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Benefits of self guided tours

Benefits of self guided tours

Written by MySmartJourney
2021-11-19 | 16:36

The world slowly reopens and we’re able to stretch our legs once again. After a long stay home, every day more and more people yearn to go outdoors in search of an authentic experience. 

Even though traditional touristic tours, where you go somewhere new and have a guide walk you through all the important places, are still popular, self-guided tours are a more relaxed and personalized alternative.

What is a self-guided tour?

A self-guided tour is a self-governing tour where you can enjoy exploring walking routes or urban areas without the need for a tour guide. Self-guided trips can be both a personal and group experience. 

Many companies or touristic sites now provide maps, directions, suggestions, information and items to see to make self-guided tours an interactive and unique experience. 

Create digital routes for tourist and cultural sites

What’s the difference between a guided and a self-guided tour? 

During a guided tour, your whole experience is curated by your tour guide, who has already planned where to go and what to do. In contrast, self-guided tours allow people to choose their own activities and the pace of the tour.

This means you can stray off the path and, for example, follow the trail alongside a river all the way to its source. It is up to your wanderlust (and your stamina) how far you choose to go. If your need to travel goes beyond hotels and fancy meals, self-guided trips may just be the thing for you.

Types of self-guided tours

There’s a myriad of destinations available to the daring adventurer who prefers self-guided authentic experiences. These vary in complexity from idyllic walking routes with the sunshine on your face to braving the winter wilderness by force of wit and preparation.

A novice traveler, or one who’s abroad, should stay away from more demanding trails until they’ve acquired some experience. There’s nothing wrong with tackling the small challenges first and then coming back to the harder ones with a couple of completed routes under your belt.

Here’s a list of ideas for people willing to choose a self-guided tour for their next getaway. We’ll start with the basic, leisurely activities one can do with friends and family, and then go a little over what the most intrepid independent travel aficionados are doing.

Walking routes

Walking routes might be closer to you than you think! In fact, a self-guided tour guide can make a walking route out of any interesting area of their own city. Those amateurs who would rather have an adventure day away from the bright city lights would do good to research trails in and around their area. One would be surprised to discover how many wonders nature hides just a couple of kilometers away from our homes.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that walking routes are perfect for everyone. A small group of people can spend the afternoon walking next to the river. Older folks can take their time and enjoy the chirping of birds. A multifamily gathering can happen on the trail itself, giving the adults the perfect place to hang out and the kids room to play and run around.

Tour builder for walking trails 

Rail trails

Decommissioned railways still connect towns and cities through hills, rivers, and valleys. Once the rolling trains are but a memory, nature will slowly begin retaking the tracks, creating beautiful walkways across the countryside.

Natural walkways are created by nature taking over old train tracks. Many of these are flat and spacious, which makes rail trails ideal for joggers, cyclists, and even horse riders. Since many abandoned train tracks lead to historical sites, many culturally-inclined explorers looking for a self-guided walking tour will find them interesting.

Urban trails

One doesn’t have to travel far away from home to have a memorable self-guided trip. Urban trails cut through the streets and parks of cities big and small all around the world. Have you been to all the major landmarks in your area? Taking a self-guided walking tour of one’s own hometown is a great way to exercise and learn more about the place you live in. 

On the other hand, an interesting experiment you may want to try at least once in your life is to travel abroad to a concrete jungle far away and discover part of it on foot. You will be amazed at how different it will be from going around in a cab, tour bus, or other kinds of guided travel. Plus, many museums, galleries and historical sites create self-guided tours for you so that you can access interactive information from your mobile device. 

Tour builder for associations, circuits and tourist routes

Bicycle trails

Who says you have to walk to have an authentic experience? The great outdoors is ready for the taking at your favorite speed, and if that speed is dashing through on a bike with the wind on your face, then so be it.

Many experienced cyclists go off-road, through the mountains, or across the countryside. Those looking for a more casual, relaxed escapade can look forward to the many trails scattered all around. Maybe the next town is not that far, and there’s a neat bike path along the highway. What better way to spend a summer afternoon than to ride around in the wind, feeling the warmth of the evening sun?

Tour builder for municipal parks 

Water trails

Rivers, lakes, and canals are often navigated for recreational purposes. Also known as blueways, these water trails dot the landscape and are popular with eco-tourists. Much of the Trans Canada Trail, the longest recreational trail network in the world, is composed of water trails.

It is not advised for amateur self-guided trip enthusiasts to try and solo a water trail. Even if you’re in a group, it is better to already be experienced with the canoe or your vessel of choice to avoid any possible accidents or complications. Once you’re sitting on a boat drifting through the middle of the river there’s no easy way out. Remember that during a self-guided tour you act as your own tour guide, and therefore must keep an eye on your safety.

Benefits of self-guided tours

Go where you wish

There’s no need to sit through unwanted stops during a self-guided tour. Choose only the destinations you wish to see and make the most of your time. There ain’t no mountain high enough or valley low enough, it is up to you which challenges you wish to overcome.

If the trail you’re walking through has NFC technology integrated along the way then there will be nothing to worry about in terms of getting lost. Near Field Communications provides travelers with all the information they need to ensure an authentic experience. All kinds of interactive content can be made available to anyone who scans a QR code with their mobile phone.

Take all the time you want

Imagine climbing a mountain to discover the perfect view of the valley below as rays of sunshine break through the clouds, only to have to turn away 5 minutes later because the tour group is going away.

Self-guided tours let individuals choose the pace at which they wander around. Nobody knows at what speed you enjoy doing things better than yourself, so be your own guide and don’t let anyone stop you from smelling the flowers.

It’s safe for your health

With the coronavirus pandemic still affecting our daily lives, it is better to search for activities to do alone or in small groups. Self-guided tours are a perfect way to go out and enjoy oneself while still practicing social distancing.

Aside from pandemic-related health concerns, it is impossible to deny the positive health effects one can enjoy by partaking in walking routes. Not only does walking through a trail count as very good exercise, but it will also boost your immune system and improve your mood.

