Capturing and Maintaining a Tour Group’s Attention With the Help of Listen’s Portable RF System

This blog post has been repurposed from an anonymous customer write-up from a university in the Pacific Northwest on their experience with Listen Technologies Tour Group products.


We recently became aware of some great things a large state university in the Pacific Northwest is doing with our Portable RF System. More specifically, it’s the university’s off-campus community extension locations using our system. And while we can’t share the name the university at this time, we’re so thrilled with the results they’re achieving we can’t help but share.


The university’s extension facilities are located throughout the state and have a mission to “engage people, organizations and communities to advance knowledge, economic well-being and quality of life by fostering inquiry, learning and the application of research.”

As a part of this mission, several locations regularly conduct educational field tours at locations such as apple orchards and agriculture packing houses and processing facilities. Depending on the tour, they are attended by growers, crop consultants, managers of other agricultural facilities and even scientists.


The problem with doing tours in such locations, however, is the noise. For example, imagine a tour of a busy apple packing house where conveyor belts and machinery are constantly running. To add to the problem, tours of such potentially dangerous facilities often require attendees to gather in single file lines behind barricades for safety reasons.


These are just some of the challenges the university was facing. In an attempt to overcome them, university officials first tried a microphone system connected to a loud speaker. However, they soon found that such a system had two primary faults:


First, the sound projected from the speaker was unidirectional, meaning attendees had to stand in just the right place to hear. This was a significant a problem when dealing with a large group or a group that had to be spaced out single file.


Second, they discovered that despite the increased volume of the tour guide’s voice, environmental distractions were still an issue. This was particularly true in outdoor locations, such as apple orchards, where it was easier for a group to disperse and hold side conversations.


As a result, they went in search of a better solution that would allow guides to truly capture the attention of tour attendees. They found Listen’s Portable RF System.


Listen’s Portable RF System is ideal for tour groups. It has the capability to scale from one user to hundreds and can operate across multiple groups; ensuring interference from neighboring systems is kept to a minimum. 


The technology is also very easy to use. Tour guides simply clip on a small microphone and transmitter and then set the device to the desired channel. It’s even simpler for audience members, who have to simply slip on a headset that can be pre-set to the correct channel and waiting for them.


The technology is very easy to use. In most cases, especially when it comes to portable radio frequency-based systems, it’s as simple as clipping on a small microphone and transmitter and then setting the device to the desired channel. It’s even simpler for audience members, who simply have to slip on a headset that can be on waiting for them and pre-set to the correct channel.


With our system in place, the university is now able to ensure that all participants can not only hear every word the guides speak, but that guides no longer have to compete with environmental distractions for the attention of the attendees.


More information about Listen Technologies’ Portable RF Systems can be found here:

Listen Technologies goes on tour with Oldcastle Precast

Cement supports civilization

People tend to have preconceived notions about cement. It’s heavy, and boring, and gray, and just sort of sits there, right? But as the hospitable employees of Oldcastle Precast in Ogden, Utah will tell you, cement literally supports civilization. Oldcastle Precast is the leading manufacturer of precast concrete, polymer concrete, and plastic products in the US. They provide solutions for all kinds of structures, including: entire buildings, walls, floors, stairs, elevators shafts, bridges, underground vaults, manholes, storm boxes, pipes, drainage products, and customizable pieces, as well. When they say cement supports civilization, they really mean it!

