We’re shocked to hear about events booking portal Zerve shutting down over the holiday weekend with scant notice after a failed attempt at marketing the company for merger and acquisition.

This is terrible for the hundreds of small tour companies who rely on their services, and sad for the Zerve folks who are out of a job. A reliable tour booking portal and customer help line ought to be a viable business model that can grow steadily for years. But money mad Silicon Valley only wants jackpots, and tough luck for anyone who thought they were in business with a company that was committed to providing a service, not looking to cash out or, failing that, to quit.

We were not a Zerve client, but have heard good things about them from our independent tour operator colleagues.

As for Esotouric, we manage our own tour reservations with Shopify, and recommend their sales portal to other small tour operators who have some web development savvy or comfort hiring a programmer to set them up. The costs are lower and support and functionality are great. Tickets are sold directly on our website and all potential customer contacts come directly to us, which we like, because our gentle riders are interesting people.