TOURING & CRUISING

Case study – “Teeming” up with Teeming River Cruises – POPGuide

The scenario
The founders of Teeming Vacation Rentals, Jeff and Gina Paglialonga, have been in the travel industry for over 10 years. They are avid travelers and have explored distant lands and immersed themselves in the culture of some of the world’s most stunning cities and fascinating countries on cruise ships, with ships becoming their floating hotels. After recently branching out from “ocean cruisers” to “river cruisers”, they recognized a need for a different kind of river cruise. They have designed their new river cruises with the traveler in mind, inspiring the additional tag line “~ Teeming River Cruisers, “by Travelers for Travelers”.

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The opportunity
Teeming aspired to bring a more affordable approach to the river cruise industry, offering their guests the option to pay only for those experiences in which they wish to participate. They wanted cruisers to be able to be free to explore on their own and at their own pace, to have more time for personal exploration and shopping instead of being regimented to a short window of time on group tours. They needed a cost-effective tool which helped travellers in their free time and allowed for local mapping while using their ship as “home”. They wanted to have an efficient channel for communicating insider knowledge on local attractions for their clients along with the possibility of suggesting excursions and walking itineraries.

The solution
Teeming was one of the first companies to pioneer the use of POPGuide, a state-of-the-art content audio guide of the most sought-after ports, with the addition of an offline map (no roaming costs), offline navigation between the points of interest and a “Get Me Back To The Ship” button. This app was branded with their logo and available in multi-language, and above all, the new technology fit perfectly with Teeming’s business model of more freedom and personal control for the river cruise guest.

The result
The Teeming branded app reached the company goals of offering “more affordability, more flexibility, more active-lifestyle options, more control for each individual cruiser, more hands-on experiences, more time in port, and more immersion in the local culture” consequently leading to better passengers’ satisfaction. Moreover, Teeming received constructive feedback data on visitor behaviour and activity trends, which was invaluable for planning. Subsequently Ralph Grizzle, founder of RiverCruiseAdvisor.com, gave the following review “…. I believe its founders fill a void for those seeking river cruises with equivalent costs to do-it-yourself land-based trips in Europe. And while I am not endorsing Teeming River Cruises, I feel that its product is worth a look for those who have always dreamed of doing a river cruise but could not justify the cost.”

Case study – Cruise Ship Shore Excursions in the Orkney Islands – Tour Guide System

The scenario
European Cruise Service has been the main provider of cruise services for foreign cruise ships calling Norwegian ports and fjords for more than 160 years. Currently they operate in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, United Kingdom, Ireland and Russia. Their wide variety of shore excursions gives each guest the opportunity to enrich their cruise vacation and make each port and excursion something to remember fondly.

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The opportunity
Cruise ship passengers have high expectations of their experience whilst in each port visited by their vessel. Given that cruise ships typically handle larger numbers of passengers, the task of local guides to effectively manage such quantities of passengers is not always straightforward, as noise pollution can easily ruin the passenger experience. The ESC’s top priority is in fact the individuality of each passenger’s experience. On guided tours it’s crucially important for each guest to hear every word of the guide’s commentary whilst having the freedom to enjoy a moment of their trip by taking photos or pausing to take a closer look at indicated spots.

The solution
European Cruise Service decided to offer Vox’s tour guide systems as a solution to the tour guides’ ever-increasing difficulties and to match their clients’ expectations of evermore enriched experiences. Their client Princess Cruises was the first to benefit from the introduction of Vox Tour Guides for their passengers. They carried out a port call in Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkney archipelago in Northern Scotland with a shore excursion of over 900 people. Princess Cruises and ECS adopted the Vox Tour Guide System ensuring crystal clear audio, confident that every guest would hear the words of their guide. To achieve this, Vox coordinated the timely delivery of sufficient systems from London all the way to Aberdeen then by ship to the Orkney Islands.

