June 9, 2021
In this webinar, Guide by Cell CEO and Host Dave Asheim speaks with Mary Helen Reuter, Curator of Education and Visitor Experience at Naples Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida. This amazing cultural venue relies on a medley of Guide by Cell’s mobile technology to support their visitor engagement initiatives.
Specifically, Mary Helen shared her experiences using:
- Text Chat
- Audio Tours
- Super Quizzes
- Smartphone Tours
- QR Codes
Here are some of the highlights from Mary Helen’s use case:
What is Your Goal in Using Mobile Technology?
With more than 4,000 species, there is so much to learn and experience from our garden. We wanted to make sure through our audio tours, smartphone tours, or through the text chat, that we could still connect with our visitors and make sure they're getting the extra information that they need. That’s why we chose to go with Guide by Cell.
Benefits of Having Smartphone Tours with No Downloads
Not having to download anything was huge for us. We actually did experiment years ago with a downloadable app. It did not do well. No one wanted to download anything. Having the cloud-based platform is really key for our visitors.
Older Visitors’ Adoption of Mobile Technology
The median age here is around 52 so we have a skewed older demographic. They're a huge part of who visits the garden. They love the smartphone tours.
How Do Visitors Access Tours?
In our indoor exhibit space, visitors access the audio tour from a sign with a QR code. They scan the code and it goes right to a getting started page that explains how to use the tour in both English and Spanish.
We have a comment section at the end of all of our smartphone tours. Just yesterday, I received a comment from someone who had visited the exhibit last in April. They wanted to learn more so they listened to the audio tour later at home. That’s great that the platform can extend the experience even months after the visit.
The Text Chat Experience
We handwrite the signs for our Text Chat feature. It just feels more personal. It makes you feel like you're going to talk to an actual person.
Text Chat Creates Connections
Some of our signs prompt people to ask a question via text. It’s kind of fun to get these text conversations going. It's not just one question one answer, and then you're done. We really want to make a connection there. It’s also a great way to make your visitors feel acknowledged and make them feel like their questions are valid.
Uses of QR Codes
We have a QR code that goes to our homepage so people can try out our tours. We also have a QR code that goes directly to our GPS map. So if someone wants to see where they are in the garden, they can find out from their phone.
Monitoring the Text Chat Platform
We have a team of text chat monitors. We also have text chat managers on duty. So there's always at least one monitor and one manager scheduled at all times. If the monitor gets a question they can’t answer, they have a manager for backup. If there's a crazy question, they take a screenshot, send it to the manager, and get help. The text chat feature will also send alerts if you want. If someone texts in and you don't notice it on the administrative dashboard, you'll get an alert within a minute.
Text Chat Follow Up After the Visit
If we can't answer a question, we ask for their email. It is a great way to extend the visitor experience. We then ask like the director of horticulture for help with the answer. People love receiving that email.
Motivation Behind the Super Quiz
We really wanted to figure out what information our visitors absorb when they take a tour or look at an exhibit. The super quiz is a great way to figure out if someone is learning something.
Analytics and Reporting
Usually when we run reports, we want to know the number of unique visitors. Sometimes we like to see how long are people listening to the audio stops. That tells me how long I need to be making the audio clips. I’ve learned that going more than 60 seconds, people really drop off. So being able to see how people are using the platform is helpful.
The Benefits of Mobile Technology During COVID
During COVID, our artists couldn't be physically in the exhibit. So, we interviewed them on recordings that we added to our audio tour. Then visitors could take their phone out, scan a QR code, and listen to the artists speaking. It was a nice personal touch.
The Audio Tour Recording Process
We write all of our tours in-house. I use GarageBand for audio mixing and I record everything in my home studio.