Is Your Tour Guide System Right For You?

Are you using the right tour guide system? We understand you want to be the leisure tour of choice in your area. That means you need your guests to hear and engage throughout their visit because you don’t want them to feel like they’re missing out. How can you do that, though?

The answer is ListenTALK, an intuitive tour guide system from a company with decades of experience that will help you transform your business into a sought-after destination. Here are five ways ListenTALK will help you revolutionize your leisure tour business:

It’s Simple

The most challenging part of using ListenTALK is pushing a button. Seriously.

To get started, simply put the transceivers or receivers in the docking station. They’ll charge up and be ready to go when you are. Next, as you’re getting your tour group ready, insert the red leader clip into your unit. That puts you in control. Put the lanyard around your neck or attach the unit with the provided belt clip. Then distribute your units and headsets, and show the group how to use them—all they have to do to communicate is push a button. Now you’re ready to go!

It Has Superior Sound Quality

ListenTALK uses the less crowded 1.9 GHz frequency, so it’s basically static- and interference-free. It also has an incredibly sensitive internal mic, so there’s no need to hold it up to your mouth while you’re speaking. Combine the 1.9 GHz frequency with the mic, and you’ll deliver crystal-clear sound to everyone in your tour group—because everyone deserves to hear the same great experience.

It’s Secure

Are you relaying sensitive information during your tours? Or do you need to ensure your competitors won’t copy your tour scripts? Our tour guide system is encrypted for privacy, so you’ll never have to worry about another device or system picking up your voice.

Tour Guide System to Impress Guests and VIPs

Once your tour guests try ListenTALK, they’ll never be happy with another tour guide system. It’s small and lightweight, comfortable to wear, simple to use, and it delivers the superior sound quality they won’t find anywhere else. They’ll hear clearly and engage throughout their tour or visit, ensuring they don’t miss anything. Plus, they can use a headset provided by you or choose their own iOS or Android earbuds.

It’s a Scalable Tour Guide System

When you’re ready to adopt ListenTALK, you don’t have to start with a massive number of units. You can choose the number that’s right for you, and as your business grows, add more units. The only group size limitation with this tour guide system is the number of units you own.

ListenTALK is the tour guide system that will help you transform into the leisure tour business of choice in your area. It’s a simple, secure, impressive and scalable tour guide system that delivers superior sound quality. Whether you’re doing tours in art museums, on buses or walking around the mountains or big cities, ListenTALK ensures your guests can hear and engage. Are you ready for a free 30-day demo? Talk to us—tell us your story so we can come up with the right configuration to enable your guests. Just go to ListenTALK.com and get started today!

ListenTALK Abroad: A Trip Through London and Rome

On a recent trip to London and Rome, I decided to take along Listen Technologies’ tour-guide product, ListenTALK (Full disclosure – I work at Listen Technologies). Although there would only be four of us in the group, it presented a great opportunity to use the product for long periods of time in outdoor and in crowded environments.

Our first adventure using ListenTALK was a boat cruise on River Medway in Maidstone, UK. The information, stories, and instructions given by our guide as he piloted the boat made the tour very enjoyable. We could hear clearly over the noise of the outboard motor and the occasional passing boats. Asking questions and having conversations with each other added fun to the cruise.

 

At one point we came to manual, do-it-yourself locks on the river. Since we had never operated locks, we thought it would be fun to try them out. At a landing before the locks, we jumped out of the boat and walked to the locks which were about 50 yards away. Our guide (still on the boat) gave instructions on what to do to operate the locks. The audio was clear, and we were able to hear and understand the instructions to operate the locks successfully. I was pleasantly surprised by how well we could hear each other at that distance.

In Rome, being able to communicate in crowded outdoor areas was enjoyable as we could wander off to see something of interest or be separated by crowds and still be able to talk to each other. The many other tour groups with their tour guide equipment did not interfere with static or talk-over on our equipment. We used ListenTALK the whole day and had plenty of battery life. I would recommend using a windscreen on the tour guides headset as occasional wind noise could be heard.

London and Rome are beautiful and there are so many things to see and experience. Make your experience even better by using ListenTALK, as our guides said, “We’re using Steve’s tour guide gear! It’s good fun!”

 

By Steve Olsen, Marketing Services Manager

Communication + Hearing Protection

Factory tours are an ideal way to show investors, VIPs, the community and others the value of your business.

Noise in factories and plants is a significant issue.

Every year, 22 million people are exposed to noise at work that’s so loud it can potentially cause permanent hearing loss. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration estimates $242 million is spent each year on workers’ compensation due to hearing loss. In 2017, OSHA fined businesses more than $1.5 million for not adequately protecting employees from noise.

