Viator Reviews

Viator
( 72 reviews )
Website: www.Viator.com

Viator is a global travel booking website that lets users plan a variety of popular tours, attractions, and experiences.

Viator is part of Tripadvisor, Inc. which has used their considerable resources to build a large marketplace that pairs travelers with tour operators and ticket sellers.

How Does Viator Work?

Much like booking a trip through TripAdvisor, Viator lets users price select from trips in a large number of popular global destinations.

Viator trips include:

  • Walking tours
  • Site visits
  • Day trips
  • Museums
  • Boat Cruises
  • Snorkel trips
  • And more

For travelers, Viator.com offers numerous ways to customize searches and also offers curated itineraries based on your profile and interests.

The company advertises flexible bookings, allowing travelers to make last minute changes.

For tour operators, Viator provides a providing a marketing and sales platform and access to their booking platform, making it easier for small tour operators to advertise and grow their business.

Viator also provides services for travel agents, allowing them to market and sell the tours available on the marketplace.

The platform allows customers to publicly review the tours and experiences on Viator.com, similar to how it works on TripAdvisor

This transparency should, in theory, incentivize all parties to strive to provide and recommend the best services for travelers. 

Managing and Canceling Reservations

Each tour page will have an 'Overview' and a 'What to Expect' section that should give you a a sample itinerary, time management info, and a good idea about how to prepare for your excursion.

Since popular destinations will have multiple tour options, it’s important to carefully read through the details to make sure you book the option that best meets your needs.

Viator states that most tour options will allow you to make changes to your booking up to 24 hours before the tour.  It's up to you to verify this ahead of time by reading the 'Terms and Conditions' of any option you book.

Further, each tour will have a 'Cancellation Policy' section which you should check before booking.  Activities have several types of cancellation policies.

  • Free Cancellation  - In most cases if you cancel at least 24 hours before start time you should qualify for a refund.

  • Moderate  -  You have to cancel at least 4 full days before the experience's start time to be eligible for a refund.

  • Strict - For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before start time.  For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3-6 full days ahead of start time.

Keep in mind that these cut off times are based on the local time of the destination.  Modifying or cancelling can be done from your account on Viator.com under the 'Cancel Booking' tab.

While Viator does advertise flexibility, it’s best practice to book activities and tours ahead of time as not all options will be available last minute.

Customer Support

Address:  400 1st Avenue, Needham, MA 02494
Phone number:  +1 (888) 651-9785
Email:  [email protected]

You can also use Viator's online help center to get answers to common questions regarding the use of the site or booking issues.

Viator Customer Reviews

Viator has mixed user feedback with a large number of negative reviews.

Obviously a company overseeing hundreds of thousands of global transactions is bound to generate at least some customer complaints.  We've noticed a few common complaints.

  • Miscommunications with tour operators resulting in missed/canceled/unsatisfactory experiences.

  • Issues attempting refunds, when accidentally booking non-refundable products or after problematic tours

  • General customer service issues

Viator does has an A+ rating with the BBB and their customer service reps routinely respond to complaints filed on that platform and offer to issue refunds.

Viator also receives many positive reviews from customers who appreciated the ease with which they were able to book international experiences.

Competitors and Alternatives

There are a large number of online tour companies that provide specific bookings, however there aren't many robust platforms like Viator.com.

Some other major brands that offer tour packages include Go Ahead Tours and Collette Tours.

Another alternative is to explore the recommendations found in your favorite travel guide books, travel magazines, or from local travel writers as those are usually well vetted.

Is Viator Legit?

While Viator is a legitimate company backed by publicly traded Tripadvisor Inc, the question remains whether Viator is actually a good company.

Overall, we believe there are pros and cons to using Viator.  

By searching online you can get a clear idea of what the market rates are for certain activities and also have the convenience of price matching and reading reviews from other customers.

You can also communicate directly with the tour operator and find out the information you need to know ahead of time.

Viator provides a platform to cancel or rebook your tour if your plans change (depending of the tour operators terms).

The risk with using Viator is that you are adding an extra layer between you and the service provider.  In most cases this isn’t an issue but, as many of the complaints can attest, failed communication can result in a ruined trip.

The best thing you can do is choose highly rated experiences and thoroughly read their negative reviews.  From those instances you can narrow down the issues to be aware of and hopefully take preemptive measures to ensure a smooth experience.

This can be as simple as messaging the operator ahead of time, asking questions, and making your needs known.

Ultimately it’s a personal decision whether to rely on a third party for your vacation bookings or take matters into your own hands at location or ahead of time.