Going on tour with Listen Tour Guide Gear

Listen along with some of our colleagues with GenComm recently had to opportunity to take some of our tour group gear up to Oldcastle to participate in part of a tour of their facility for an event that was sponsored by the Utah Manufacturers Association. The participants of this event came from all sorts of industries and many of them were familiar with what it was like to go on a tour of a facility like Oldcastle Precast. In other words, they’d previously been on tours with a lot of background noise from machinery, trucks, and a noisy highway where it was essentially impossible to hear anything about the process of manufacturing a product.
Going on a tour in a facility like Oldcastle without being able to hear anything can definitely lead one to believe that cement is just cement. If you can’t hear what your tour guide is telling you, all you can see are a bunch of molds and large pieces of things that are meant to build some kind of structure somewhere. Not having the opportunity to hear what specific pieces are being built and why, would absolutely lead a person on the tour with a feeling of boredom and disjointedness. And this might be even worse if you were there in a professional capacity.
Imagine being a manufacturer touring another manufacturer’s facility. Wouldn’t you want to hear about how things are done? Wouldn’t you want to know about the processes put in place? You can’t glean these things with your eyes alone. While watching cement being poured from large machines into large molds is fascinating, it becomes infinitely more interesting when you know what the mold is for and what the process is. It is also more interesting when you know about the specific projects. Knowing these things could improve upon the processes you use at your own work facility and the only way you’d learn about these, is if you have the opportunity to hear what is happening during the tour.
It made a remarkable difference

Having the Listen equipment made a remarkable difference on the tour of the Oldcastle Precast facility. Even during the portions of the tour in which earplugs were required, the Listen equipment provided clear sound, so that everyone could hear and learn what was happening during the noisiest parts.

When the tour was finished, many members of the Utah Manufacturers Association approached us to tell us how valuable it was to have the Listen equipment on the tour. We heard comments as varied as “That was so cool,” to “Thank you, that made me pay attention to every single word,” from different participants. The employees at Precast were also very satisfied with the equipment, because they found that they didn’t have to shout for the entire tour.

Not only did we have a great time at Oldcastle Precast, but we enjoyed hearing how our Tour Guide gear made such a difference for everyone involved. At the end of the day, that’s what we love doing: delivering great, positive listening experiences whether it’s at a sports venue, the symphony, or a cement facility.

Begin a Tour with the End in Mind

Who says “show and tell” has to just be for kids? Being able to provide a live, behind the scenes look at what makes your company work can be an effective and exciting marketing tool when done correctly.

In my last post for manufacturers, I discussed tips for a successful facility tour here: Group Tours Speaking Up.
As you prepare to conduct a tour of your facility, consider why you’re doing it and who your audience will be. When you know this, you can create a successful tour that blows away the participants’ expectations.
The purposes for conducting a tour include: 
  • Show off the company and products: Giving people a behind the scenes look at your company, manufacturing facility and products can help build stronger brand affinity and appreciation among participants. When people have a better understanding of who you are on the inside, they will be brand champions.
  • Demonstrate processes and technologies:  People are naturally curious and want to know how things are made and what makes them tick. Demonstrating your processes and technologies is a strong way help tour participants connect with your company and products through a greater understanding of how they’re developed.
  • Community Relations:  Building strong relationships with the community is essential for any manufacturing facility. This includes people who live nearby, government officials and other community leaders and tourists who are looking for something interesting to do while in town.
  • Investor relations:  Keeping investors happy can be a full-time job. Taking investors on a VIP tour can increase understanding of who you are and what they’re investing in, which can effectively increase their passion and support of your company and products. 
  • Orient new employees: When you bring on new employees, giving them a tour of the facility will help them know and appreciate the work they’re doing, and give them greater insight into the overall vision of the company.
Manufacturing tours are an effective marketing tool because people can immediately see the value and utility of your products and processes. But that’s only when tours are done right. If you keep your audience in mind and plan accordingly, you’ll find tours to be one of your most successful and rewarding promotional activities.
To learn more about our products and how they can make your guided tour more positive and memorable, head here or call 1.877.760.9271.

How To Use And Sanitize An Earspeaker

I recently attended a Women Tech Council event where attendees were able to tour the beautiful new Adobe building in Lehi, UT. We supported the event with a loaner equipment sponsorship of our portable RF equipment to ensure that not a single sound was missed.

Each tour member was given a receiver and an LA-164 ear speaker. The great thing about an ear speaker as opposed to traditional headphones is you can easily sanitize between uses. Additionally, it is only over one ear, allowing you to hear the audio while also being aware of your surroundings. The first time you put an ear speaker on it can be a little tricky, but once you see the proper position it’s easy!