Hearing protection is essential for everyone on the manufacturing floor, even those on factory tours. So how can you adequately protect your guests’ hearing while showing off your facility?

Hearing protection is vital for everyone

Loud noises can be dangerous. They can cause hearing loss—temporary or permanent. However, the extent of the damage is determined by the length of exposure and the noise level. Experts say noises above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage. For example, a conversation usually is around 60 decibels. An idling bulldozer hits 85 decibels.

Loud noises damage or destroy hearing, but how? Inside the inner ear is the organ of Corti, which is responsible for hearing. It reacts when its microscopic hair cells are activated, ultimately stimulating the nerves for hearing, which carry sound to the brain. The frequency of the sound determines which and how many hair cells are activated. When you listen to loud noises, you can damage or break the hair cells. That, in turn, hurts your hearing.

Communication + hearing protection

When you’re hosting important people on factory tours, they need to be able to hear you. It’s also helpful if you can listen to them. However, you don’t want to take any chances with their hearing.

ListenTALK is the solution you need. This easy-to-use communication system is wireless and portable, and you determine what kind of headset to use. If you’re on a noisy factory floor, you can choose headphones that offer added ear protection. What makes it even better is the sensitive internal mic. Even on a noisy factory floor, you don’t need to hold it up to your mouth. All you need to do is wear it around your neck on a lanyard and push the talk button to speak. Plus, the tour leader unit isn’t the only one with a mic. Everyone on factory tours can talk to the leader and each other, for guaranteed clear two-way communication. It’s also lightweight, and guests can attach it to their belts or purses with a clip, or use a lanyard.

Because loud noises can permanently damage hearing, it’s important not to neglect hearing protection for everyone on your factory floor. That includes your guests on VIP factory tours. ListenTALK will help protect everyone’s hearing, while also providing crystal-clear communication. Are you ready to try a unit?

Adventure awaits with ListenTALK

Have you ever experienced your tour from the perspective of your guests? Are you sure it’s as exciting as you think it is? We’re here to tell you that there’s always room to improve. Should you be adding a story? Maybe using a prop?

That’s a lot of questions, but really, how can you make your tour stand out?

It’s time to treat your tour like a performance, but not a one-person show. Nothing will kill a good tour mood faster than a tour guide delivering a no-interruptions-allowed monologue. Each tour should be different because each participant will add their own flair to the experience.

When starting your tour, make sure each attendee is hooked up to a ListenTALK device. Nothing foils the tour experience more than a tour guide that can’t be heard.

Tell them a story. Good tour guides know the facts and retell them in a way that invokes excitement and involvement. Great tour guides will take you on an adventure through time and space.
Know your flow. The bulk of your tours will be the same day by day but allow yourself to cater to the adventurous souls of your participants. You’re allowed to spend more time engaging them with the things they’re interested in and breeze through other parts of the tour. Don’t fear the flow.
Set your script—then stray from it. The majority of your tours will follow the same script tour after tour but allow yourself to stray from the script. Take your time to create the tour narrative beforehand, then get to know your participants. When you allow your participants to engage in your storytelling, their questions and comments will help you personalize each tour.

Groups are more engaged when they can actually hear. You’ll be surprised that as each member of your group wears their own ListenTALK device, tour engagement will shoot through the roof. The back of your group will be just as enthralled with the adventure as the patrons in the front.

Taking your tour groups on an adventure will be more memorable than presenting them with a memorized monologue.

Now, go ahead. Take a risk. Tell a story. Adventure awaits with ListenTALK.

ListenTALK in Action

Last year, ListenTALK hit the shelves with a bang. One of ListenTALK’s first customers was Hale Center Theatre in Sandy, Utah. Here’s how it works, where Hale Center Theatre is using it and why they love it:

How ListenTALK works

This on-the-go two-way communication system was built with flexibility in mind. Each device is a transceiver—which means it both transmits and receives audio communication. Creating a group of transceivers is simple! With the tap of a button, ListenTALK devices can be paired on the fly and multiple groups can be created in a matter of seconds. While on a tour, all you have to do is press the Talk button if you want to…talk! If you’re a tour leader, the only reason you’ll need to press the Talk button is to mute yourself. Pretty easy, right?

With a simple setup, you get an innovative communication solution that ensures everyone can come on your adventure with you.