Easier on the pockets

Forget about paying for a tour guide. Choose a self-guided trip and plan accordingly to have everything figured out before you set foot out of the house. By being your own tour guide, you can try and sidestep tourist traps. Favor mingling with the locals and find out where to experience authentic food.  

Phygital experience

Municipal parks, cultural sites, and walking trails can enhance the self-guided experience by implementing NFC technology along the route. With this revolutionary technology, anyone can easily navigate a sea of information about a trail or route.

NFC is capable of transmitting all kinds of content directly to a user’s phone via short-range wireless technology. For self-guided tours, this means having all the information on the wildlife, geography, and history of the trail. One will be able to lose themselves in the beauty of the journey, while all logistics on the route are available on-demand and information regarding their safety is always within reach.

Sense of accomplishment

While a guided tour will remind you of watching an exhibition, a self-guided tour will feel like jumping into the paintings to explore them and create your own fun memories. Each trail you conquer will add to the feeling of achievement. There’s nothing like setting out to complete your goals and seeing your plans to fruition. Self-guided tours provide you with the opportunity to go from staring at a map to climbing the top of the mountain through the force of your willpower alone.

Want to customize a self-guided tour for your business?

Companies in different industries leverage MySmartJourney’s NFC integrated technology to create a personalized, authentic experience for travelers of all ages and walks of life. Our 100% web-based platform allows you to create fun and informative content from all your devices, without having to learn to code.

Quick and easy to implement, MySmartJourney is the perfect tool to give people exactly the information they need. This state-of-the-art technology is used by all kinds of businesses and institutions, from museums to art galleries and even walking trails, to provide customers with informative and entertaining content. 

Personalize your customer experience

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Luxurious Hotel Room
2021-12-01 | 18:25

9 ways to modernize your hotel

What is hotel modernization? 

Hotel modernization means adapting the hotel experience to be comfortable and functional for the needs of tomorrow. Restyling the way things are run to cater to the changing demographics is key to be on the vanguard of the hotel business.

Nowadays no business or industry is safe from becoming a memory, trampled by the wheels of new technological advances just around the corner. Video rental stores and malls were huge some years back and now they have been replaced by streaming and e-commerce platforms. Airbnb has been giving the hotel industry a run for its money for quite some time now. Rather than wait and see what happens, it is better to take some steps towards modernization and win this technological arms race!

How do you modernize a hotel?

Eco-friendly innovative ideas for hotels 

With the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance estimating that the hotel industry will have to reduce its carbon emissions by 66% per room by 2030 (source) and more people switching to eco-friendly lifestyles, it’s only normal for hotels to consider going green.

A great way to improve the look of your hotel and save on resources is to compost food waste and use it to grow green spaces in and around your hotel. Science has proven that plants create more relaxing indoor environments and they add life to otherwise gray areas.

Unused outdoor spaces can also be repurposed into small orchards to charm customers with an interesting view and some natural treats. If dealing with fruit or vegetable-bearing plants sounds too daunting, you can also consider planting flowers.

Color-code a memorable experience

From the robe to the slippers and the sheets to the towels. Even if white is always the go-to solution for a clean and inviting mood, interior design will work wonders. Do you have a color palette? Are your decorations leaning towards a formal or a more casual style? Details like this may be easy to miss, but they will make a difference in the back of your guests’ minds. A harmonious room will lead to a cozier hotel stay.

Is there art in the room? If you’re at a tourist destination, you may want to portray your area’s cultural and natural landmarks in your decorations to entice hotel guests who come looking for a memorable experience. Adding QR codes in hotel rooms and in the different spaces of your hotel will also allow you to offer customers a wealth of information.

Integrate NFC technology

Enrich the guest experience, go paperless, and create a modern luxury hotel feel with NFC technology. Near Field Communications uses short-range wireless technology to allow pieces of equipment called “tags” to send and receive information. This may sound complicated, but if you’ve ever used a contactless payment app on your phone, you already understand how it works!

NFC allows hotel guests to receive information on demand, without delays or the need for a printed document. As soon as someone scans a code, they receive the information they need. You can also personalize fun and unique experiences as well as self-guided tours.

Tour builder for hotel establishments and traveler services

Provide good Wi-Fi

This one is pretty straightforward. Hotel guests want their room to be their home away from home, and in the modern age, accessible and reliable Wi-Fi is part of feeling at home. 

Wi-Fi is a really powerful tool which allows hotel guests to check in and out, get their plane tickets and look at the weather forecast. 

It allows hotel staff to stay connected and help each other. It keeps the kids entertained while mom and dad unpack and plan the activities for the day. You’re most probably using it right now to read these words. A good Wi-Fi connection keeps people closer to their loved ones and their personal projects. You want customers to take pictures in your hotel and share their Instagram stories, so that all their friends can see your hotel in all its splendor. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth!

Empower hotel staff to improve the guest experience

Imagine arriving at your hotel, opening your bag, and noticing your phone charger is four time zones away. Wouldn’t you be relieved to learn that a clever hotel manager thought to keep phone chargers at the front desk?

Small, useful gadgets such as phone chargers and adapters will allow hotel staff to immediately solve issues that may be hindering the guest experience. Many first-timers to your area may not know power outlets are different from those back home. Taking it one step further, some may not have prepared for a rainy or hot day. Items like the following will be useful to have around for guests to use or borrow:

  • Phone chargers
  • Power outlet adapters
  • Umbrellas
  • Parasols
  • Hand fans
  • Sun lotion
  • Band-Aids
  • Colored pencils/crayons
  • Diapers
  • Earplugs

Stop and smell the roses (and the breakfast buffet!)

Never underestimate the effect good smell can have on customer experience. Let hotel guests wake up and go to the common areas to discover the sweet fragrance of a feast ready for the taking. Add organic and locally grown foods as a value proposition to modern sensibilities. 