If you have any experience with Viator or their services, please leave your reviews below.

Viator Customer Reviews

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fake tour, no support
December 15, 2023

tour description is fake: claims pickup - no pickup. claims 3 villages - 1 village. guest is supposed to pay for tour guides expenses like food and admission.

viator doesn't care to react and keeps claiming I went on the wrong tour or keeps citing the description. they do not care.

on other tours tour operators dont respond for weeks regarding pickup.

horrible company. offers horrible tours and horrible support. DONT USE VIATOR

Horrible service
November 24, 2023

Horrible experience with this company. Just in it for the payday not working with clients, and they do not amend anything for their clients if there are any barriers that prevent them from doing their trip, I will never book with this company again...

Cancelled Reservation - Catacombs, Paris
October 18, 2023

Very disappointed. I used Viator for several bookings in our recent trip to Paris – about 5 different events. I don’t give them points for getting the reservations right. That’s what they are supposed to do.

My disappointment was with a reservation made for a Catacombs tour I made on Oct 9 with a confirmation email. The tour date was Oct 14. On Oct 13, I received an email from Viator informing me of a message from our tour operator that “We regret to inform you that the requested time slot is currently unavailable due to high demand”. It offered an alternative time slot that I could have made work, except I had on hour to accept via email. Note that we were in Paris as tourists and very mobile. By the time I received the email, the window to accept had closed.

I get that many bookings can occur in a short window of time, What I find unacceptable is the four days it took to notify me.

Horrible Service! Got Charged But No Confirmation Email or Text With Information So Did Not Attend & Didn't Get Refund
October 16, 2023

I have booked several tours on viator; I am no longer a fan because they have very poor and short-sighted customer service. I asked for a refund for a tour I didn't get a confirmation for and thus didn't attend. I got a text a day before, but when I opened it, I got an error message. I didn't have time to contact them about the error message as I was driving and assumed they'd send another message without an error but they never did. They took no responsibility even though I spent 30 minutes on the phone with them with them saying they had no record of my account (even though the bank had charged me and the tour guide had called me to see why I wasn't at the tour). They wouldn't refund me even though I sent them a copy of the text with the error message. Had used them many previous times; will never do so again. Bad and unethical business practices in my opinion. What did they gain? They got $79 dollars from me for a service I did not obtain, an ex-customer and bad word of mouth. Not smart. Bad job Viator. Hopefully someone on your team cares about clients and starts acting more ethically.

Viator Tours Are A Scam
October 3, 2023
Booked Vatican tour and received confirmation from Viator of meeting point time and location. Upon arrival operator had no record of our booking. They contacted Viator and we were directed to a different operator at a different location. This operator told us the tour was rescheduled for later in the day but the revised time conflicted with other arrangements. When we notified Viator seeking refund we were denied. Viator claimed we went to the wrong address and the operator could not contact us even though we provided contact information to Viator.

Terrible service
August 4, 2023

Terrible company cancelled tour overnight. Rebooked at extra cost then sent link which did not work, just terrible. Then claims not their fault, do not use them for anything.

Don’t ever deal with them, i have been ripped off
July 4, 2023
Warning. I have been literally ripped off. I paid $760 for a family private tour of statute of liberty and Ellis island on July 3 and when I arrived, no one was there… none..nothing.. I kept waiting for more than one hour.. I reached to their local partner via the app, which is the only way they have provided, but no one replied. I also reached out to them by phone and by email. And guess what.. they emailed me saying “ we regret to inform you that we are unable to issue a refund for this booking”. I am a frequent traveler and have dealt with so many agents before, I have never seen such negligence.. a horrible experience by all means!

Bad Experience with Viator in Dominican Republic
June 10, 2023

Bad Experience with Viator in Dominican Republic

Booked Viator in Dominican Republic for our tour of Santo Domingo. Firstly, no prior arrangements made with us, just a random text saying "Hi" on Whatsapp. Just showed up at our hotel unannounced.

The Viator website advertised it to be a "private party" tour with ONLY my group. Turned out to be completely false.

First it was a minivan stuffed like sardines, with 13-14 people total and roaches EVERYWHERE.

Then we got taken to a gas station and deposited into a HUGE tour bus and over 40 people on the bus. The drivers were all insanely fast (it might be a Dominican Republic way of driving) For $500 USD....

I definitely would never do this again. Please consider booking your tour with the resort you are staying at. Double the price but much better experience.

