The problem our project solves
During the ongoing pandemic, culture is severely affected: Across Europe, Covid-19 has forced the complete or partial closure of over 90% of museums and heritage sites. The shut-down not only directly affects the survival of these institutions, but also visitors and guides. All three parts of the cultural experience are currently encountering the negative impact of the crisis.
Visitors are unable to enjoy cultural experiences, be it around the corner or abroad. Tour guides are losing their jobs, left without contracts and seeing their livelihoods threatened. Currently, some of the measures are being lifted and we see cultural institutions reopen bit by bit. Furthermore, measures vary drastically from country to country. However, it will still take a long time before we go back to experiencing our European heritage in the same way as we used to.
We - a group of motivated, culture loving Europeans - created an inclusive way to visit cultural places with their unique atmosphere and vibe. We want to continue to learn about our past, about our cultural identity through the expertise of accredited tour guides.
After all, European culture is what unites us, what gives us purpose. Being stimulated by art and culture is of utmost importance for mental health and our collective well-being. By fostering social cohesion, we ensure societies’ resilience in times of crisis. To this aim, we found an inclusive, equal, accessible and sustainable solution.
The solution we bring to the table
(technical details, architecture, tools used)
The very first web-based app that enables personalized and interactive guided tours to sites and museums.
We present to you GuideYourGuide - an online platform and tool, which offers visitors remote access to cultural institutions such as museums or heritage sites. Through a mobile device, individual visitors or groups can book the unique experience of a guided tour. Thanks to real-time interaction between both (visitor and guide), the visitor can easily direct the accredited guide, who is physically present in the museum - making it a tailored experience every time.
This solution is not only restricted to the current situation. Even beyond the pandemic, it offers a new, inclusive and remote way for those who would otherwise not be able to visit the museum or heritage site in the first place: overcoming social and economic inequalities, geographic distance, language barriers, age and physical disabilities. We want everyone to be able to experience our joint cultural heritage - here, in Europe, and also around the world.
The platform offers a three-fold solution:
- How it works for Museums and heritage sites (institutions)
Our solution allows visitors to access cultural heritage sites or museum collections, and provides an alternative source of revenue. The institutions can publish a list of potential tours which will be implemented by their accredited tour guides, maintaining their high quality offers. These tours will be made available to the general public thanks to the GuideYourGuide platform. Offers could include both existing tours from before the crisis and new ones, adjusted to the current reality. The institutions determine the price for the tour and they will manage the revenue generated.
An institution can insert a link in their payment page and create an affiliation code for their accredited guides. The link will bring visitors to a remote-tour page, where the visitor can buy tickets. The page will show all the available remote tours created by the institution.
- How it works for tour guides
Accredited guides are an essential part of the solution. In coordination with the institution, they can prepare different itineraries, which can later be adapted by the visitor themselves, depending on what the visitor wants to experience and learn. The visitor will guide the guide while being in constant, real-time communication throughout the tour, conducted via camera (or mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet) and streaming on the online platform.
What is more, professional guides can advertise themselves through the app. They will also be able to invite customers and be paid for the work they do according to the overall agreement with their institution.
- How it works for the visitor
Individual visitors, families, groups of friends, professional teams, even educational institutions and organizations can access unique tours through the platform. The offer can be adjusted according to the needs of the visitor, providing an inclusive approach for all sectors and all groups of society, regardless of any kind of restrictions. The visitor will have access to major European cultural institutions and can experience them in a unique way, in real-time, through the eyes of the guides.
The visitor can book a tour, buy the ticket via the platform, and then be connected with a guide. Through the chat and prior to the tour taking place, they will discuss the details of the tour with the designated, accredited guide. Once they agree on the content of the visit, they can schedule a time and date of the virtual tour.
At this point, both the visitor and the guide will receive a notification about the incoming tour. The connection will be through their mobile phone, or other devices (the platform is hardware agnostic). During the connection, the visitor will be able to direct the visit according to their own preference by talking with the guide or by expressing interest through non-verbal feedback (texts, likes, emojis, etc.).
From a financial point of view, our solution offers an alternative source of income to cultural institutions, up to hundreds of thousands of euro, depending on the amount of remote visits booked.