Consider that many young people take more pictures of their food during their holidays than they do of statues and landscapes. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and a nice breakfast buffet will let you conquer those hearts every morning.

Adding scented candles to your hotel will help create an inviting, relaxed mood. Just imagine someone coming in through the front door one rainy day and suddenly experiencing the sweet aroma as they approach the front desk. If you have already considered investing in flowers, they will lend their aroma alongside their beauty.

Comfortable and functional coworking spaces 

Business travelers and digital nomads will appreciate this very much. A somewhat barren area of your hotel can be upgraded to provide a comfortable guest experience for those interested in working during their hotel stay. A coworking hub may become a center to make connections not only between hotel guests but also between them and the locals they’ve come to work with. This is important because locals who bring business travelers to town are inadvertently improving your business.

Supplying some office equipment is a good way to add a functional flair to any business traveler’s temporary office. Don’t forget the usefulness of NFC technology for letting people know how to use any piece of equipment and any office ground rules.

Loyalty programs for business travelers and other frequent guests

Maybe Bob from two towns over has some business in town every month. Why not offer him a discount or perk to make him feel more welcome? Maybe a hotel room upgrade in case he wants to bring the wife and kids for the weekend. 

There are many reasons why people need to travel somewhere periodically. While business travelers have meetings to attend, other hotel guests could be there because it’s the annual gathering of their fandom, or perhaps a music festival is happening close by. Keeping these customers in mind and creating incentives to choose your hotel over any other is a great way to grow your customer base.

Take the hotel experience beyond the hotel stay

The hotel industry goes hand in hand with all kinds of industries like restaurants, cultural venues, and many others. Partnering with places in your area is a great way to give customers the most memorable experience.

Hotel guests need to go to and from the airport, that’s a given. Wouldn’t their experience be substantially improved if their hotel could help them with transportation? You can make travelers feel like real V.I.P.s if you help them deal with the trials and tribulations of moving around your area. It may be a good idea to partner up with a local mobility service provider.

Once the whole hassle of transportation has been dealt with, maybe your guests want to book restaurant reservations or find out where to experience local art and culture. If you make this easier for them, you might just win their heart! You can use NFC technology to give hotel guests a list of places to explore around town. Why keep flyers around the front desk if you can send that information directly to their phones in just a few clicks?

Ready to digitize your hotel? 

Change the way your customers think about the hotel stay by adding technological advances such as NFC. MySmartJourney provides you with the tools to create a streamlined, personalized hotel experience. Build tours of your premises and create new fun and unique experiences. 

MySmartJourney’s platform is used by museums, art galleries, historical sites, hotel establishments and other businesses in order to deliver to their customers all the information they may need or want. By adding this technology to your business, you will guarantee hotel guests access to a modern, memorable experience.

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Women holds a smartphone and a shopping bag together
2021-11-03 | 17:36

What is Phygital Marketing? 

What is Phygital Marketing?

Phygital is a hybrid of the words physical and digital. Phygital marketing merges online and offline marketing strategies to enhance and personalize the customer experience. The rise of phygital marketing comes to no surprise with people becoming increasingly reliant on digital technology but still craving physical experiences. 

When considering digital and physical realms, most choose to see these two as distinct but this couldn't be further from the truth, as today, the digital sphere is inherently interconnected with the physical sphere. Consider the link between online shopping and physical stores. 

Did you know that 63% of shopping experiences begin online? (source) Even so, a great majority of people prefer shopping in physical stores. It’s not rare that people find pieces of clothing they like while browsing online in the comfort of their home and then go to the physical store to try them on. This is where phygital experiences come into play. 

Benefits of Phygital Marketing

Phygital marketing is a must in 2021 if you want to boost sales but what are the specific benefits that phygital marketing can bring to the table? Here are just a few:

Caters for everyone

Phygital marketing caters for everyone. As it merges physical and digital shopping experiences, you make sure that those who prefer to shop in person and those who prefer to shop online are catered for

For example, the click and collect options that are frequently offered by retail stores are a great way for businesses to cater for both in-person and online shoppers. The click and collect service allows you to shop from home but still provides an in-store experience. 

Takes some pressure off your staff 

Distributing digital features throughout a store can help take the pressure off your staff as it allows consumers to be in control of their own shopping experience when in stores. Having products labeled with QR codes that direct shoppers towards all the relevant information they might need to know about a particular product reduces the number of people bothering staff for information. 

This in turn allows staff to direct their attention to other more pressing issues in the store and use their time more effectively throughout their shift

Better for the environment 

The environmental benefits of phygital marketing are not always considered, but the way in which physical marketing can cut down on the use of paper and other such materials is one of the best things about it. 

One key example of this benefit is the printing of receipts. Printing receipts is a waste of paper, especially because there are alternative options. Physical marketing can replace a printed receipt with an e-receipt that is sent to your email, which can minimize the negative environmental impacts of the store. 

Perfect for Covid-19 

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many retail stores into phygital marketing. As stores were forced to close, many had to find a solution to stay in business. That answer was phygital marketing. During the pandemic, many stores started to offer curbside pickup which meant that consumers could still browse the contents of the shop online, and could come to the store to pick it up. As the pandemic has shifted many people’s habits, this curbside pickup format will likely remain post pandemic as it is convenient and simple. 

Increase engagement 

The main advantage of phygital marketing is the way in which it advertises your store and the freedom it gives marketing teams. Incorporating touch screens, having an interactive storefront, and even incorporating augmented reality into the shopping experience is a way to engage shoppers who are not necessarily in-person shoppers. 

If you are able to grab the attention of passers-by with your phygital marketing strategy in physical stores, the likelihood of them either taking time out of their day to visit your store or going home to see what all the fuss is about exponentially increases. 

If the benefits of phygital marketing have intrigued you, and you would like to find out more, visit MySmartJourney to discover how they have been incorporating phygital marketing into businesses across Canada. 