This video shows just how easy it is to use and sanitize:

Group Tours Speaking Up

U.S. and factories, distribution centers, plants and other industrial facilities welcome visitors daily to get an insider’s view of the products and manufacturing process. For some companies, these tours are focused on VIPs, potential clients and partners. For others, it’s interested tourists and community members. Whoever is visiting, guided tours can be an unforgettable experience.

To help tour participants get the most out of their visit and to make sure they have a positive tour experience, the tour needs to be planned, coordinated and executed in a way that everyone on the tour can see and hear the amazing things the company has to offer.
Below are 5 key elements that can help every tour visitor have a positive, memorable experience.
  1. Ensure that everyone can hear every word from the tour guide. Factories can be loud—if the participants can’t hear, they will walk away with little more than a headache. An excellent solution for mobile tour groups is a Portable RF system from Listen Technologies (Link to landing page). A wireless microphone/transmitter broadcasts the speaker’s voice to the tour audience. People on the tour have a personal receiver where they can adjust the volume control to suit their own needs. Gone are the days when a person in the back of the group is frustrated because she can’t hear the guide’s tantalizing commentary over the hum of the machines.
  2. Plan the best route. A meandering route through the factory’s innards usually isn’t enough for a knock-out tour. The route the tour takes should be long enough to show off the amazing machines and other interesting areas of the facility but not too long to get monotonous. The tour should also include, but never interfere with employees as they busily engage in their daily activities.
  3. Write a Script. Some tours are replete with quips, jokes and other such wisecracks, while other tours, particularly those given to current or potential clients and customers take on more of a serious or impressive tone. Whatever the intention of the audience, a tour should never be conducted off the hip. The tour guide should be well versed on every aspect of the facility and the workings of the equipment.
  4. Right-size” the tour for the audience. Some tours are short and others can be relatively long; however, regardless of the length of the tour, it is important to ensure the message fits the audience. Tours give the opportunity to impress guests with a “behind the scenes” look at the manufacturing process, the company culture, and how many widgets are produced each hour, day or year.  Interesting facts and tidbits make for a memorable tour.
  5. Sell the past, present and future of the company. A tour is a great opportunity to discuss the history of the company, how it got to its current state and the innovations it is continuing to employ to take it into the future. Always highlight the benefits and remember that a great tour can be one of the most powerful sales tools a company has.
What additional tips do you have for guided tours? Sound out in the comments and let us know. To learn more about our products and how they can make your guided tour more positive and memorable, head here or call 1.877.760.9271.

Tour Guides Serve Up Satisfaction On Food Processing Plant Tours

As an experienced industrial tour guide, Robert Sapien has been taking advantage of tour group communication technology for a number of years. The first system he used worked pretty well at blocking out the din of noisy machinery on the plant floor. However, its clunky design and flimsy nature was undesirable and quickly wore out.
Sapien, who is the administrative assistant for Fresh Express’ flagship plant, tried a second system for his tours. Unfortunately, the system was ineffective with the industrial-strength noise in this exemplary salad processing plant in Salinas, Calif. Sapien reported that the noise-canceling quality was so poor that even with the sound equipment on, he had to shout to be heard. This limitation also meant he could take fewer guests on a single tour because everyone had to be within “shouting range.”
Using his experience with other systems, Sapien knew what he needed, and kept his eyes open for several years to find the right product. While browsing through a catalog from Hello Direct Inc., Sapien found an ideal solution: a Listen Technologies’ Tour Group System. Not only did the features listed in the catalog match his needs, but the free 30-day demonstration of the Listen prod­ucts also would enable him to ensure the product could handle the noisy salad processing environment before he spent any money.
Sapien reported that the demonstration went really well. They made the switch to the Listen LS-07 15-Person Portable FM System, and now his visitors, sales director, and his vocal chords are thanking him for it.
The system Sapien uses includes a portable trans­mitter and 15 portable body pack receivers. Their system also features a noise-canceling microphone that expertly eliminates background noise from the loud machinery on the plant floor.
“We conduct about 60 tours each year, and we get tons of compliments on the quality of the tour. First, the presentations are good and second, they can clearly hear what is being said through their headphones,” Sapien said. “Providing tours period has such a great impact on our customers.”
In addition to great tours, Sapien explained that using Listen’s equipment is another way to convey the plant’s commitment to top quality, an integral element of the Fresh Express brand. The excellent tour experience reinforces the value of the company, its prod­ucts and its professionalism to its clients.
“Using Listen’s tour group system makes it much easier for me to convey the important selling points to customers,” Sapien said. “It’s much more easy and comfortable for the visitors to hear the message clearly.”
From experience, Sapien knows how to serve up satisfaction on his plant tours. Listen-ing.