 

In action at Hale Center Theater

Backstage tours are nothing new at Hale Center Theatre, but you haven’t seen them like this before. Last year, Hale Center Theatre built a brand-new, state-of-the-art venue. This beautiful building is unlike anything else in the Salt Lake Valley, and officials needed a communication system that matched the impressive structure. Quinn Dietlein, Hale Center Theatre’s development director and annual giving manager, obtained ListenTALK specifically for backstage tours but has incorporated “all sorts of fun multimedia uses,” thanks to its versatility. Hundreds of people are going on these tours every week, and hundreds of people are walking away impressed with the new theater…and ListenTALK!

 

Why tour guides and participants LOVE it

Remember Quinn from the paragraph above? Well, not only is Quinn a director, he’s a performer. Each tour he takes through the theater has a different flare. Upon meeting his tour group, he learns about participant’s interests and uses that information to tell a personalized story for each group as he takes them through the theater. His tours are as entertaining as the plays he acts in, but one thing is for sure: Quinn is talking all day long. The first time Quinn used ListenTALK for a tour, his excitement was palpable. No longer was he raising his voice, walking backward, or trying to reach every guest. With ListenTALK, guests are participating more, asking more questions, and staying engaged. Now, Quinn speaks normally, and his participants are able to catch the nuances of his personalized tours.

Hale Center Theatre discovered it last year: ListenTALK creates an environment of inclusion and is the perfect tour solution. It’s easy to use for every kind of tour and everyone who uses it, loves it.

 

Are you ready to try ListenTALK? Call (888) 296-1623 or go to https://www.listentalk.com to get started with your free demo kit today.

Improve Your Tours by Using the Guided Tour “E” Principles

While visiting Glacier National Park last summer, my wife and I booked a tour of the park on the Red Bus Jammer Tour. We decided that we wanted to let someone else drive the narrow, winding roads so we could enjoy the spectacular scenery and views.

In addition to riding in a vintage bus, which immediately captured my interest, our tour guide made the 6-hour tour exciting and interesting the whole time. She practiced and exhibited what I call the 3 E’s of Guided Tours.

  • Excited
  • Exciting
  • Experience

Excited

Our tour guide was excited to be there. She was excited for us to be there. She greeted us with an energetic smile, outlined what we would be doing and seeing, and asked if there was anyone that would like to ride co-pilot as this was her first day and she wanted someone to take over if needed.

As it turned out, of course, it wasn’t her first day. She and her husband had been driving Red Jammer Tour buses for several years and had been working at the park for 14 years! What was so amazing is that she maintained that excited attitude the whole day, as if it were her first day.

Exciting

Our Tour Guide made the entire day exciting. She was an encyclopedia of Glacier Park stories and facts like “National Parks are to Protect and Preserve”, how recent fires had destroyed so many acres, bear sightings, and the status of the remaining glaciers. She pointed out several features along the tour that were her favorites: waterfalls, stories of the Lodges, and the best photography locations.

Do you know how to tell when a canyon was created by a glacier? The canyon will have a distinctive “U” shape. (see photo above)

Experience

The tour was an enjoyable and memorable experience. We have told friends about our Glacier tour and have recommended it to many. Our tour guide made the Red Jammer Bus Tour of Glacier a complete experience, exceptionally packaged and presented. (Mother Nature did a great job too).

For excellent guided tours, try using the Guided Tour 3 “E’s” Principles.

Excited + Exciting + Experience = Excellence

Assistive Listening Technologies and Wi-Fi – How They Work Together

For the more than 360 million people worldwide who suffer moderate to profound hearing loss, venues must create a listening experience that is equal to that available to the general public. It’s not only the right way to accommodate hearing-impaired parishioners, patrons, and customers—it’s the law.

 

Today we’re seeing public demand for listening solutions that extend beyond the traditional assistive listening market. Wi-Fi-based personal listening solutions, while delivering excellent sound quality, are designed for the convenience of the venue—owners and managers no longer need to purchase and maintain devices. Instead, users download an iPhone or Android app to their smartphone and then select the audio channel that corresponds with the video they want to watch in a multi-display setting.

 

While these types of solutions can be used by the general public as well as the hearing impaired, it’s important to note that they were not designed to meet the ADA standards for assistive listening or comparable laws outside of the U.S., which require venues to provide an equivalent listening experience for the hearing impaired. While the audio latency associated with Wi-Fi technology is negligible, it cannot provide an equal experience for people with hearing loss. This limitation combined with the requirement to provide a specific number of assistive listening devices means that Wi-Fi is not an ideal solution for compliance. That said, there are applications where Wi-Fi-based solutions can complement an existing assistive listening system (ALS) that uses RF, IR, or induction loop technologies, giving all patrons or customers the best possible listening experience.