How to Develop a Phygital Marketing Strategy 

Now that you are aware of the benefits of phygital marketing, hopefully you are considering integrating it into your own business plan. If that is the case, here are a few tips to help you develop a phygital marketing strategy:

Know your target market 

One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to know your target audience inside out. The first step is to identify who your target audience is. Knowing who you are catering for will allow you to create marketing campaigns that can be directed towards them specifically

For example, if you have a younger target market, they will likely be doing most of their shopping online so you need to see how you can entice them into stores. On the other hand, older generations like to shop in stores so you need to research how you can encourage them to also explore online shopping. 

One of the best ways to get a comprehensive understanding of your target audience and what they want is to encourage customers and consumers to give you feedback and to routinely check reviews to see how you can improve your offer. 

Leverage apps 

A great strategy to create a successful phygital marketing experience is to leverage apps. Apps are a brilliant tool to use because they are already in your consumers’ pockets. MySmartJourney provides companies with a scalable platform to make it easy to provide physical digital experiences. 

With something as simple as QR code, customers with the app can get an abundance of information directly to their mobile phone, making the practical transferral of information seamless. Moreover, if you want a more interactive and fun use of phygital marketing, you can redirect consumers to quizzes and games through the app to bring a creative and interactive element to your marketing campaign. 

Create an experience 

Going shopping is no longer an in and out experience, retail stores are continuously trying to find new ways to make the experience more interactive, fun and inclusive whilst still staying accessible to all. 

There are a multitude of different ways in which you can create these unique experiences, from distributing games throughout your stores, like those that you can achieve or more advanced forms of technology such as holographic try on stations where people can see what outfits would look like on them without actually trying anything on. 

Whilst some of these more advanced uses of technology might sound like something from the future, as phygital marketing starts to become more prevalent, stores are going to continue to experiment with new and unique ways of merging the physical and digital spheres. 

Examples of phygital experiences 

Whilst there are lots of different forms that phygital experiences can take, here are just a few to give you an idea.

Amazon Go 

Amazon Go stores have been slowly popping up all over the world. They were founded in 2018, by none other than Amazon and currently have 21 locations around the world. Amazon Go stores are changing the way that we do our everyday grocery shop. 

With minimal staff, the Amazon Go shop is the ultimate phygital experience. It works by scanning a QR code upon entry. Once inside the store, you simply fill up your basket and leave, there is no need to check out because the sensors throughout the shop can identify what you have bought and automatically charge the card linked to your account. 

Glossier 

Glossier is an online beauty store which does not have physical stores. However, their phygital marketing campaign involved setting up pop-up shops in different countries throughout the world. Pop up shops are a great way for online stores to create phygital experiences.

Nike 

The clothing and sneaker brand Nike had an in store shoe personalization. Customers were able to digitally create a shoe of their own design. The shoe was then created in the store and they could take it home that day. 

Overview 

Phygital experiences are the future of shopping. In today’s world, the digital and the physical spheres are inherently interconnected so retailers must learn to adapt to this new reality. To learn about how you can integrate phygital marketing into your business, visit MySmartJourney!

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Young Woman Wearing VR in Museum of Modern Art
2021-11-10 | 21:41

8 ways to bring fun to your museum

As museums and art galleries have begun to re-open their doors to the public, the question arises: How to provide audiences with engaging experiences while maintaining both the safety protocols and the needs of visitors in mind?

It is better for society if museums keep showing us the past instead of becoming part of it, and as the way people communicate and interact with each other changes, new avenues to enhance the cultural enrichment of museum visitors are paved.

What is important for a museum?

The most important thing for a museum is to have its own identity. Visitors must be captivated by a unique museum visit that takes them away from their daily routines to a world of wonder and whimsy.

All museum exhibits are different. If art galleries were people, they wouldn’t dress or act the same way natural history exhibits would. In the same vein, museums should show their personality across their premises and in the way they communicate with their customers.

By having a better idea of who is visiting the exhibits and why they do it, museum curators can have a clearer picture of how best to express the uniqueness of their exhibits. If you are at a tourist destination, you might want to try to inspire a feeling of wanderlust to cater to the expectations of travelers. Museums that are more often frequented by families or schools can consider having customizable information that captures the attention of children.

Learn more about customizable museum visits

How do you make museums more fun? 

1. Add interactivity with NFC-integrated technology

Sometimes play can be the best way to learn. From quizzes to educational software, there are many ways to let customers have a hands-on approach to their museum experience. 

It is common, even expected, for museums to have items that should under no circumstances be touched by visitors. After all, museums hold invaluable relics and works of art that are meant to be preserved for further generations to behold. However, many learners develop a better understanding and stronger memories by physically interacting with the items they’re learning about.

Everyone wants to know how big they are compared to a dinosaur or see how the helmet on the display would fit on their heads. People enjoy acquiring a little empirical knowledge, especially during a museum visit, and offering instances where they can interact with replicas or full-scale models will be much more engaging to your audience than merely looking and reading.

With the help of MySmartJourney, interaction doesn’t even have to be physical. Even if the world is slowly recovering from the covid-19 pandemic, there are still several regulations taking place and physical contact is still to be avoided when possible. Through the use of NFC integrated technology visitors can access the content of your choice through their phones, thereby reducing the chance of exposure to covid-19.

Near Field Communications (NFC) lets devices communicate over short distances via NFC tags already included in devices such as phones or debit cards. If you’ve ever used contactless payment methods when making a purchase, you’re already familiar with the technology. However, NFC integration can be used in much more interesting ways than handling payments.

MySmartJourney’s customization tools not only let your users interact with your information through an interface with a playful design but will also allow you to create quizzes and other games to challenge and engage with them. You can even gamify your locations, giving a playful touch to a museum visit without the need for any physical installations to be built.

Add NFC integration to your museum

2. Make works of art speak

Museum exhibits will be more immersive experiences if visitors can access audio content relevant to what they’re looking at. Audio tours are the preferred choice of many museum patrons, and through the benefits of customizable audio integration, content can go beyond expectations.