Wireless Listening Solution Clear In Any Language, Over Any Noise

When managers at Subaru of Indianatake groups of visiting Japanese and American business executives through their 550-acre campus, Subaru needs a tour guide system that handles both language translation and noise control.

That’s why ProAudio by Brand’s Richard Tappenden recommended Listen Technologies Corporation. He said Subaru of Indiana, or SIA, had been using a system with pre-set channels that could not easily be switched to accommodate the size of the group, or the number of people speaking English vs. Japanese.

“With the Listen system, SIA can easily do the multi-lingual tours,” said Tappenden, ProAudio’s systems consultant and design engineer. “They just tell the people which channel to set their receivers on and they get the right language.

With Listen, they have the flexibility they need.” But Tappenden said the managers at SIA were too business-minded to throw away working equipment from their older system. No problem. Tappenden said Listen was easily programmed so that SIA could continue using their old receivers as backup for large groups.

“The Listen system is versatile enough that clients can customize it for a variety of applications,” Tappenden said. “They will eventually phase out the other system and replace it completely. But Listen’s flexibility allowed SIA to continue using their existing product for now.”

Utah-based Listen Technologies Corporation produces wireless sound systems for tour guides and language interpretation, as well as assistive listening and soundfield uses. The small battery operated portable transmitters send sound over FM radio waves, allowing receivers to capture clear, noise-free sound. At SIA, tour guides are able to transmit two languages simultaneously to the touring executives by setting their personal, portable transmitters and receivers to different channels.

Whether their tours consist of 20 English speakers and 80 Japanese speakers, or vice versa, SIA can adjust the Listen system accordingly. But SIA has other concerns as well. The system needs to be strong enough to transmit clearly over such sound obstructions as the din of the stamping plant, where machines flatten 3,900 pounds of coiled steel and cut it into sheets the size of a car body, at the rate of up to 7,200 pieces per hour.

“Listen projects sound directly to the receivers,” Tappenden said. The noise-canceling headsets have the ability to filter out the machine noise from the stamping mill, the grinder, or other machinery. It’s a very tight system. Most importantly, Tappenden said his clients at SIA are extremely pleased.

Listen Tour System a Smooth Blend for Gavina Gourmet Coffee

There was a time when the folks at Gavina Gourmet Coffee led tour groups through their Los Angeles plant, yelling. It was the only way to be heard over the din of roasters and the other machinery needed to create and crate these popular fine coffees. Then a trip to a coffee plantation in Brazil introduced the Gavinas to a Listen Technologies wireless portable system.
Founded by Don Francisco, patriarch of the Gavina family, the company remains family owned and operated. A Cuban immigrant, Don Francisco arrived in the US with his eight children, 150 Cuban pesos, and coffee knowledge gained from growing up on a coffee plantation. Today, his children are at the helm, with nieces and nephews part of the business as well.
Roasting gourmet beans from around the world is not, for the Gavinas, a matter of importing beans by reputation. They travel to plantations around the globe to find the best beans for their customers. It was during one such trip to Brazil that they were introduced to a Listen portable tour group system.
“We’d needed a friendlier system,” said Leonor Gavina, co-owner of the company, so the first item of business upon return from Brazil was to put in place a Listen Technologies sound solution. Now, whether guiding a group of sixth graders or hosting interested vendors, “The best part of this is that we no longer need to yell or repeat ourselves.”
With the rising interest in coffee over the past several years, the Gavina plant sees more and more visitors interested in learning about how their morning lattes, espressos and robust cups of unadulterated java actually end up in their hands. The two Listen transmitters and 14 rechargeable receivers, make their tours an exercise in comfort.
“This equipment easy enough to use that we pretty much just put on the transmitters and receivers and started in. It has taken some getting used to, only because it has made everything so different for us,” she said. In fact, the only “problem” encountered was realizing they’d forgotten to recharge the batteries a time or two.
“Sometimes someone just drops in to see the plant, and even with one-on-one tours the system is great. Everyone loves using the equipment.” Indeed, it’s a far cry from the days when Mike’s answer to guiding a tour meant picking up a bullhorn.

