Women are establishing themselves as powerful leaders in a variety of industries in the dynamic world of business, demonstrating their creativity, resiliency, and unique perspectives.
One such entrepreneur is Lauren, the driving force behind Like A Local Tours. She has transformed the travel and tourism industry with her innovative thinking, and she has also given tourists the tools they need to truly experience the neighbourhoods of New York City.
Lauren’s business journey was launched with the intention of using her corporate expertise to make a significant difference. She considered switching to the non-profit sector, but she was aware of how cutthroat the industry was.
Drawing inspiration from her exposure to travel and tourism during her tenure at a private equity firm, Lauren set her sights on a different path.
“I have always had an entrepreneurial streak, and the idea of creating something that bridges travel, community, and sustainability resonated with me,” Lauren shares. I became an entrepreneur when I saw the possibility of introducing tourists to New York City’s true character.
The Birth of Like A Local Tours
Like many impactful start-ups, the birth of Like A Local Tours was organic, born from Lauren’s keen observation of an unmet need. Having relocated to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, before it gained its widespread recognition, she witnessed an interesting phenomenon – tourists flocking to the mainstream attractions in Manhattan while bypassing the vibrant culture of Brooklyn. This insight served as the impetus for the creation of Like A Local Tours.
Lauren says, “I saw an opportunity to reimagine how travellers perceive New York City.
“Our focus was not just on Brooklyn but on a holistic view of the city, bridging the gap between the lesser-explored neighbourhoods and curious travellers.”
What Sets Like A Local Tours Apart
Like A Local Tours stands apart because to its consistent dedication to developing relationships. These collaborations encompass small enterprises, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, and community organisations in addition to more conventional tourist attractions. Lauren thinks that these alliances have stitched the real tale of New York City together.
Lauren claims that “our tours are not just about sightseeing; they are about building genuine connections.” We create immersive experiences that go beyond the ordinary by working with local organisations, enabling tourists to integrate into the lively fabric of the city.
Promoting Responsible and Sustainable Exploration
With responsible tourism becoming an imperative, Like A Local Tours has proactively woven sustainability into its core. The core of the business is immersive walking tours that introduce tourists to neighbourhood businesses and community projects. This dedication resulted in the Social Impact Initiative’s founding during a break in the epidemic, which caused a significant change in its strategy.
“We wanted every tour to have a lasting positive impact,” Lauren emphasizes. The act of discovery has been transformed into a worthwhile effort that gives back to the community via the integration of social impact partners into our trips.
Navigating Towards Tomorrow
The expansion of its Corporate Tours programme in the constantly changing post-pandemic work dynamics is the ambitious vision that has been driving Like A Local Tours’ trajectory. Lauren predicts that as remote and hybrid work models gain popularity, there will be a renewed focus on in-person team-building events that also encourage community involvement.
According to Lauren, “our tours have established a connection between corporate teams and regional communities.” “Whether it’s discovering the local neighbourhoods or trying the cuisine, every tour we offer carries a strong social impact element that aligns with the values of companies looking to make a difference.”
A Stepping Stone to Success
Lauren understands there will surely be obstacles in her path to success.
“In a city with a plethora of attractions and experiences, standing out requires a unique approach,” she acknowledges. “We responded to this by embracing what makes us unique, like our partnerships, devoted tour guides, and dedication to showcasing local businesses.”
Balancing Passion and Profession
Since the birth of her kid, Lauren has become an expert at balancing her duties at work and at home.
She was forced by the shift to make strategic choices, such as employing a dedicated Director of Operations to split the duties.
“The birth of my baby and the choice to recruit a full-time employee was crucial,” says Lauren. “I’ve been able to devote time to both my family and my business without compromising on either by assembling a trustworthy team.”
For Like A Local Tours, word-of-mouth and online presence form the cornerstone of effective marketing. Their exposure is enhanced by a strong internet presence, interesting social media outlets, and favourable client feedback. Additionally highlighting the relevance of partnerships with NYC Tourism, Lauren also highlights their prominence.
“We believe in the power of authentic experiences, and our marketing reflects that,” says Lauren. Our message has been further boosted via our partnership with NYC Tourism and interactions with the media and influencers.
Celebrating Special Moments
Among the stories that have sprung from Like A Local Tours, one stands out vividly. While test-driving the Sustainable Harlem Tour with friends, Lauren witnessed the serendipitous intersection of their path with the founder of an organisation she admired. This chance meeting led to a fruitful cooperation that perfectly captures the spirit of the business.
Championing Diversity in a Dynamic Landscape
Lauren attests to the forward-thinking nature of the travel and tourism industry compared to her previous corporate environment. She acknowledges that there is still work to do for real inclusion despite the advances. One of the reasons she finds the sector so motivating is because it promotes diversity and inclusiveness. “Leadership and mentoring support has strengthened my journey even more.”
Community Building via Collaboration
Collaboration with local businesses and community initiatives isn’t just a strategy for Like A Local Tours – it is a core principle. The company constantly searches out collaborations that highlight regional companies, craftspeople, and business owners. This strategy not only enhances the traveller’s experience but also helps the local economy thrive.
Message for aspiring business owners
Lauren offers sage guidance to ambitious female business owners in the travel and tour industry.
“Believe in the value of your vision,” she advocates. “Nurture resilience, seek guidance from mentors, and remain adaptable to the changing landscape. Your guiding principles should be authenticity and sustainability, which appeal to a generation looking for meaningful travel.
The story of Lauren and Like A Local Tours captures the strength of creativity, inter-community cooperation, and environmentally friendly methods. Lauren is pioneering a transformational way of experiencing and giving to New York City through her entrepreneurial endeavours. She is not just illuminating the city’s untold stories.