Former audio tour solutions involve the use of messy headphone hardware and extra steps that may end up confusing the user. Thanks to NFC Integration, taking an audio tour is a thing of the past, as not only audio but also text, video, 3D content, and content embedded from the internet can be easily broadcasted via the use of NFC tags. With the help of MySmartJourney’s platform, you can add audio and video content to your exhibits..

3. Reserve spaces for your community

There may be areas in your museum that could be used for something aside from showcasing the regular exhibits. You can set some spaces aside to be used to interact with your community in fun and engaging ways, upgrading your museum to a place people wish to visit regularly. 

Perhaps there is a burgeoning local artist scene in your area. Many up-and-coming artists would appreciate a chance to show their work at an established institution and through coordination with local artists, you can put your museum in the mouths of everybody. Displaying works of art created by local artists is a great way of benefiting both your museum and your community.

Any kind of museum or art gallery with a focus on a family experience can benefit by providing areas where children can express themselves creatively while parents sit down at the café. You will put a smile on the face of many if you have a wall intended to display their creations!

4. Planning and hosting special events

You can further attract both people from your area and travelers by hosting special events from time to time. Be it the changing of the seasons or a national holiday, there is always a reason to give people a chance to have some fun at your museum.

Renaissance fairs and similar events are popular with many people, and even though you may not have the space to hold a whole fair, you can repurpose an area of your premises to offer a tiny bit of the fair experience. Musical performances and other culturally relevant activities can catch the eye of those who have yet to decide what places to visit during their travels.

If you’re at a destination of historical significance, you may like to have some performers recreate an event from the past on its calendar date. Several tourists flock to these areas when local festivities are being held and would eagerly watch the show. If your area is lacking in cultural spaces, you can go ahead and turn your museum into your town’s cultural landmark by giving local artists a place to showcase their talents.

5. Join the online conversation

Everyone in this day and age, from celebrities to fast-food chains, has a presence on the Internet. Museum curators shouldn’t ignore social media as a fundamental part of their visitor’s experience. 

Advertising on social media can help you reach those who would otherwise be unaware of what museum exhibits have to offer. By using the Internet you can also connect better with millennial and gen Z audiences, who tend to disregard traditional media when looking for cultural experiences.

Through the use of social media, you can promote conversation on topics related to your museum or upcoming events. Fun content or important information you wish to share can be easily reached by your followers. You can even plan giveaways or contests to further spread your museum’s influence.

If you’re already planning on hosting events at your museum, there is no best way to let your community and passers-by know all about them than to have information readily available online. Users not only have easy access to the date, time, and place of the event, but they can also easily share this info with their family and peers with the touch of a button.

6. Give younger audiences a connection to the past

Many millennials and gen Z may not find relevance in museums since they may not consider the past applicable to modernity. To better cater to these customers’ sensibilities, it is advisable to give them a connection between the displays and their modern lives.

Museum exhibits can help transfer the human experience from eras long gone by contrasting how the present has been shaped by the past and how modern trends are mirrored by past events. By using NFC technology to add customizable information to displays, you can give millennial visitors a glimpse of how their lives correlate to those of their predecessors.

For example, several western artists have been influenced by Asian culture. By showing a comparison of the influence Hokusai and other Japanese painters had on western artists like Vincent Van Gogh to how the modern Japanese animation boom is changing current trends in the west, art galleries can give younger visitors a bridge to connect with art history.

Customize your museum exhibits 

7. Don’t forget about souvenirs!

Every museum should consider having a selection of mementos for visitors to purchase. Not only is it a great way for a museum to have an additional revenue stream, but it will also allow customers to take a little piece of the magic they discovered during their museum visit home with them. 

A lot of visitors are there on vacation and will be eager to get a trinket to remember their trip. Offer them something unique that brings out your museum’s personality. Even small keepsakes like keychains, magnets, and buttons will infatuate many travelers, and depending on your museum and area of expertise, you can offer much more! Some items you can consider offering are: 

  • T-shirts and other apparel
  • Prints and posters
  • Books
  • Replicas
  • Home décor items
  • Accessories
  • Coffee Mugs
  • Postcards
  • Local food or drinks
  • Handcrafts

You can look to your local community to find suppliers of handmade crafts, art, and jewelry items to offer. Hand-crafted items will add an extra layer of authenticity to your sales stand, as many customers will be looking for items they just can’t find at any store.

8. Offer visitors access to self-guided tours

MySmartJourney lets you easily design and create fun and informative multimedia experiences. All a visitor has to do is scan a code and they will be able to access a playful interface with all the info you need them to have. From there, visitors can guide themselves through the whole visit with the help of the platform.

NFC integrated technology can be placed on any flat surface and will effectively save both your business and your audience time by providing easy access to information. By using multimedia tools, you can not only show text and images but also audio, video, and much more! Museum curators can rest easy knowing guests are getting the most out of their visit.

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Young Woman Looking at Paintings in Museum
2021-11-11 | 15:32

6 reasons why audio guides are changing in 2021

What is an audio guide? 

An audio guide device is an electronic system similar to a music player which allows personalized guided tours in museums or other establishments. 

Audio guides are integrated in the museum experience in order to help visitors understand the exhibitions without the need for a physical tour guide. Whilst some people prefer a guided tour with a museum employee, an audio guide seemingly gives you the best of both worlds as you get all the information you would get from a tour guide but can stroll around the museum at your own pace. 

Audio guides are often used in museums that frequently have foreign language visitors. Think of renowned museums, such as The Louvre or the Natural History Museum, whose visitor demographics are extremely varied. They cannot hire employees for every eventuality so they use audio guide systems, which can be formatted in different languages, in order to accommodate foreign language speakers and visitors. 

Why do audio guides have to change?  

In today’s digital age, audio guides are quickly changing and adapting, as other more innovative options are emerging as better alternatives. 