The result
With guides speaking into a Vox transmitter pre-set to its own unique frequency, voice commentary was clearly heard by passengers within a 200-metre radius, allowing each tour to flow in a fluid motion and removing the need for the guides to raise their voice. Princess Cruises and their passengers were highly satisfied with their Kirkwall experience. With this increase in customer satisfaction Prince Cruises decided to include Vox Tour Guide Systems in their 2018 UK programme. European Cruise Service now have included the Vox Tour Guide System as an inexpensive, added-value option to complement any future client shore excursion programmes.

Case study – How to escape from the crowds of the Forbidden City – Tour Guide System

The Scenario
The Forbidden City is the huge palace complex in central Beijing. It is the magnificent architectural complex of the former Imperial Palace (from the Ming to the Qing Dynasty), and today the Palace Museum houses a vast collection of paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and antiquities. The Forbidden City was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and receives millions of visitors annually.

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The opportunity
This historic location suffers from over tourism, and visitors are often unable to enjoy its charm due to the vast crowds and noise pollution. As if that was not enough, the visitors also have to cram together to hear their guide, leading to bottlenecks in crowd flow, and at the same time they still risk missing the guide’s commentary. Topping all this, the negative reviews and UGC created by frustrated visitors is placing the reputation of this unique location at risk.

Travel agencies and tour operators need to quickly and cost effectively offer a reliable solution to this alarming situation. Their local guides need a tool to assist them in efficiently dealing with the huge numbers of multi-language visitors. Guides need to be heard without straining their voices and visitors need to be able not only to hear clearly, but also not get lost or lose their guide.

The Solution
Vox audio guide systems proved to be a good solution for over-tourism in the Forbidden City. In 2016 the international tour operator CYTS decided to use the Vox Radio Guides for their tours, more specifically for incoming tourists interested in a guided tour of the Forbidden City tour.

The guides were extremely happy with the devices which were easy to use and meant that their words were heard, and their visitors were very satisfied with the tour. Finally, the travel operator CYTS was able to offer their groups a peaceful and informative visit to this unique location, greatly reducing the stress for everyone involved.

The superior technology of the Vox Radio Guides, and the working range of over 300 meters, meant the guides were able to communicate clearly to the visitors through the earphones, without their voice getting lost in the crowd.

The Results
After the success of the first season the Tour Operator CYTS decided to increase the number of Radio Guided tours to all the experiences that they offered. In 2017 their reviews improved, and their number of pre-booked tours increased, meaning they were better able to organize their tour agenda, further improving the visitor flow issues.

The evident enhancement and success of the Radio Guides lead to the CYTS also utilizing the Vox system in their proposed outbound tours. Today their business is flourishing and their client satisfaction in just two years has increased three-fold. In 2018 CYTS decided to seal an exclusive contract with Vox tours.

Case study – Digitalisation of Tour products – POPGuide

The scenario
Pal.mar is one of the largest and most well-known B2B transfer companies in Rome, operating in the city since 1988. It has a reputation for reliability and has more than 50 luxury minibuses ready to satisfy the needs of travellers. Its vision centres on rejuvenation, effectiveness and dynamism, all of which are essential qualities for tourism providers. Every day, the business serves an average of 500 people.

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The opportunity
At non-peak times of the day, Pal.mar realised it had a pool of un-booked cars waiting for jobs. Their management team determined a need to better maximise the operating-hours of these vehicles, so considered marketing a sightseeing experience to tourists. The problem was that their drivers were not sightseeing experts, nor were they multi-lingual. Also, small group tours by minibus are generally unaffordable for two reasons: local guides are inordinately expensive and they will always require one of the available 8 seats, reducing the number of places available to tourists. From a visitor perspective, the only affordable sightseeing option was the cheaper Hop-on Hop-off buses.

The solution
Pal.mar worked in close liaison with the POPGuide team to develop specially tailored digital tours of Rome. Multi-language audio-commentary of 100s of points of interest was created by POPGuide team, using facts and stories complied by local experts and art historians. They mapped special sightseeing routes the POPGuide navigation software and studied the perfect approach distance to allow the commentary to auto-play on the guests’ smartphones as the drivers followed the itineraries. What’s more, the audio, texts and images remain with the guests after their visit as a talking postcard, or a long-term souvenir, encouraging the word-of-mouth promotion of the Pal.mar experience.