 

How does that work? Let’s take a quick look at the best applications for Wi-Fi-based solutions and then discuss when they make a great addition to your assistive listening solution.

 

Applications for Wi-Fi Based Solutions for Personal Listening

Wi-Fi for personal listening is an exciting, emerging area that has a growing list of applications and the potential for many more. We are seeing ListenWiFi being adopted in venues for:

  • Higher education, particularly in student unions, where multiple televisions are available and the student wants to select the audio channel for listening.
  • Corporate fitness centers or lobbies with video walls. Employees or visitors choose the audio channel for the video they want to watch.
  • Museums with multiple video displays throughout the exhibit. Visitors can select the audio channel that corresponds with the video that piques their interest.

 

The Right Listening Options for Any Audience

When you need to provide both hearing and hearing impaired audiences with audio options, adding a Wi-Fi personal listening solution to a venue with an existing ALS can be a cost-effective approach.

 

For example, a theater may offer a movie in multiple languages. As a theater, the venue is required to provide an assistive listening device to any hearing-impaired person. The ALS device provides equal access to the movie audio, but what about translations for the general public? Purchasing transmitters and receivers for the full audience that doesn’t need a device for assistive listening is quite an investment. But adding a Wi-Fi-based solution gives the ability to access different audio channels to anyone with an iPhone or Android device. This cost-effective strategy allows the venue to remain fully compliant and provides options that create exceptional—and equal—experiences for all moviegoers.

 

To learn more about ALS and Wi-Fi solutions and to determine which is appropriate for your venue, please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at +1.801.233.8992 or 1.800.330.0891 (toll-free in USA & Canada).

The AV Golden Ticket: Listen Technologies Tours the Adobe Building

Imagine, if you will, being a working member of the AV industry and having the opportunity to tour one of the most advanced AV spaces in the world. You’d feel as excited as Charlie Bucket pulling a golden ticket out of a Wonka Bar.

As one of the final events of AV Week, Listen Technologies, along with many others in the AV Industry, had the opportunity to take our tour guide equipment on the road and use it to tour the incredibly impressive Adobe building in Lehi, Utah. The space is so impressive that it feels odd to call it a mere building; it works more like a big, creative campus where employees are encouraged to eat, drink, rock climb, play, think, collaborate, and yes…even get work done from time to time.

There are probably many people who would love to wander through the incredible spaces at Adobe, especially on a guided tour using Listen equipment—it’s a great experience! But for those of you who haven’t had the opportunity yet, please sit back and enjoy my description.

First Impressions

 

When first entering Adobe, you’re taken through what is known as the Customer Experience Center. This is an area that highlights all of Adobe’s clients with 40, 10.2” video monitors. Each monitor digitally displays a client’s logo along a long hallway; the videos are on a continual loop throughout the day along with interesting statistics provided by Adobe. Visitors can have an interactive experience using the three 2 x 2 video walls and touch screens to find information of their liking. This was a very interesting way to start the tour as it highlighted some of the things that Adobe provides clients that many people don’t often consider. In other words, Adobe isn’t just about software updates; they also provide their clients with serious marketing research and data.

Once you are through the hallway, you reach the Network Operation Center, or as they refer to it NOC! NOC houses 24 NEC LCD displays, which are wall mounted with RP Visuals swing wide mounts. The video routing and room control is accomplished using Crestron Digital Media and control products. The Crestron touch panels allow employees to monitor specific company systems and other important statistics that are essential for daily operations at Adobe. For example, an employee can monitor anything like how many hits the Adobe site is getting per day to specific #hashtags being used on various social media sites.

Collaborative Efforts

 

There are many other incredible spaces at Adobe, as well. Their training rooms and collaborative meeting rooms (all named after creative geniuses, artists, or sports legends) are all equipped with state-of-the-art technology. All of these rooms have a combination of a number of projectors, monitors, PC’s, Blu-Ray player, connections for VGA, HDMI, and mini HDMI, gooseneck and wireless microphones, and a touch panel to control the system. The rooms also have Polycom audio and video conferencing systems and Ploycom EagleEye Director cameras that allow others to learn from other Adobe locations all over the world.

The more collaborative spaces are less formal and lend themselves to more creative thinking. These rooms all house a Wink paint surface, which allows a user to write and draw their meeting ideas on the wall with markers. If the user wants to save his or her notes, there is E-Beam technology build into the projector, which will capture what has been written or drawn on the wall and save it to the PC in the room.