Here are some of the reasons why audio guides are becoming obsolete:

1. No visual

The most obvious drawback of the audio guide is the fact that there are no visuals attached to it. Whilst some would argue that visuals aren’t needed because you have the physical visuals available in the museum, these are temporary and at a distance. 

There are alternatives available, such as MySmartJourney that can provide you with visuals on your phone along with audio, which complement each other. These visuals are more accessible and can interact with the exhibit in a way that audio guides cannot, creating a more exciting and well rounded visitor experience.

2. Risk of contamination

The Covid-19 pandemic has worked to speed up the adapting process of audio guides as we have become more aware of germs and bacteria. Audio guides come in and out of the hands of countless museum visitors per day, making germ cross contamination a key problem, especially during peak visiting hours. Innovative solutions that leverage customizable apps remove this problem as visitors simply have to use their smartphones (no equipment is needed). 

3. Only stimulate one sense

An audio guide in itself is actually quite limiting as all it offers is an audio aid. Not only is this non-inclusive, and inaccessible to those hard of hearing, but it is also quite a boring experience. The audio guide provides a very one-dimensional user experience which does not make the most of the other senses. 

Having visual aids accompany the audio contents elevates the entire experience and allows visitors to enjoy all the museum has to offer in a more interesting and innovative way. Appealing to other senses also makes alternatives more accessible and user-friendly than audio guides. 

4. Doesn't take advantage of enhanced reality

Enhanced reality creates a more collaborative and interactive experience that elevates the exhibit exponentially. Platforms and interfaces such as MySmartJourney include things such as quizzes, augmented reality and live streams to the journey. 

5. Can't be modified rapidly

One of the biggest downfalls of audio guides is the fact that they cannot be quickly modified. This poses problems for numerous reasons. Firstly, museum exhibits rarely stay the same and are often changed on a regular basis. Audio guides cannot be changed at the same rate that exhibits do, meaning they are constantly behind. 

Moreover, knowledge is constantly evolving. Whilst your audio guide might say one thing about your exhibition, historians and archeologists might have since uncovered new information about it, and your audio guide cannot be easily updated. 

6. It requires physical equipment

Multiple aspects make museum audio guide equipment an undesirable option. Not only are they costly to produce, and transport, but they are also at risk of getting lost and broken. Although audio guide users are generally respectful and responsible with the equipment, accidents happen and these can be costly. 

Best alternative to audio guides 

MySmartJourney offers interfaces that allow museums and places of interest to integrate multimedia content to their exhibitions and the public spaces they occupy. It is the future of tourism. 

They provide a digital and innovative solution to self-guided tours, regardless of the setting. Whilst it can be utilized by museums, it can equally be used in any public space that will benefit from an exchange of information and interaction.

It is an extremely accessible alternative as it functions from the user's smartphone and has a plethora of interactive options, depending on what the situation calls for. This could mean including quizzes for children, or more informative academic content for adults. 

Moreover, the setup allows you to endlessly update information in real time, ensuring your information is always up to date and never becomes dated. The way in which you utilize the interface is up to you, but the opportunities are endless and far more interesting than anything audio guides can offer. 

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Tourist woman taking photo using mobile phone on old narrow street in Croatia
2021-11-19 | 16:36

Benefits of self guided tours

The world slowly reopens and we’re able to stretch our legs once again. After a long stay home, every day more and more people yearn to go outdoors in search of an authentic experience. 

Even though traditional touristic tours, where you go somewhere new and have a guide walk you through all the important places, are still popular, self-guided tours are a more relaxed and personalized alternative.

What is a self-guided tour?

A self-guided tour is a self-governing tour where you can enjoy exploring walking routes or urban areas without the need for a tour guide. Self-guided trips can be both a personal and group experience. 

Many companies or touristic sites now provide maps, directions, suggestions, information and items to see to make self-guided tours an interactive and unique experience. 

Create digital routes for tourist and cultural sites

What’s the difference between a guided and a self-guided tour? 

During a guided tour, your whole experience is curated by your tour guide, who has already planned where to go and what to do. In contrast, self-guided tours allow people to choose their own activities and the pace of the tour.

This means you can stray off the path and, for example, follow the trail alongside a river all the way to its source. It is up to your wanderlust (and your stamina) how far you choose to go. If your need to travel goes beyond hotels and fancy meals, self-guided trips may just be the thing for you.

Types of self-guided tours

There’s a myriad of destinations available to the daring adventurer who prefers self-guided authentic experiences. These vary in complexity from idyllic walking routes with the sunshine on your face to braving the winter wilderness by force of wit and preparation.

A novice traveler, or one who’s abroad, should stay away from more demanding trails until they’ve acquired some experience. There’s nothing wrong with tackling the small challenges first and then coming back to the harder ones with a couple of completed routes under your belt.

Here’s a list of ideas for people willing to choose a self-guided tour for their next getaway. We’ll start with the basic, leisurely activities one can do with friends and family, and then go a little over what the most intrepid independent travel aficionados are doing.

Walking routes

Walking routes might be closer to you than you think! In fact, a self-guided tour guide can make a walking route out of any interesting area of their own city. Those amateurs who would rather have an adventure day away from the bright city lights would do good to research trails in and around their area. One would be surprised to discover how many wonders nature hides just a couple of kilometers away from our homes.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that walking routes are perfect for everyone. A small group of people can spend the afternoon walking next to the river. Older folks can take their time and enjoy the chirping of birds. A multifamily gathering can happen on the trail itself, giving the adults the perfect place to hang out and the kids room to play and run around.

Tour builder for walking trails 

Rail trails

Decommissioned railways still connect towns and cities through hills, rivers, and valleys. Once the rolling trains are but a memory, nature will slowly begin retaking the tracks, creating beautiful walkways across the countryside.

Natural walkways are created by nature taking over old train tracks. Many of these are flat and spacious, which makes rail trails ideal for joggers, cyclists, and even horse riders. Since many abandoned train tracks lead to historical sites, many culturally-inclined explorers looking for a self-guided walking tour will find them interesting.

