I first heard of Guide Me Tours when I met up for a bit of Museum Hopping (as you do) with Clare from Intermezzo Arts. She explained how it was a win/win situation as museums didn’t pay a thing but turned a profit.
Pardon? Nothing is free without an asterisk.
But it’s truly a genuine business model that provides a free app to museums, galleries … any cultural venue and turns it into profit. While I had the day with Clare and had the opportunity to ask question after question (looking for the asterisk and loophole), I felt a Guest Blog for her to explain it would be best.
Take it away Clare:
As technology advances forward at an ever-increasing pace it is inevitable that museums, art galleries and heritage properties around the UK will look to enter this market. The adoption of new technology by these venues has been a slow one and there are several reasons for this, including cost. Apps in particular are highly successful products which have been effectively used by some of the major museums, art galleries and heritage properties around the world. However, to write, design and build a product which encompasses all the innovations that iphones and smart phones have to offer doesn’t come cheap.
Guide Me Tours is an arts and business success story which has been able to offer these services free of charge to the venue and allow them access to this new technology. Two private companies came together to create Guide Me Tours (www.intermezzo-arts.co.uk and www.versko.com) with the philanthropic aim of helping to generate an income for museums, art galleries and heritage properties, particularly in these difficult economic times. This was no easy task and required the input of a technology company, historians, art historians and tour guides, all of whom had an interest in arts and culture and were willing to risk investment to support the venture.
Guide Me Tours write the tours on behalf of the venue, create and record the audio visual guided tour and then work in conjunction with them to market and sell the tours online. The income is shared between the app and android stores, the venue and Guide Me Tours. With the high percentage of smart phone users within the UK this is a lucrative income market for venues who are increasingly working with reduced or extremely limited budgets. The beauty of these apps is that they can be purchased in house or globally by local visitors, international visitors, students of art, museum lovers, historians and many others, and thus allow each location to obtain an income from a global market. Guide Me Tours also take on the production and ongoing maintenance of each app on behalf of the venue.
Apps themselves can be used in many different ways reasons within museums and art galleries and can make use of interactive elements and instant feedback. There are many arguments against using this technology for guided tours in case they are pushing visitors around and preventing them from truly engaging with a collection. We consider that our Apps offer both of these services – you can take a tour or view individual pieces as you move around at your own pace. Either way, you are helping to support the venue of your choice and allowing them to remain open and free to all their visitors
I hope this philanthropic approach works well for the venues and is just one of several ways in which businesses can help these much valued and loved buildings and collections.
To purchase our Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum audio tour click here
To preview a free version of the Kelvingrove app click here
If you are a venue and would like to find out more email us at firstname.lastname@example.org