Viator great sales nonexistent follow through…
May 3, 2023

Used Viator to book a walking tour of York, UK. They were the main “middle man” that came up in every search & could facilitate a booking. I booked through them, had a verbal conversation with one of their agents to ensure a good, secure booking. Jolly was her name & she was very helpful. Took my money quite easily too.

When we arrived for our tour there was no one waiting so we waited, walked around & eventually had to call my husband at home, to contact Viator as I only got a recorded message. He reached the actual TourCompany who said they had no bookings for that day. They followed through and found my booking. The tour guide lived locally & called me apologising profusely for this error (which was not his to apologise for). He arrived within 15 minutes and gave us an extraordinary tour, longer than we paid for and full of fascinating stories.

He claimed that Viator had been a consistent problem for their company as Viator was excellent at reaching people & getting them booked & taking their money but massively failed on follow through and confirmation with the tour company.

Do not trust Viator
April 30, 2023

They will not do anything at all to help you if you get ripped off by one of their tout listings, they will not even respond to you.

We booked several excursions for our family vacation in France through Viator, and when we had customer service issues and were not provided the services as described, Viator did absolutely nothing about it. Did not ever reply to us!

We spent over $1,500 for a Private, Guided tour of three castles in the Loire Valley.

The listing says specifically "Professional Guide" The reviews all talk about how knowledgeable the guide was, and how much information he had for them. For our trip there was no guide at all. I asked the drive if he would tell us about the valley and the castles before we arrived, and he said "I am not a guide, I am only a driver" He said he did not know where the guide was who usually rides with him!? So we drove for 2 1/2 hours to the castles in Silence!

We told Viator this is false advertising. The listing says specifically Professional Guide. We were not given the one main element of the trip we paid for.

Viator and the tour company did not even respond to us. We emailed, called and reviewed the company, no response at all. Viator completely let us down.

We also booked a Private Van to shuttle us from the airport to our hotel. They ended up leaving us standing in the airport for 90 minutes waiting. Every single other person on the plane had been picked up by the dozens of shuttle drivers waiting at the airport. We were the last group of people by far. So, it could not have been the traffic.

We called the company multiple times while we were waiting at the airport. They had forgotten about us. They sent a taxi instead, and he said he could not fit us. He said to us "I will be right back" Then literally walked out of the airport and just left. So, we had to call again and ask where is our private van we paid for?! So, we had to sit and wait and after 6 or 7 phone calls and 90 minutes later a van finally came. Isn't that a great way to start your vacation, after a 10 hour flight? You try to book reliable transportation for your family and end up with a headache trying to get to your hotel.

We ask for a partial refund. No response from the company and Nothing at all from Viator.

Viator will not help you if you have any issues with their listings. Even blatantly false advertising, they do not care and will not advocate on your behalf. The tour companies listing their services on Viator are their customers whom they make money from, not you.

Do not trust Viator!

Cheryl May 03, 2023

I feel your pain! We had a similar experience.

Never again
April 18, 2023

I just lost $420, I booked a tour for April 22,2023, and they confirmed my tour for April 15th, I called them, no help at all and I only asked for the date changed not a refund since it is no refund booking. I called viator and the local trip advisor, they're all from foreign countries as i understood. They were not kind enough to change my date. I don't know who made the mistake, but I should get the benefit of the doubt. I advise everyone to be careful of these people, it is just robbery. They are horrible, I will never book with them or Trip advisor again. I at least have rights to talk to someone in the USA.

Viator Partners with Bad-Faith Service Providers
April 3, 2023

I booked a tour of the Vatican Museums through Viator. I followed the instructions for picking up the tickets, but the tour operator never showed up and did not reply to my messages.

I contacted Viator for a refund, but they refused, citing that their "investigation" showed the tour operator had done their due diligence, even though I provided screenshots of the messages I sent and the lack of any messages received.

Viator partners with bad-faith actors and they know this, but they will not take responsibility for it whatsoever.

DO NOT USE VIATOR, unless you want to completely waste your time and lose money for nothing.

No Refunds for cancellations in Paris
March 25, 2023
We booked a tour for Musee d' Orsay in Paris for March 29 but in light of the strikes, museum closings, protests, etc., cancelled out trip to Paris. We were not given a refund and told our ticket was not refundable, never mind there is some question about whether or not it was going to be open.

Deserves no stars. Shoddy and unhelpful when things need sorting out
March 7, 2023

If I could give zero stars I would. My wife purchased a ticket for the VIP experience at Universal Studios Hollywood for our trip in June. I went to purchase the same tour and time however when I got to the payment page to confirm the booking the site came up with an error and wouldn't allow me to make payment and when I went back on to try again the tour time which I had selected had gone.