Urban trails

One doesn’t have to travel far away from home to have a memorable self-guided trip. Urban trails cut through the streets and parks of cities big and small all around the world. Have you been to all the major landmarks in your area? Taking a self-guided walking tour of one’s own hometown is a great way to exercise and learn more about the place you live in. 

On the other hand, an interesting experiment you may want to try at least once in your life is to travel abroad to a concrete jungle far away and discover part of it on foot. You will be amazed at how different it will be from going around in a cab, tour bus, or other kinds of guided travel. Plus, many museums, galleries and historical sites create self-guided tours for you so that you can access interactive information from your mobile device. 

Tour builder for associations, circuits and tourist routes

Bicycle trails

Who says you have to walk to have an authentic experience? The great outdoors is ready for the taking at your favorite speed, and if that speed is dashing through on a bike with the wind on your face, then so be it.

Many experienced cyclists go off-road, through the mountains, or across the countryside. Those looking for a more casual, relaxed escapade can look forward to the many trails scattered all around. Maybe the next town is not that far, and there’s a neat bike path along the highway. What better way to spend a summer afternoon than to ride around in the wind, feeling the warmth of the evening sun?

Tour builder for municipal parks 

Water trails

Rivers, lakes, and canals are often navigated for recreational purposes. Also known as blueways, these water trails dot the landscape and are popular with eco-tourists. Much of the Trans Canada Trail, the longest recreational trail network in the world, is composed of water trails.

It is not advised for amateur self-guided trip enthusiasts to try and solo a water trail. Even if you’re in a group, it is better to already be experienced with the canoe or your vessel of choice to avoid any possible accidents or complications. Once you’re sitting on a boat drifting through the middle of the river there’s no easy way out. Remember that during a self-guided tour you act as your own tour guide, and therefore must keep an eye on your safety.

Benefits of self-guided tours

Go where you wish

There’s no need to sit through unwanted stops during a self-guided tour. Choose only the destinations you wish to see and make the most of your time. There ain’t no mountain high enough or valley low enough, it is up to you which challenges you wish to overcome.

If the trail you’re walking through has NFC technology integrated along the way then there will be nothing to worry about in terms of getting lost. Near Field Communications provides travelers with all the information they need to ensure an authentic experience. All kinds of interactive content can be made available to anyone who scans a QR code with their mobile phone.

Take all the time you want

Imagine climbing a mountain to discover the perfect view of the valley below as rays of sunshine break through the clouds, only to have to turn away 5 minutes later because the tour group is going away.

Self-guided tours let individuals choose the pace at which they wander around. Nobody knows at what speed you enjoy doing things better than yourself, so be your own guide and don’t let anyone stop you from smelling the flowers.

It’s safe for your health

With the coronavirus pandemic still affecting our daily lives, it is better to search for activities to do alone or in small groups. Self-guided tours are a perfect way to go out and enjoy oneself while still practicing social distancing.

Aside from pandemic-related health concerns, it is impossible to deny the positive health effects one can enjoy by partaking in walking routes. Not only does walking through a trail count as very good exercise, but it will also boost your immune system and improve your mood.

Easier on the pockets

Forget about paying for a tour guide. Choose a self-guided trip and plan accordingly to have everything figured out before you set foot out of the house. By being your own tour guide, you can try and sidestep tourist traps. Favor mingling with the locals and find out where to experience authentic food.  

Phygital experience

Municipal parks, cultural sites, and walking trails can enhance the self-guided experience by implementing NFC technology along the route. With this revolutionary technology, anyone can easily navigate a sea of information about a trail or route.

NFC is capable of transmitting all kinds of content directly to a user’s phone via short-range wireless technology. For self-guided tours, this means having all the information on the wildlife, geography, and history of the trail. One will be able to lose themselves in the beauty of the journey, while all logistics on the route are available on-demand and information regarding their safety is always within reach.

Sense of accomplishment

While a guided tour will remind you of watching an exhibition, a self-guided tour will feel like jumping into the paintings to explore them and create your own fun memories. Each trail you conquer will add to the feeling of achievement. There’s nothing like setting out to complete your goals and seeing your plans to fruition. Self-guided tours provide you with the opportunity to go from staring at a map to climbing the top of the mountain through the force of your willpower alone.

Want to customize a self-guided tour for your business?

Companies in different industries leverage MySmartJourney’s NFC integrated technology to create a personalized, authentic experience for travelers of all ages and walks of life. Our 100% web-based platform allows you to create fun and informative content from all your devices, without having to learn to code.

Quick and easy to implement, MySmartJourney is the perfect tool to give people exactly the information they need. This state-of-the-art technology is used by all kinds of businesses and institutions, from museums to art galleries and even walking trails, to provide customers with informative and entertaining content. 

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Diversity and Inclusion in Museum
2021-11-11 | 15:44

Best 6 Museum Tours in Canada

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected pretty much every single industry throughout the world. As governments were forced to implement social distancing policies in order to keep the population safe, a number of businesses had to adapt

Whilst some businesses were able to remain open as people worked from home, museums had to shut their doors to the public. However, some still managed to make the best out of this situation. Indeed, some of the most famous museums in Canada leveraged technology to bring the museum experience into people's homes. In this article, we share some of the best virtual and non-virtual museum tours Canada has to offer. 

What are the best museum tours in Canada? 

Now that we can actually visit museums in person again, we thought it would be helpful to share a list of the best museum tours in Canada for you to plan your trips and excursions. Here are some of the best museums to visit in Canada:

1. Canadian Museum of Immigration

The Canadian Museum of Immigration is one of the most eye opening and inspiring museums in Canada. Located at the national historic site of Pier 21 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, even the site of the architecturally impressive museum building holds significance. It is located in the very spot where close to 1 million immigrants landed between 1928 and 1971 in order to call Canada their new home. 

