Annie Sargent’s travel podcast has provided her with the perfect audience for a series of VoiceMap audio tours in Paris. In 2022, her sales were up by six times on 2021, and half of her listeners buy more than one of her five self-guided tours.
Annie Sargent knows two things for certain about people who become fans of her travel podcast, Join Us in France: they enjoy audio, and they like France. They also really like her, it turns out, and with those three ingredients, she has a ready-made market for VoiceMap tours.
This is one reason why Annie sells almost as many tours through her own website as she does through VoiceMap’s website and apps. It’s also why she sells more than one tour to most of her listeners. It helps that Annie’s tours are excellent, of course, with over 750 five-star ratings, and she has become one of VoiceMap’s most successful publishers, selling thousands of dollars’ worth of tours in 2022.
Once Lynn Momboisse got her head around how to produce and distribute high quality audio tours, sales of her complementary walking and driving tours in California started seeing exponential growth
Lynn Momboisse is one of VoiceMap’s best-selling publishers. Sales of her walking and driving tours (18 and counting) in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento and other parts of California have been steadily on the rise since her first tour, Carmel-by-the-Sea: Fairy Tale Houses Walking Tour, went live in mid-2019. Lynn earned five times more from tour sales in 2020 than in 2019, and her earnings quadrupled from 2020 to 2021. This trend broadly follows growth across VoiceMap’s platform, which is expected to continue.
Lynn’s success comes down to a few key ingredients:
She creates a wide variety of tours.
They aren’t in the Londons or New Yorks of the world, but in smaller cities or towns where her tours are among the only high quality tours on offer, whether guided or self-guided, and this helps her dominate the market.
Lynn offers walking and driving tours, most of which logically lead on from one another, giving visitors an opportunity to purchase two or more tours during their stay.
The tours are well-researched, full of personality, and of a high quality overall.
She has developed an efficient process for creating enjoyable tours that work seamlessly every time.
The Dividing Lines tour explores how segregation shaped Kansas City and its urban landscape over the course of a 90-minute drive through its centre. It was produced for the Johnson County Library by Christopher Cook and Nathaniel Bozarth, filmmakers and podcasters who used interview recordings as well as quotes from Tanner Colby’s book Some of My Best Friends are Black to add to an in-person bus tour that was already offered by library staff.
The tour takes education out of the library and turns a drive through Kansas City into an immersive opportunity to learn. It was VoiceMap’s most popular tour in 2020.
Earlier this year a primary school teacher from Saint John’s school in Puerto Rico used our platform to create a tour with her Grade 6 class. Gabriella Centeno and her Social Studies students published an audio tour of the historic centre of old San Juan. Using their imagination, the students brought the buildings to life. This enabled the structures to share their own stories, regaling passers-by with their rich history and tumultuous pasts.
Gabriella and her colleague, Pilar Álamo, found us while looking for ways to make learning more interactive. They wanted to be able to link historical content with modern media so as to grab their students’ attention. A location-aware audio tour provided the solution.
On 25 September, Charles Dickens’ great great great granddaughter and acclaimed author, Lucinda Hawksley, will launch her own downloadable GPS audio walk of Dickens’ London. Listeners can walk in the beloved author’s footsteps, exploring the neighbourhood where he drew inspiration for his novels, many of which were strongly shaped by his childhood.
The immersive audio experience was created in collaboration with VoiceMap, the international walking tour app that released a theatreland tour by actor Ian McKellen earlier this summer. The Charles Dickens from Furnival’s Inn to Doughty Street audio tour was designed to be done at your own pace at any time of day, but this Sunday, walkers will have an opportunity to meet Ms Hawksley during an open discussion at The Charles Dickens Museum, where the walk finishes. The museum is the only remaining house of Charles Dickens in London, and a 25% discount on admission will be offered after the event.
VoiceMap: Do you see potential for apps and other new technology to engage new audiences in aspects of Portugal’s culture and history?
Julie: Absolutely! I am very excited about this location-aware technology and think it adds a whole new dimension to tours. People who would never take the time to read lengthy descriptions in guide books or brochures can effortlessly learn about the place they are visiting simply by listening to stories in context.
Cities are forever changing and shifting, reflecting new trends in the global village. In most modern cities, the word ‘gentrification’ is either bandied about with a smile or spat out with vehemence, depending on whether you’re moving in or being pushed out. But however you see it, gentrification seems an unavoidable force of modern city living. Traditionally industrial or low-income areas segue into trendy up-and-coming locales, bringing an influx of developers and young residents, eager to find new spaces to fill with organic coffee shops and artisanal bakeries.
Holešovice, Prague, is a prime example of a neighbourhood in the infancy of such a transformation, slowly being reinvented piece by piece. Historically, this was an area of heavy industrial activity, with warehouses, low-cost housing and even a sewage treatment plant. Globalisation and the decentralisation of industry from the city have led to many factories falling into disuse, and a new breed of residents and businesses are moving in.
Audio Producer, Geolocation Enthusiast and VoiceMap Storyteller, Miranda Diboll, provides some insight into her BritPop audio tour of Camden. For her, creating a VoiceMap was a way of reliving an exciting past with an “older pair of eyes”.
VoiceMap: Do you see potential for apps and other new technology to engage new audiences in music from the past?
Miranda: There’s a lot of interest in music from previous decades. Anyone who loves music will tend to look back at the influences of their favourite bands and listen to those influences. Britpop is a case in point — it was very much influenced by the 60s, Northern Soul and Mod. Some people wrongly labelled it as a mod revival which it wasn’t, it was much more diverse than that.
Now people are seeing Britpop as much more than just a music craze or some kind of revival. Twenty years have passed and the music stands the test of time. The 90s was an interesting decade, it was a time of hope and celebration of British culture. For young people at the time, like myself, it was the first time we could see the end of years of Tory government. The internet was just round the corner and so was a Labour government that promised us so much. We had so much hope for music and politics! It didn’t last.
So yes, I think people are keen to engage with the past and a VoiceMap tour is an incredibly immersive way to do that.
Location-aware audio has an endless list of applications, but self-guided photography tours often seem like they were made for the medium. Having your hands free when a professional photographer suggests you pause in that exact spot to best capture a vista, getting advice on which settings to adjust, and then being led to another seemingly secret – and oh so photogenic – spot takes location-aware audio tours to a whole new level.
London is the first city where we’ve seen real demand for self-guided photography tours, and so far five have been released on VoiceMap’s walking tour app by two London-based photographers.
Creating a walking tour with VoiceMap is easy and lots of fun, but there are also a few new things to be learned. Recording the best possible quality audio for your walk will mean more people enjoying and sharing your route. Remember, during a walk, your voice is all they have! This tutorial will help you to create the best possible audio using your iOS device.
Installing a Voice Recorder
1. Go to the iTunes store and download Recordium (free).