Our solution is highly sustainable financially. Based on average ticket prices in central Europe, we predict that 70-75% of the income generated through GuideYourGuide remote tours will go to the institution. Minimal investment from the institution is required.
The remaining 25 - 30% are used to cover both the fixed costs and streaming costs. Direct costs include streaming and storage servers. Fixed costs include personnel, legal, payment gateway fees, marketing, operational servers, internal development for payment pages, and pivoting existing solutions to adapt it to the culture market. We have also included some generic costs, as: Licenses costs and travel-related expenses.
Our break-even point is at 10,000 visitors/year at an average price of 20 €/tour. This is not counted per institution but as a whole - all tours across all the institutions using the app. Since we expect to have only 5,000 visitors at an average price of 15 €/tour in the first year, we need an additional 90.000 € in funds to assure the running of the system. Usage of the funds will be split: 50% marketing, 3% other, 27% technology, 20% personnel.
We have created a detailed calculation on the cost of running GuideYourGuide (see attachments). For example, 100 booked GuideYourGuide remote tours per day, at 30€/tour, would earn the institution 67,500€/month.
Our business model offers several tangible benefits to museums and heritage sites:
- 0 € initial costs/investments
- 0 € upfront payment
- Easy-to-use app ready to implement
- Access to ticket data
- Full control over the guides who have access to the system
How the idea was born
During the #EUvsVirus Hackathon, we came together as a team to work on this solution because we share the same passion - to support art and culture across Europe, and find new ways of bringing it closer to the general public. Our starting point was the Xperience+ app, though the rest was discussed, figured out, and polished during the many hours of working together, and the ever-long online meetings. It was a creative, sometimes challenging, always a fun process, in which the group of people that met on Friday became a team over the following 48 hours. Since then, we are working in the exact same constellation and are proud of advancing jointly as a pan-European team.
We validated the GuideYourGuide concept, creating a business model and a customer profile. We initiated market research, contacting museum professionals and tour guides to get their point of view and better understand their needs. We refocused the existing app on the audience we are aiming at, namely cultural institutions, tour guides, and the general public. The result was a simple, easy-to-use, sustainable, scalable and fun online tool, at the center of a diverse cultural ecosystem.
The necessities in order to continue the project
Milestones - Our next steps are:
- Technical - we will finish the MVP - estimation of having the v.1 of the App; we have the expertise, and it can be ready in approximately one month.
- Operational - formalize the team that will continue developing the project.
- Ecosystem - we will need to establish the first partnership agreements with KEY European Institutions that will enable the marketplace to have a stock of available experiences and guides. Preliminary contacts with institutions established.
- Financial - we need to secure the initial investments to start the process, so we need to contact investors and apply for grants.
The value of our solution after the crisis
In the long run, we hope cultural institutions such as museums and heritage sites will witness a broad and steady revitalization; the number of visitors will increase and the interest in taking guided tours on the ground will return. GuideYourGuide anticipates that.
The marketing strategy of GuideYourGuide will change after the end of the pandemic. At that point, the primary audience will be global, the tour will take place in and outside of cultural institutions. Consequently, our business model is flexible and can bring great benefits while scaling, without the need of having further investments. Moreover, we want to expand into the educational sector, bringing our solution into classrooms of all ages, streaming from around the world.
The business model is exponential, as we include:
- A strong purpose - “Making cultural experiences inclusive for everyone, everywhere”
- Community and crowd-sourcing approach built around cultural institutions and their ambassadors
- Elastic technical solution
- Staff-on-demand (we are able to add an unlimited number of guides without changing our system or buy additional resources, provided the legal frameworks in the area of application allow for that)
- Leverage assets approach (no proprietary hardware but integration with Third Parties’ vendors)
- High level of engagement at the core of our solution.
Thanks to these attributes we are ready to scale up our project: museums and heritage sites worldwide, small- and medium-size museums, and passionate people will be able to share their knowledge and reach new audiences.
Thanks to the ecosystem of museums, guides, and the technical superiority of the app, the system can, moreover, create partnerships with existing solutions in the Augmented/Virtual/Extended reality, media/network market to improve the partner’s current offers, including API models.
If you want to reach out to us, please send an e-mail to email@example.com