these locals?
MeetnGreetMe is not the place to come looking for a professional event planner, travel planner or guide (even though you may still find them among the locals listed). Its primary goal is not to connect you with expensive service providers, but with people who know your destination and can help make your stay there more comfortable.
Those can be native people, but also expats who've been living there for a while already and who, let's face it, have probably explored more of the place than some of the local residents.
Everyone 18+ years old can become a Greeter, but there are a few systems in place to make sure the people you're hiring aren't creeps (because, let's be honest, that's a fear a lot of us have).
Locals who want to become Greeters first sign up to the platform and create a profile. They specify which services they want to deliver and then need to wait until they get verified. Only once they're verified, can they start accepting requests from travelers.
So how does verification work?
Greeters get verified when they've proven their identity by:
- connecting their Facebook account
- connecting their Linkedin account
- connecting their Twitter account
- uploading a photo of their passport
- having their email address verified
- having their phone number verified
- uploading a video
Their profiles and private information won't be publicly displayed, but travelers will be able to see that they've used these methods to get verified.
How does it work for travelers?
They're two ways you can look for a Greeter. Either you fill out a form detailing which services you're looking for and where, and then MeetnGreetMe will return fitting Greeters, or, you can simply go to the page for your destination and check the profiles of the local personal assistants there.
Aside from the services they offer, their profiles list what languages they speak, how much they charge per service or per hour and how they're verified (for example, through Facebook, Linkedin, their phone number or their passport). It also has a little about section where the locals can introduce themselves.
If you're not sure whether a certain is a good fit for your needs, you can send them a message cost-free. Actually, you can have an entire conversation with them just to make sure that everything is clear and they can do what you're looking for. More importantly, this can give you an idea of whether you'll click with the local in case you're hiring them as an interpreter or a guide.
Once you've decided on a Greeter, you can send them a request. This is where you specify which services you need and, in case of hourly services, for how many hours you need them.
Note: you can browse MeetnGreetMe without creating a profile, but if you want to send in a request, you'll need to create one.
Based on your request, the local Greeter will create a proposal for you with a final price. It's important to note that this price can be a little higher than the sum of the prices of the services you've requested. This is because Greeters have the option to add expenses, for example for taking public transportation to come and meet you.
If you accept their proposal, you'll be asked to pay upfront. Payment happens through a secure payment platform and is only released to the Greeter once they've performed the services you've agreed on.
It is possible both for Greeters and for travelers to cancel a deal. What happens then and how much of your payment you'll get back as a traveler, depends on who cancels what when.
After you've received the services, you can leave feedback (like a review) for the Greeter.
How much does it cost?
Greeters set their own prices for each service they provide and MeetnGreetMe takes a 20% commission on whatever the Greeter decides to charge. This means there can be a big difference in the prices for some services, so it's best to look around and compare before you decide on a Greeter.
My experience with MeetnGreetMe
MeetnGreetMe provided me with a voucher to try out their service. As I always say I need to visit Brussels more, I decided to book Elisar to take me for some second-hand shopping in our capital.
Elisar lives in Antwerp but studies at the University of Brussels and ventures into the center multiple times a week. She and I immediately hit it off. This didn't entirely come as a surprise as I could tell from her profile that we have a lot of things in common – but even when that's the case, characters sometimes just don't click.
Luckily, conversation with Elisar went smoothly and we even helped each other pick a new outfit. It was like going shopping with a friend, really.
In regards to that, I think it can go either way. There are probably MeetnGreeters who plan their trips with travelers meticulously so that it almost feels as if you've hired a tour guide, but with Elisar, it was more like having booked a friend for the day.
She and I have decided to stay in touch and agreed that I'd let her know next time I'm in Antwerp so that we can scout the racks of second-hand stores there as well.
Get a discount on your own MeetnGreetMe experience!
Want to try out MeetnGreetMe as well? I can give away a 10% discount on any orders over $50. Just use the coupon code WONDERFULWANDERINGS when placing your order.
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I was invited by MeetnGreetMe to try out the platform and share my experiences with you. As always when I work together with brands, what and how I wrote about that experience, was and will always be entirely up to me.