The result
The Pal.mar application launched to high acclaim. The company has already sold the majority of their available seats through their tour operator partners, and new and unique cabrio-car model is being produced to satisfy their growing business. By adopting POPGuide and developing these new visitor services, Pal.mar will also benefit from rich data and trend information on their guests activities after their tour. This knowledge will help them shape the business and products in the future.

Case study – Digitalisation of Tour products – POPGuide

The scenario
Small to medium size tourism enterprises often find it difficult to expand their businesses, because scaling up to cater for extra customers can incur costly overheads for personnel and equipment. Typical examples are local guides, taxi drivers or artisans operating small group walking tours or product experiences. Currently, small businesses are only able to offer tourist in their own language and can’t build their yields or load factors with additional foreign visitors as this would require additional guides or translators.

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The opportunity
London Black Cab Heritage Tours (BCHT) is an award-winning tourist attraction and popular option among visitors for exploring the capital ranking #10 on Tripadvisor out of 858 in Tours of London The company uses expert driver-guides to conduct tours and excursions in English, with up to five or six guests, often family groups, in each cab. Their opportunity was two-fold: Catering for foreign language visitors would greatly increase take-up during off-peak times; and being able to mix languages on a trip would enable them to provide cost-effective travel for single travellers and couples, as well as generally fill more seats on existing trips.

The solution
The Vox business-development team took on the challenge and created a new product called ‘POPGuide for Small Tour Operators’. Using the extensive Vox in-house CMS resources, they created a full POPGuide multi-language text, image, and audio download package for London, then over-branded the contents as BCHT. This was a straight-forward and low-cost process, so were able to provide bundles of download codes to BCHT at a very attractive net price. Using this tool, they were able to add the product into the cost of their tours, immediately enabling multi-language options across their business, with the extra benefit of leaving their customers with a useful tool for the rest of their trip, branded BCHT

The result
BCHT was instantly able to extend their customer base to cater for French, Italian, Spanish, German and Chinese speaking visitors. They expect to serve thousands more visitors each year and are confident that this add-on will maintain their current 5-star rating on Tripadvisor. They will be also be available to maximise their loads and departures, greatly increasing their profitability. Many more London visitors will enjoy the experience of a tour by Black Cab so the London tourism product in general will be enriched. Positive recommendations will encourage more visitors to experience BCHT and the destination in the future.

MUSEUMS & CULTURAL ATTRACTIONS

Case study – GROM Gelato making experience – Vox City Guide

The scenario
Grom is a premium Italian gelato company based in Turin. Its first Italian store was established in 2003, and subsequently has expanded internationally, with branches in most Italian cities, and more recently new stores in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Jakarta, Dubai and a recent store in Shanghai.

The Grom gelaterie parlours are strategically located in central city areas often along the beaten tourist routes. Their goal is to diffuse the experience of tasting a pure and authentic gelato ’how it used to be made’. Grom gelato is gluten free and crafted without aromas, food colourings or emulsifiers.

Once in the store, quite naturally, tourists often ask for information on the surrounding sites or venues. Staff are professionally briefed on what information to provide and how to answer these queries but are often constricted to Italian or English only, and it takes up quite a lot of their time.

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The opportunity
Grom are very keen to expand their offering globally and possibly enrich it by including an affordable add-on to the purchase of their gelato. This would need to be something that would enhance their customer’s holiday experience, while at the same time answering the questions about the surrounding area and the gelato making process. If they could turn this idea into reality, then they would be able to further grow their business and profitability. Another goal for Grom would be to reach more customers from abroad, by promoting their stores in the most touristic areas.

The solution
Grom teamed up with Vox to create a unique ‘Gelato making experience’ and launched it as the first ‘Vox City Eats’ product. The concept was to give the tourist an immersive opportunity to join a master gelato maker as they share their recipe, technique and culinary skills, before allowing the tourists to taste and enjoy the delicious products for themselves.

This approach, combined with Vox’s new technology, fitted perfectly with Grom’s philosophy of ‘always being the best you can find’. Grom decided to pilot this solution in Rome, where they have 10 stores, using a two-pronged approach.

