The direction makes sense in my view.
Tutorful are carving out their identity as a best-in-class online tutoring provider. This attracts clients from all across the country, esp. in rural areas where it is not easy to find local, F2F tutors. Students will be faced with the choice of either continuing with local F2F tutors (using other portals) or trying out potentially higher quality tutors from an easily accessible pool of online tutors using a seamless online classroom. This arguably brings in more revenue. Call this A
Most people are saying that Tutorful gets less enquiries from F2F students because they are online-only. This could be slightly wrong. If you Google for tutors with your local area name (e.g. Maths tutor Richmond), you will get Tutorful’s link displaying ‘Maths Tutors in Richmond Upon Thames - 620 Tutors From …’. When you click on it, you will get local tutors under the banner of ’ Here is a selection of our online Maths tutors in Richmond Upon Thames’. So the functionality of local tutors is somewhat retained. If some tutors are not getting enough enquiries because of being pushed down the listing, then someone else is, who also pay a commission to TF. You could argue that people may not Google with the local area name in which case, I agree the revenue could be lost. Call this revenue loss B
The simple logic then becomes A being greater than B, which works for Tutorful. Moving into other countries brings in an additional revenue stream as students from many countries look up to the UK’s education system. Therefore, all in all, more revenue for TF.
Overall, I think this is a disruptive, yet smart way of differentiating through competition. It personally hasn’t worked well for me either, having lost 80% demand, but from a business model perspective, I would do it if I was Tutorful.