Inside the museum, you will find heartwarming stories about immigrants, many of whom took dangerous journeys from their home countries to start a new life in Canada. The museum shares a powerful message and recognizes the importance of immigrants in shaping the ongoing development of Canada. Inside, visitors are given access to a collection of stories, pictures and artifacts that all work together to accurately convey the immigrant experience. 

2. Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum of Human Rights is a one of a kind museum located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is an impressive institution that seeks to educate its visitors through engagement and reflection. It is located on ancestral land and everything from the design of the building and the water system is sustainably and ethically sourced, as the museum practices what it preaches. 

The main purpose of the museum is to teach visitors about human rights, including human rights violations and how and what we can learn from them. Although there is a focus on human rights in Canada, it is an interconnected museum that also makes references to the wider world and its relation to Canada. It exhibits stories of resilience, resistance and revolutions all in relation to human rights. The visit encourages self-reflection and education surrounding human rights.  

3. Canadian War Museum 

The Canadian War Museum is one of the many museums to explore that teach visitors about Canada’s military history. Located in Ottawa, Ontario, the museum is popular as it welcomes around 500,000 visitors per year. It is a well-respected museum across the world due to the accuracy in which it conveys information regarding armed conflicts. It is home to an impressive collection of vehicles, artillery, uniforms, medals and more. 

Despite the fact that the museum is home to over 3 million artifacts, it still manages to provide visitors with intimate and personal connections to the history and stories of people who have fought for Canada. They do this by including personal memoirs in their exhibits which provide visitors with an emotional connection to the past stories of wars. 

4. Art Gallery of Ontario 

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is a vibrant and exciting museum. It is an impressive institution as it is one of the largest art museums in North America. It features works of art by famous artists from across the world, including collections from Andy Warhol, David Milne and Shuvinai Ashoona, just to name a few. 

During your visit at the museum, you can find different types of art, from different geographical regions, such as a large collection of Canadian art, European art and Indigenous art in multiple mediums, such as photography, library archives as well as prints and drawings. The collection spans from 100 A.D  to the present day, giving you a comprehensive overview of the history of art. There are always multiple exhibitions to visit which are sure to capture your attention and imagination. 

5. Museum of Anthropology 

The Museum of Anthropology is located in the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The museum was initially established in order to bring awareness to other cultures and educate visitors around the practices and customs of cultures around the world. However, since its inception, there has been an emphasis on indigenous culture

Its heavily indigenous influenced exhibits include things such as impressive carvings and a spiritual totem pole. The museum seeks to emphasize and advocate for indigenous rights and ensure they can maintain and develop their land, traditions and cultural heritage. 

6. Royal Ontario Museum 

The Royal Ontario Museum is one of the top ten cultural institutions in North America and is the largest museum in Canada. The exhibits and collections are vast and varied. In one corner you will find a collection of prehistoric artifacts and fossils, in the next an exhibit of  Egyptian gems, and in the next an impressive array of contemporary art. There really is something for everyone. 

Even the architecture is something to admire as the huge limestone building sits beneath an impressive shard-like formation of glass and crystal. There are also beautiful outdoor areas with ample seating and even a rooftop terrace, making the entire experience one to remember. 

8 trends that are transforming museums 

Virtual tours of Canadian museums 

Although the above museums are impressive and worth a visit, during the Covid-19 pandemic, visiting museums was not an option and some people still prefer to avoid enclosed spaces. To cater to the public’s needs, museums designed virtual museum tours so that customers could enjoy a visit from the comfort and safety of their homes. Here is a list of some of the best virtual tours offered by Canadian Museums

Royal Ontario Museum 

Although a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum is a must, you can also enjoy a virtual tour for now. The museum has a strong digital footprint and has worked hard to get 47,000 exhibition objects and artifacts digitally curated in order for guests to enjoy from home. 

One of their most impressive current online virtual exhibitions is called The Blue Whale Project. The online exhibition lets you browse some impressive images of blue whales and provides valuable information to help you learn about the current condition of the blue whale. It is also accompanied by videos from professionals in the field. The result is a highly informative, interesting, and impressive exhibition that can be accessed from your phone, laptop or tablet

Online exhibitions 

Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights also allows you to explore their museum from home. Their virtual tours are led by guides who will guide your visit through the galleries and architecture of the museum in Manitoba. 

Architecture is one of the biggest draws to the museum so it’s an integral part of virtual tours. One of the virtual tour options is a ten-minute video that takes you around the museum and shows you the breathtaking views from the top floors of the museum, one of the visitors’ favorite places. 

Pacific Museum of Earth

The Pacific Museum of Earth’s virtual tours are impressive. This museum is a step ahead of other museums as it provides 3D virtual tours. You can click around the museum and choose to zoom in on the pieces that intrigue you the most and catch your attention. 

The museum also allows you to choose some collection pieces and provides you with a link so that you can access videos and descriptions to further enhance the learning experience in an interactive way

Create your own interactive museum experience

Want to make your museum experience more interactive? 

Interactive elements in museums are a great way to get adults and children directly involved in the exhibits and encourage engagement. To digitize the visitor experience, many museums leverage NFC technology. 

NFC technology stands for near-field communication technology, which makes it possible for two devices to essentially talk to each other in close range and exchange data. You might not have heard of this term but you’ve definitely experienced it in your day-to-day life through contactless payments, such as Apple or Google pay. 

What you probably don’t know is that it can also be used in different and creative ways. MySmartJourney leverages this technology to help businesses customize digital routes for tourist and cultural sites. Our platform allows clients to create informative, useful and entertaining multimedia digital journeys to impress their customers, visitors and users.

The options are endless when it comes to NFC technology, and the more creative you get the more exciting it will be for your target audience when visiting your museum. If you have an idea of how to integrate NFC and want to bring your museum into the 21st century digital age, feel free to contact us to personalize your customer journey. 

Deploy contactless and interactive journeys in any public space

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