1. The main product offering is a multi-lingual Gelato Experience that takes advantage of Vox bespoke audio content, combined with a full Vox City Guide of Rome. During a tour of the store, each step in the manufacturing process is explained in English, and via the app in six languages, thus avoiding the need for extra specialised guides. They also explain that the gelato making process is strictly controlled, which is how customers are guaranteed high standards wherever they are in the world. After the tour, customers receive a certificate and the Vox City Guide of Rome, with all the useful sightseeing and mapping information for their stay in the city. This experience is branded as the “Vox City Eats Gelato Experience” and it can be booked to take place at various Grom stores throughout the day. Grom can further upgrade the customer experience on the spot, by selling additional gelato or suggesting the other products of their Selection, through a generous 10% discount promo. The sales process allows for booking online through OTAs or directly at the stores.

2. The second product option, using the same distribution channels, is based on a simpler product and lower price. This is the ‘Vox City Eats Gelato Special’, which combines a generous sized cone or cup, taken at a choice of two Grom stores in central Rome, along with the full Vox City Guide of Rome for exploring the city.

In pricing terms, the first option retails at €35, which is significantly cheaper than other Rome gelato experiences; while the second offer retails at €15.00, which represents a saving over the gelato and Vox City Guide when bought separately.

The result
Set up of these options took less than a month and in March 2019 Grom was immediately able to promote and sell their products to tourists through the two channels. Initial feedback was very positive, shop staff found customers loved the options they were offered when they asked their questions, and staff benefitted from not having to spend too much time explaining.

The company confirmed they were able to consolidate their Italian brand while not only showcasing their product but offering a useful service to their multi-lingual customers who had been requesting this. This led to better customer satisfaction and a strengthening of their brand in the international market, all thanks to the first new “Vox City Eats product”.

Case study – Tourism management at St. Peter’s Basilica – POPGuide

The scenario
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most visited and sacred sites on the globe. It is the largest church ever constructed and has historical connections dating back nearly 2,000 years. It is the dominant feature of Rome’s Skyline and is one of our biggest POPGuide success stories.

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The opportunity
Admission to the sacred site is free to the millions that visit every year, but without a professional guide it’s difficult to fully understand and appreciate its many points of interest and fascinating stories. With tourism growing around 20% annually, the tourism management operator at the Basilica faced the same issues as many other major institutions: How to cope with the log-jams caused by increased visitor volumes, as well dealing with the backlogs surrounding peak-time lack of availability of trained local guides in the right languages or physical guiding hardware.

The solution
The management team addressed the problem by choosing ‘POPGuide for Museums & Cultural Attractions’ as their tool to provide high quality multi-language guiding services to individual visitors on an ad-hoc basis. For a small fee at entry, or pre-purchase online, visitors quickly download the POPGuide application onto their smartphone. Then, selecting from any one of 11 languages, they enjoy high-quality, point-by-point audio commentary and insights from Renaissance historians and art experts. POPGuide supports their entire visit, allowing them to fully explore at their own pace and in their own time. What’s more, the audio, text pop-ups, floorplan and graphics remain on the visitor’s phone after their visit as a long-term souvenir.

The result
More than 2,000 visitors per day opt to purchase POPGuide on-site and it receives incredible online reviews. POPGuide helps the tourism management company absorb the extra volumes, peaks and troughs, and provides the Basilica’s clergy with rich data on visitor movements, preferences and interests. POPGuide has helped the team improve visitor satisfaction, better manage traffic flows, develop new visitor services and create fund-raising opportunities.

Case study – VIP Event at the National Gallery – Tour Guide System

The scenario
The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of paintings in the world. Established in 1824 as a new art collection for the enjoyment and education of all, the National Gallery first consisted of 38 pictures, put on display at a house on Pall Mall while a purpose-built gallery was constructed. The new museum opened in 1838, there are now over 2,300 works of art, from medieval classics to world-famous pieces by the French Impressionists. The pictures in the collection belong to the public and admission is free 361 days of the year.