My wife's booking had gone through without a problem. I contacted Viator initially through live chat and was on for an hour only to be told that nothing could be done as the 'all sales were final'. I explained that I only wanted for my wife to be rebooked on another tour time so that I could purchase a ticket for the same time and said that the site had crashed when I got to the payment page and that tour time she selected was available at that time but not when I went back on and there was no point us having two separate tour times but I was told there was nothing they could do.

I then telephoned to speak with someone but yet again Viator staff hide behind policies with absolutely no flexibility even though £350 had just been paid for the ticket. I was told that it would be escalated to the dept who deals with tickets and my wife would hear back via email as she had booked the ticket but I got the impression this was simply to fob me off.

When she did hear back it was tough luck basically, nothing they could do and yet again it was repeating the policy. I made another call to them next day and after speaking with someone who initially I thought was going to resolve the matter, it turned out he didn't really understand what I was trying to do and in the end it was simply a repeat of their policy of no refunds (not that I was actually after a refund).

I asked to be put through to escalations only to be told that there wasn't such a department so someone was telling lies. There was no willingness to sort this issue out, no empathy for the problem and it was just getting fobbed off and quoting policy. The customer service in this company is an utter disgrace and I would not be buying from them again.

All well and good if you never need to contact them but seriously beware that they will not deal with your issue and will show no flexibility to their conditions. All sales are final is a complete con and something I'd expect from a dodgy ticket seller but not a supposed legitimate company. The distance selling regulations clearly don't apply to them.

Fortunately I did in the end manage to find another company (Attraction Tickets) who had the same time slot available. Be warned and expect nothing if you ever are in the unfortunate position of contacting them after purchase and make sure you read the fine print.

We missed the Miraflores Locks
February 25, 2023
We booked a Panama City and Miraflores Lock shore excursion tour through Viator. Our guide Rey did not judge the time properly and we were forced to miss the main part of our tour to the Miraflores Locks because we had to be back to our ship. We spent too much time in Panama city. We are Americans and did not appreciate his constant slurs about how Panama was "bullied" by the Americans.

Buyer beware
February 3, 2023

Viator refused to refund our money after cancelling our tour. I booked tickets Dec 2022 for Frida Kahlo Museum through trip advisors. Viator is the main company and the tour operator was Frida Tours 2022.

They send you confirmation of the purchase but not the tickets. I wrote to the tour operator via text on Facebook...the only way I could figure out how to contact them. We had a few conversations because I wanted to know how and when they would send the tickets and they kept giving me very vague answers.

Then they told me that if I wasn't comfortable with their practice I could cancel. When I told them I didn't want to cancel they went ahead and cancelled me anyway and told me I would get a refund. I went ahead and booked new tickets from viator through a different operator and they sent the tickets to us within days.

About 4 days before the tour, the original booking that I thought was cancelled sent me the tickets. So I ended up paying for both tickets that I did not need. PayPal refused to refund my money even though I sent them the screen shot of our text conversation and all the documentation.

Unfortunately for some tours viator is the only choice. Just book with a credit card instead of PayPal if you need to get your money back for any reason when dealing with these guys.

Stiffed by Viator
January 21, 2023

After repeated attempts to have my money refunded due to Viator not showing up for my Tour in Rome , Viator still refuses to make things right. They have my $500+ , and I only received a partial tour, due to them failing to show.

I have used Viator a lot in the past - never again
January 10, 2023
Viator does not follow through when the small businesses fail to provide services. I contracted for a hotel shuttle in Cancun in December. The company Coming2 never showed. I had to pay for rides to/from the airport at a significantly higher rate and was out that money as well. I asked for a refund and was flatly denied.

Avoid like the plague
December 24, 2022

Disgrace of a company. take your money change the pick up and do not let you acknowledge that you now this. they did not pick me up and then did not answer the numerous calls I made. no refunds and then some BS when you finally get through to them to speak they think you are making a claim.

Tickets with no value
December 11, 2022

Booked a number of tours in and around a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Tickets were rejected by tour operators at two out of four attractions in Singapore. I have been denied refunds. The other two had no facility to contact the tour operator. With the help of the concierges at Furama City Hotel managed to eventually contact tour operator 15 minutes after the tour had started.

Do not use this company. It is far easier to use the free wi-fi at the attractions and download your tickets to your phone or use the bar codes in several of the tourist booklets which offer substantial discounts.