All Fun and Games

 

Adobe employees also have the benefit of an onsite fitness center, a café, and many different game rooms. Televisions showing satellite programming are installed throughout these spaces for employees to catch up on news. Digital Signage monitors are placed throughout delivering employee communications created by Adobe employees. From menu items and specials to upcoming fitness classes AV is a part of their communication. Although it was closed during the tour, the lower level boasts a serious gamer room (I’m not sure what serious gamer means, as I’ve never been serious about video games, but it sounds pretty intense). And the upper level has a room with ping pong and billiards tables, as well as some old school arcade games. There’s also a basketball court and outdoor spaces for employees to relax or play sports.

There are also some incredible art pieces located throughout the building, the most notable of which was the spray painted mural by El Mac, which is located near the most communal area of the building. Andrew Smith was commissioned to install another great piece in the stairwell. It’s a 50 foot, interactive, metal sculpture that climbs up the open space of the main between the main and top levels. Between floors employees and visitors can take various colored balls found in baskets and feed them into the sculpture. The balls them zoom down to the main level. I think I’d spend more time with the art than in the serious gamer room, but to each their own, right?

Even as a new member of the AV industry, I felt like I’d won a golden ticket while touring the Adobe building. While I didn’t understand all of the impressive technical terms, I knew that what I was experiencing made for a great environment in which to work. It is definitely a space where technology works seamlessly hand-in-hand with collaboration and creativity.

Listens Portable RF Device Helps Users Hear During Factory Tours

If you have ever been on a tour of a manufacturing facility, you’ve probably experienced difficulty hearing your tour guide. To make sure you heard what was happening on the tour, you might have had to stay too close to your guide or your guide might have had to scream at the top of his or her lungs to be heard. Neither of these things creates a great tour experience.

Focusing this much on a tour guide may have made you potentially miss out on some of the interesting things happening around you. So, what’s the point of going on a tour when you can’t hear and you miss out on all of the interesting things?
Listen Technologies’ portable RF equipment solves these issues. You don’t have to stand too close to your tour guide and your tour guide doesn’t have to risk losing his or her voice. The tour guide simply uses a microphone that is plugged into the speaker which wirelessly broadcasts his or her voice to people going on the tour. This allows visitors to both hear all the facts being said without interruption, as well as focus on what’s actually happening on the tour.
Even though the settings or surroundings might change, the consistent, high-quality sound won’t. In other words, you’re not going to miss out on anything!

The video below follows Oldcastle Precast during a factory tour as they use Listen’s portable RF equipment. If you have questions about our portable RF product, let us know in the comments below.

Listen Goes On Tour At The Ely Cathedral

The Ely Cathedral is steeped in history. Originally, the site of a monastery founded by a runaway princess turned nun, the cathedral grew from a rather humble site to an awe-inspiring site that covers over 46,000 square feet, including the famous Ely octagon measuring at 170 feet in height and 742 feet in width.

Although the cathedral has had its fair share of pilgrims, it’s highly unlikely that its original purpose was to host bus-loads of tour groups snapping photos of its famous stained glass and restored stonework. Nevertheless, around 250,000 contemporary pilgrimages are made to the Ely Cathedral every year, which makes for some very busy (and possibly hoarse) tour guides.

Cathedrals, while being wonderful places to worship have rather specific challenges when it comes to the subject of acoustics. While some of them offer wonderful places to sit and listen to choral arrangements or reflect on the soul, they aren’t really built to be tour group or tour guide friendly: a small footstep can carry from one end of a nave to the other, mere whispers can echo, and the smallest giggle can be carried from the floor all the way up to heaven. So, how is a tour guide supposed to relay information, without shouting or whispering? And how is a tour group supposed to hear their guide without being shouted at or straining to hear?

Instead of spending pounds of sterling on honey and tea to sooth the sore throats of their busy guides, the Ely Cathedral thought of a better idea to solve their tour acoustics situation, they invested in Tour Group equipment from Listen Technologies. Listen’s Portable RF products allow a tour group user to simply plug into a small receiver that they carry with them throughout a tour, in this case the tour of the magnificent Ely Cathedral. A tour group member can adjust his or her own volume and will receive clear and consistent sound from the guide for the duration, so they don’t have to miss a single word of what’s said, even while other tours are happening simultaneously. The products are also a miracle for the tour guides as they allow them the opportunity to use a normal speaking voice, which is broadcast from a transmitter to each and every tour guest, so there’s no need for tea, unless it’s actually tea time.


Although it’s a place with a past, the Ely Cathedral is definitely looking at the present. Including a little technology from Listen to improve guided tours has made the cathedral a better place to visit, whether a guest is there on a personal pilgrimage or merely there to enjoy the beautiful stained glass.
Listen Technologies
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