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The opportunity
Frieze London is an annual event in October which showcases the best of international contemporary art by emerging and established artists. A highlight of this week-long event is the VIP Unexpected View soirée at the National Gallery, where guests are offered an exclusive tour of the museum’s historical collections guided by contemporary artists. With around 250 attendees touring the various galleries split into 6 smaller groups, it was essential that every individual would be able to hear every word of the two artists speaking to each smaller group at any one time.

The solution
For the second year in a row, the National Gallery chose the Vox Tour Guide System as their tool to ensure every guest heard the words of their guide in crystal clear audio. In order to facilitate two simultaneous speakers speaking to an audience in each of the 6 galleries with no interference, in each of the respective galleries Vox mixed the signal of the two artist transmitters as an input for a third transmitter set to the same numbered channel (frequency) of the given group of visitors. As each group of visitors processed from one gallery to the next, they would individually change the channel on their receivers to the channel being used in that next gallery.

The result
Once again the National Gallery was happy with their exclusive gallery tour experience provided to their VIP guests by means of the Vox Tour Guide System. The National Gallery considers Vox as their trusted supplier of Tour Guide Systems for ad-hoc events in the Gallery, which will include the next Frieze event when it returns to London in October 2019.

Case study – Getting ahead of the crowds at Stonehenge – Vox 360

The scenario
Evans is London’s oldest and largest tour operator, with over 85 years’ experience in delighting customers. Specialists in city tours and out-of-town excursions, Evan Evans provides unforgettable journeys and experiences to Britain’s most iconic locations. As part of the Travel Corporation family of brands, Evan Evans is driven by service and committed to providing immersive and unique experiences that journey deep into the heart of Britain’s incredible history, culture and legends.

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The opportunity
One of the busier tours offered by Evan Evans is the full-day excursion to Windsor, Stonehenge & Bath. An operationally challenging itinerary, it involves guiding in both Windsor and Bath, as well as an extended stop at Stonehenge. While the tour guide is not allowed to provide commentary at Stonehenge, an interactive audioguide is available from the visitor centre. However, this presents obstacles to the overall guest experience: not only does the group have to queue to collect the audio headsets, there are often insufficient numbers available. This has the potential to result in lengthy delays and disappointment among customers. The challenge, therefore, is how to deliver a seamless customer experience that helps prevent customers associating this potentially negative experience with the Evan Evans brand.

The solution
The Vox 360 is a cutting-edge, hybrid guiding system which delivers multiple benefits to both guide and group. Crystal-clear commentary is delivered from the tour guide via a microphone to each customer’s individual earpiece. This unique experience ensures customers do not miss a word of their live commentary, while the tour guide is able to deliver an equally immersive experience to all members of the group. The Vox 360 unit also functions as an interactive map and audio guide, so Evan Evans guests may individually explore the site, while receiving the official English Heritage interpretation of Stonehenge in 10 languages.

The result
Evan Evans customers who are taken to Stonehenge receive the same information as those from other tour operators, without the need to queue for audio guides at the visitor centre. As a result, customers can spend more time at the Stonehenge circle and visiting its world-class exhibition centre. On trips to Bath and Windsor, the Vox tour guide system ensures each customer never misses a word of their expert tour guide’s live commentary, and each guest receives the same user experience.

TRAVEL AGENCIES & FIT OPERATORS

Case Study – RICHOU Voyages & Vox Collaboration – Tour Guide System

The scenario
The RICHOU group, founded in 1952 by Aimé and Jeanny Richou, is undoubtedly one of the leaders in France, particularly in Western France thanks to their 29 agencies and their passionate dedication. They offer a wide range of products and services including tours, package holidays, cruises and coach trips.

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The opportunity
Richou Voyages was very keen to be able to provide their customers an add-on benefit to all their proposed trips. In addition, and more importantly, they wanted to resolve the predicament of being able to communicate efficiently in places where tour guides were obliged to respect the silence.

The solution
In order for the Richou Group to meet these requirements they chose to collaborate with the Vox Group by offering their Radioguides for all their guided tours of their group and package tours.

