Our First Video Tutorial (more coming soon!)

Hello folks, this is going to be a VERY short blog post, as the most important thing here is to let you know that we have finally begun releasing video tutorials, and where to go on YouTube to see them: https://www.youtube.com/culturespots

Cutting to the chase, here’s the video itself: (<3mins) “CultureSpots – Just Getting Comfy”…

Just so you know, we’re hard at work producing a slew of other video tutorials where we’ll show you step by step, screen by screen, field by field, exactly how to configure your branding, create and edit a spot, manage spots, create and edit a tour, manage tours, organize your spots into tours, edit your account, and so on.

And, we’ll be explaining all the little details along the way, so you really understand.  Each will be short, and easily digestible though.

This first video is VERY BASIC!  We only wanted to show you what it looks like when you first get into CultureSpots as a subscriber, where to go to get stuff done, and how that looks to your visitor when they access your mobile audio tours on their smartphone.

Many more on the way!

Thank you, be well, and enjoy,

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots




Immersive Heritage Tourism: Are We There Yet?

Question: What do you think tourists do more: 1) take self-guided walking tours, or 2) take organized tours of local history and culture?

By a multiple of two and a half times, 27% vs 11%, tourists choose to go on self-guided walking tours.  In fact, of the top 51 activities that tourists reported doing while travelling these last few years, self-guided walking tours ranked #5, whereas taking organized tours ranked #41.

This is according to an October 2014 report “Heritage Tourism in Philadelphia: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities” prepared by ConsultEcon Inc. at the request of The Pew Charitable Trusts, and recently provided to me by a trusted friend and colleague “in the know”.  (download report here)

So, since more tourists prefer to go off on their own, rather than participate in tours organized by others, do you think historic sites and cultural/heritage attractions are investing enough in making sure these independent explorers are having an optimal experience?  And do you think they’re likely leveraging the smartphone technology that visitors are bringing along with them?

Well, probably not, as evidenced by this quote taken from the same report: “There is also a widespread belief that the sector might do better if it could make history more entertaining, interactive, and immersive and more relevant to younger, tech-savvy audiences.”

Focusing on the attractions in Philadelphia’s Historic District, their funding/budget cuts and mostly flat or declining attendance over the last decade, there is a clear need to do more and do things differently in order to grab visitors’ attention, raise their awareness, get them to care, have a good time, return, bring others with them and share their positive experiences with more potential visitors.

Hmmm…how about providing visitors with a comprehensive array of mobile audio tours?

Now, I’m not foolish enough to believe that mobile audio tours are a singular solution.  Nor will I tell you that most every visitor would even want to use a mobile audio tour when they’re out exploring.

But, I will say that mobile audio tours can help, and that a meaningful number of visitors will take advantage of them if they’re offered.  I will also say that mobile audio tours continue to be woefully underutilized, often misused and too frequently overlooked, despite their unique capabilities and particular appropriateness for exactly the task-at-hand.

This is precisely why we built our mobile audio tour platform – CultureSpots.com – both technologically (works on any standard smartphone, with no app to download/install!) and from a business model standpoint (see our FREE Basic Plan subscription!) so that any cultural/heritage destination can offer their visitors mobile audio tours.  [UPDATE as of 7/4/2016 – We have retired our FREE Basic Plan for new subscribers.  Current FREE Basic Plan subscribers may continue using the Basic Plan subscription for FREE forever as originally promised.  New subscribers can subscribe to the Basic Plan for just $19/month or $199/year (=15% discount)]

And with storytelling being so core to the way we communicate, connect and understand the world, having such an easy, affordable and effective means as CultureSpots for sharing such a wealth of interesting stories with visitors can really only be a good thing.

With all that said, I’d just like to restate our mission to make sure that EVERY museum and gallery, cultural destination and historic/heritage site who would like to offer mobile audio tours, CAN offer mobile audio tours.

It would be our honor for CultureSpots to be one trusted component in an array of offerings from which visitors can choose for a more entertaining, interactive, immersive, and relevant cultural/heritage tourism experience.

Help us spread the word?  (forward this email, follow/share us on facebook and twitter)

Thank you, be well, and enjoy,

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots


Photo credit: Rdsmith4 / Foter / CC BY-SA

New Years Fireworks

Fired Up For 2015?

Winding down 2014 and looking ahead into 2015, there’s lots to be excited about here at CultureSpots.  If you can manage a quiet moment of reflection during what can be a chaotic time of year, I’m sure you can find much to be excited about in your world too.  For a glimpse into what’s got us so fired up, here are a few forthcoming highlights: 

  1. Jan/Feb 2015 – We’ll kick the new year off with a series of project-planning meetings, workshops and other activities with the wonderful folks at the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and STAMP (Students at Museums in Philly) Teen Council.  This is going to be an extraordinarily fun and fulfilling collaboration as we work together to produce a comprehensive collection of mobile audio tours tailored specifically to engage thousands of teens who are using the STAMP Pass to visit (for FREE!) 15+/- of Philly’s most highly-esteemed museum, arts and cultural destinations.  http://phillystamppass.org/about/our-partners/
  2. Feb 15-17 – We’re proud to be sponsoring, and attending for the second year in a row, the Annual Small Museum Association Conference at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, in Ocean City, MD.  We boosted our sponsorship level this year, and so we’ll have the honor and privilege of welcoming attendees with a few words at the wine and cheese reception and will then be on-hand throughout the conference with a prime-positioned table inside the Resource Hall for anyone who’d like to stop by and learn more.  http://www.smallmuseum.org/Conference
  3. April 12-14 – Though we don’t yet have specific plans for the PA Museums Annual Conference in Harrisburg, PA, we do know that we’ll be there.  With close family nearby, this will be an especially fun year for us to be attending this conference.  http://www.pamuseums.org/programs-services/
  4. April 24-26 – Last year’s Association of Academic Museums & Galleries Annual Conference was on the West Coast, and though we were a sponsor, we held off on attending until this year, when it will be in Atlanta, GA.  Having upped our sponsorship level by an order of magnitude as this year’s Conference Luncheon sponsor, we’ll have an extraordinary opportunity to share a few words with all the attendees during lunch, and will be on-hand throughout the conference with materials and opportunities for further conversation and demonstrations.  http://www.aamg-us.org/learn-with-us/
  5. All 2015 – Mini Road Trips throughout the year – possibly even cross country?  If you’d like to arrange an in-person demonstration, training, meeting, conversation, etc., we’d love to find a way to make it happen regardless of where you are.  We LOVE TO TRAVEL!!!  So, if we can make the numbers and logistics work, and maybe even get some help from you with personal introductions to some other nearby potential CultureSpots implementation opportunities, we’ll likely be able to figure something out.  There’s nothing like meeting in-person and really getting into the nitty gritty of what your needs and opportunities are, and how CultureSpots can help!

Hope to see you in the new year!

Thank you, be well, and enjoy,

Cliff Stevens

Founder, President/CEO of CultureSpots