Guidigo is a new-ish app that provides users with free or nominally low-priced tours. Content is built by anyone who wants to create a tour. Then, as befits our new egalitarian virtual world, users rate them.
But that isn’t what makes Guidigo interesting. What makes it interesting is that it is capable of much more than it’s being used for. It has the potential to meet the unmet need, by any institution that has the creativity to harness it.
City guides are nothing new: Baedeker city guides have been in print since the 1830s. Making them digital naturally followed when carrying actual books became passé. But the world was still limited to the information that guidebook publishers felt was important. Keeping that up-to-date was also a logistical nightmare. Try checking how many restaurants in Paris still exist from a guidebook that published in 2010.
Guidigo decided to take guidebook information out of the hands of the publisher and make it user-generated. Users can go to their site and create their own tours, which then feed to other users through the mobile app. If you only want to create one or two tours, you can do that for free. Any institution or city can create a tour, with content and curated stops.
If you are ambitious, you can pay a monthly fee, create tours and charge for them. And the savvy traveler will be far more likely to pony up $4.95 for a highly rated digital tour than $19.95 for a guidebook that only updates 10 percent of its content with each new publication date.
But here’s the opportunity for creativity that no one has harnessed, as yet. You can design a tour for both inside and outside your museum. A boundary-less tour that explores a topic beyond the walls of your institution.
Imagine taking a topic that you cover and mapping out a tour that starts and ends at your building, but also journeys out into your city. For example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC could do a tour that covers Alexander Calder’s mobiles and sculptures within the museum, both those on and off display. Then, they could take the visitor to the streets of New York to see where he lived and studied, where he performed with his mechanical circus, where he painted and where he exhibited. They could even work in partnership with MOMA to showcase the work there.
Consider the possibilities of an immersive tour experience: public art, architects and their work, scientific innovation and discovery, city histories.
Imagine taking your narrative well beyond the confines of your location, to a national or global space. What stories can you tell when you aren’t limited by boundaries? What people do you reach, once you aren’t restricted to your town’s residents and tourists?
Guidigo is the tool, or it’s at least a tool. But the real brilliance needs to come from us: the content builders, the storytellers, the curators of information. We can make this into something spectacular.
So, who’s up for the challenge?