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Portugal has been experiencing a tourism boom for the last 10 years. Initially, local tour guides were successful. However, they faced challenges due to the increasing number of cheap and low-quality international operators entering the market. Most tour operators were bidding for the same customers, with the same offer, via the same channels. Operators struggled to stand out only by their modes of transport and TripAdvisor ratings, which led to lower prices. This hit boutique agencies like Teresa Vaz Tours the hardest as they struggled to compete against global brands with big marketing budgets and well-established partnerships.

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Our research revealed that the majority (approx. 80%) of the market were young Europeans or Asians looking for an affordable holiday. The other 20% comprised of a highly profitable niche market willing to pay more for unique and quirky experiences. This minority didn’t see themselves in any large, corporatized brand and was frustrated, feeling they were forced to choose between luxury and more value-oriented operators taking people to the same well-known hotspots. CUT THRU’s research revealed a lucrative gap in a market with research showing the majority of affluent customers were couples where the primary decision makers were women.


CUT THRU wanted to create a brand that appealed to the core decision makers (women) and non-conformists sick of waiting in lines at common “tourist-traps”. We positioned Teresa Vaz Tours as a unique alternative to the big international competitors by introducing a female-oriented 'Anti-Tour Company' concept. It had to be a brand for travelers wanting to experience a darker, less frequented side of Portugal. Their mission now centered around giving people a truly local experience by showing them what they’re not meant to see. MissGuided was born, bearing a descriptive, counter-intuitive name that sparked interest, intrigue and got cut-through in a noisy market. Whether it was mass graves or drug dens, MissGuided grew rapidly as their brand became synonymous with novel, unsanitized and uniquely human experiences.

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CUT THRU helped put Miss Guided on the map by creating a contentious brand that got us noticed in a noisy market dominated by large, well funded competitors. Through attacking their weaknesses and better championing our strengths, us girls were able to mop the floor with the big boys.

Teresa Vaz

Founder | Missguided Tours Portugal