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Visitors are explorers in an unfamiliar but long-hoped-for world. Maybe they saved for a lifetime to be at this palace, park, city or harbor, or they’re keenly interested in your business site. As a tour guide, you want to fulfill your visitors’ dreams and give them something to write home about—and post a 5-Star review, rave on social media or tell all at the next board meeting. When you take your visitors into a plant full of fascinating but noisy machinery, or lead them into a sea of noisy tourists and shouting guides, you hope they find what they’ve been dreaming about—and find their way back to the bus, trolley or boat.

Follow the Pink Umbrella

Tour guides do their best to keep everyone together, engaged in the commentary, safe in their group, and able to keep up. But with tourism at an all-time high for the eighth year in a row, and International tourism receipts in 2017 reaching US$1,340 billion, destinations are under increasing pressure to streamline the tourist experience.

“I was on a tour in Messina, Italy, that stopped at the famous Cathedral. The guide said it would be crazy when we stepped off the bus, but all we had to do was follow the pink umbrella,” says Ange Berlin, Vice President, Creative, for AudioConexus. “As we disembarked, we simply listened to her on our wireless receivers and made our way through the crowds to where she had picked the perfect spot to watch the ritual of the movement of bronze statues. The sound was incredible, and it was easy to follow her pink umbrella and listen to the story, unencumbered and without disturbing anyone else.”

Sharing the Experience

In some situations, staying together is more than just a great listening experience. Tourists can get lost in a crowded and unfamiliar setting when they can’t hear their guide’s instructions. Chat rooms are full of tourist experiences where a visitor becomes separated from their group. Edith Swan-Neck, Archaeo-conservator, posted on Quora that she found herself on her own in China, separated from her guide and surrounded by curious locals. There is an obvious safety issue here, but also a source of anxiety for everyone on the tour.

“We had to wait an hour in Dumbleton, England, while the guide got off the bus and searched for two people who had strayed from the group at a summer market,” says Sally Moore, Marketing Manager at AudioConexus. “First we were worried, then relieved when they finally showed up, looking bedraggled and stressed.”

A Digital Reality

In some cities, the tourist congestion is so out of control, city officials have instituted laws to fine tour groups that don’t stay together or follow the rules for streamlining traffic flow. Dan Riccio is the Director of Livability and Tourism for the City of Charleston and he says this has been a safety issue as tour groups block the sidewalks, forcing citizens to walk on the street. “No tour is worth a life,” Riccio says. In such situations, hearing the instructions of your guide can save your visitors’ lives or avoid a hefty fine.

In the digital age, wireless communication can solve a lot of problems in keeping groups together. With a range of up to 70 meters (230 feet) radius on the HearMe wireless system, visitors can clearly hear their guide’s instructions on where to go, where to meet, and what to avoid. And if the audio does start to fade, they know they’ve strayed too far from the group and can head in the direction that strengthens the audio as they walk. The guide can also alert visitors when they’re heading into a hazard or one of them is too far away, advising them to rejoin the group.

A shared experience is the dream of every visitor to your destination. Keeping them together is the wish of tour guides everywhere, and today it’s critical to your visitors’ safety and the growth of your business. No one writes a 5-Star review about getting lost or left behind on a tour.

What’s Your Next Story?

Talk to Us about the experience you want for your visitors. We’re excited to hear your story.

Want to read more about audio tours that grow your business? See our blog series on Travel Trends and Audio Tour Writing.

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