The result
As a result, Richou’s customers were highly satisfied and appreciative of this extra service, discovering that it greatly enhanced their travel experience. Richou was able to provide the real added value that they were looking for, and every year the number of Richou’s travellers benefitting from this service increased.

TOURIST OFFICES & AIRPORTS

Case study – Maximising Airport Tourism Arrivals – POPGuide

The scenario
Asian airports often act as regional hubs, serving hundreds of airlines with tens of thousands of flights and millions of passengers. We worked with one of the biggest to devise a smartphone application that would help visitors make the most of their visit through experiencing and enjoying the city’s extensive tourism opportunities while also benefitting from the advice, services and special offers provided by partner sponsors

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The opportunity
The company that operates tourist services on behalf airport has multiple outlets across all the terminals so has high visibility to arriving passengers. Their requirement was for an app that would map the city and surrounds, facilitate simple user navigation by foot or vehicle, feature all major points of interest, allow sponsors to be promoted, and communicate in multiple languages. To make this work they also needed a simple call to action to grab the attention of visitors before they left the arrival halls and ensure they were able to quickly download the software using the fast airport Wi-Fi.

The solution
The Vox specialists researched the client’s requirements and in close liaison with their management team, came up with the specifications for a specially tailored version of POPGuide. At the heart of the proposition was a ‘Welcome’ branded campaign devised by the client, to which we linked a single QR code process for travellers to download and activate the app contents. The sponsored content would provide multi-language audio, text and pictorial information of the city and its attractions, along with accurate offline navigation and personal pins for visitors’ favourite locations. In the POPGuide back-end, we built an advanced advertising model to allow for local management of sponsorship partners, together with geo-tagged autoplay pop-ups, virtual billboards and links to updatable offers and promotions. We also developed programming to overcome logistical issues with sponsor pop-ups in high-density downtown locations, and remote sponsors requiring more visibility.

The result
The application will launch in early 2019. It is expected to serve hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and will be available directly at the airport outlets, or online. The visitor experience will be enriched, and the airport management will learn valuable information about their guests’ movements during their stay. While not planned as a revenue generator, POPGuide will operate profitably for the destination and will help the destination and its tourist services remain at the forefront of digital tourism.

MICE

Case Study – Salisbury Cathedral – Tour Guide System

The scenario
Salisbury Cathedral and its surrounding Close attract around 500,000 visitors each year. There is nearly 800 years of history to explore, including Britain’s tallest spire, the best preserved of only four surviving 1215 Magna Carta documents and the world’s oldest working mechanical clock. Visitors come as tourists, to worship or to attend events, concerts, workshops and art installations. Vox transmitters and receivers have been used since 2017 by tourists when they climb to the base of the mighty Spire on a Tower Tour.

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The opportunity
The poet and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE, was invited to an event to give an inspiring talk to a specially invited audience of around eighty people, including twenty-eight young people aged 13 to 19, who are in care. Many of the children did not speak fluent English, and many of them only spoke Sudanese Arabic and Kurdish Sorani.

The solution
Salisbury Cathedral decided to use the Vox CLEARTONE devices that are normally used on the Tower Tour, but in this case for simultaneous translation of two languages concurrently, Sudanese Arabic and Kurdish Sorani. Lemn talked for an hour, sharing his experiences as a foster child and in residential care. He told the story of his Ethiopian birth mother and his sixteen-year-long search for her, describing how he discovered that she never agreed to give him up and had always considered his fostering to be a temporary measure.

In his moving presentation Lemn explored the painful feelings of rejection and the loneliness he experienced in care, something that angers him to this day. All the children were able to listen to Lemn in their mother tongue language, clearly and instantly.

The result
Director of Learning and Outreach, Ariane Crampton, who organised the event said:
“The Vox CLEARTONE devices were a brilliant way to reach youngsters who do not have English as their first language, allowing them to experience the talk at first hand. Lemn is an inspirational role model, who understands the difficulties they have had in their lives having been through it himself. He brings a wonderful human touch to his talks, encouraging these young people to believe in themselves.”

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