State-of-the-Art Shipping and Tracking Facility Shines with Tour Group Solution

How do you show off a state-of-the-art shipping and tracking facility when the equipment includes conveyor belts and jet aircraft making so much noise you can’t hear someone yelling next to you? With Listen, of course!
At UPS’ Louisville Kentucky transport hub, executive and VIP tours are conducted which include walking guests through the maze of conveyors in the warehouse and out onto the tarmac where the planes are speedily taking packages to their worldwide destinations. UPS executives wanted to create a favorable impression with their important guests, but had trouble making them heard over the background noise.
By utilizing a Listen LT-700 Portable Transmitter and Noise Cancelling microphone, UPS Tour Guides are now able to speak comfortably while feeling secure that all tour members can hear the presentation.
UPS was so happy with their Listen system in Kentucky that they added another system at their Chicago, IL facility. With Listen, it’s easy to give a great tour!
UPS’ comments on Listen: “Listen Technologies’ products play an important role in the UPS Welcome Center. We use their equipment every day for customer visits to our international air hub in Louisville, KY.”
“These visits often involve high-dollar customers and important dignitaries, so it’s essential that we convey the best possible image of our company. Listen’s hands-free equipment allows us to communicate key information clearly and safely while moving around our operation.”
“Listen Technologies has been an important strategic partner with UPS.” “We needed results quickly and Listen’s entire team made it happen.”
“They do “listen,” and they do hear you.”

Weyerhaeuser Handles Industrial-Strength Noise with Listen

If you’ve ever used a cardboard box, you’ve probably used a Weyerhaeuser product. These standard and custom designed corrugated boxes, as they are called in the paper industry, are produced in more than one hundred Weyerhaeuser plants across the country; plants teeming with activity and filled with noise. There is so much noise that employees must wear earplugs to protect their hearing.
So how do they communicate with each other? They yell. Not the best way to conduct plant tours for visiting managers, potential clients and vendors. But thanks to a wireless solution from Listen Technologies stopped. , a lot of the yelling has
Having worked in similar plants with similar noise issues, Maintenance Manager, Jim Dixon, decided to look into how others had met that challenge and what new technologies, if any, might improve those results. After some investigation, Dixon found Integrated Systems Support Group ISSG provided Dixon with a demo system from Listen Technologies Corporation for a test run. , a Listen dealer.
Everyone liked the results. “In an industrial environment like ours, earplugs are a necessity. Listen’s crisp, clear sound- even with earplugs – is more than we’d hoped for,” says Dixon, whose experience with tour sound systems landed him the responsibility for finding a solution for Weyerhaeuser.
With the new Listen system, tour guides are finding their jobs easier and their tours more professional. They wear a portable transmitter and a behind-the-ear microphone, and can speak in their normal voices – no background noise to add distraction. Their listeners wear portable receivers and stereo headsets. All the equipment is compact and easy to wear, and is conveniently stored in a charging/carrying case.
Many companies that turn to Listen for a sound solution soon find additional uses, adding to their ROI. Weyerhaeuser is no exception: using the same system they purchased for tours, the plant manager can now speak from his office to an employee, equipped with a Listen receiver, anywhere in the 173,000 square-foot facility and the sound remains crisp and clean.
With their Listen tour group communication system, the only yelling that Weyerhaeuser hears now are the shouts of praise from delighted customers, energized tour guides, and happy visitors.
Listen Technologies