CloudGuide's Blog

London’s Victoria & Albert joins CloudGuide with English AND Mandarin-language guides!

CloudGuide

In August, CloudGuide joined forced with the stunning V&A Museum in London to create tours of their permanent collections. This was an incredibly exciting opportunity for us: the Victoria & Albert Museum is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing over 2 million objects dating across 5,000 years.

As well as fascinating and highly popular displays – the museum’s Christian Dior exhibition recently broke their own attendance record by achieving close to 595,000 visitors in seven months – the V&A hosts a range of events, including 2019’s London Design Week.

The V&A started its life in 1852 as a Museum of Manufactures, before becoming the South Kensington Museum five years later. In 1899, Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone to the museum and the title was changed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. The institution has since gone on to become one of the most popular in London, exhibiting collections which range from Chinese ceramics to contemporary fashion design.

If you visit the museum this September, you will be able to see a huge range of exhibitions focusing on illustration (such as Beatrix Potter’s Art: ‘drawn in design’), the politics and pleasure of food, fashion design and British humour across the ages (Laughing Matters: The State of a Nation), amongst many other original and inspiring collections – you can even attend London Design Week between the 14-22 September to see exhibitions, talks and workshops!  

CloudGuide prides itself on developing interactive, educational and useful guides in which simplicity and engagement are key. The CloudGuide tour of the Victoria and Albert allows users to discover its permanent exhibitions and plan their trip to the museum - and is even available in Mandarin for Chinese-speaking visitors!

Download the CloudGuide app today to discover more about the Victoria & Albert Museum and find out why it is one of the top cultural institutions in London.



3 Tips to Increase your CloudGuide Tour Visibility!

CloudGuide

It has been a busy year so far for CloudGuide – we have been working with over 1000 institutions across the world, from museums to ancient ruins, historical houses and even a zoo! 

One issue we often find is that although sites put a lot of effort into preparing top-quality content for their apps and guides, these apps then receive very low user engagement. Visitors don’t always know that these apps exist or where to find them, and institutions can miss great opportunities to promote them – so all that time and effort spent creating fantastic content doesn’t get rewarded! Because we always want visitors to get the most out of their visit, we have compiled a short list of highly effective ways to improve the visibility of your app and increase visitor engagement by up to 30%. Carry on reading to discover simple, proven methods you can use to get the most out of your app.

  • PUT IT ON YOUR WEBSITE! And most importantly, place it where your visitors are likely to see it. Blogs are great for keeping your audience up to date, but several posts later, the news about your fantastic new CloudGuide app will no longer be the first thing readers see. Mentioning the app on your Visit page (and even including a link directly to the CloudGuide tour) means it will have a consistent presence and new visitors will notice it more easily. Belfast Zoo advertises their free CloudGuide audio tour on both their Getting Around and Other Facilities pages, as well as featuring it on a rotation of new stories right on their homepage – really, it would be difficult for readers to miss it! Keeping on the internet theme: your newsletter is also a great way to connect with readers – who are probably members or more regular visitors – and keep them up to date with your announcements and events. A short announcement promoting your tour is a great place to start, or you could even remind readers at the end of each letter ‘don’t forget to download the CloudGuide app for more content!’. And remember to shout about it on social media! Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all highly effective platforms to communicate with both regular and potential visitors with snappy, visual posts and promote your institution and CloudGuide tour.   
  • VISUALS! Leaflets, posters, postcards, rollups and tickets ... Don’t underestimate the power of a hard copy. Handing out leaflets at the entrance of your institution means you aren’t relying on your visitors checking your website before they arrive – the information will be right there in their hands as they walk through the doors and start their explorations. Including helpful little reminders, icons or QR codes on tickets works in much the same way, while posters and roll-ups are big, bold and highly visible right at the front of your institution. Belfast Zoo did a great job of promoting their audio tour: in addition to advertising it in high-traffic areas of their website, they went the old-fashioned route and handed out flyers and handy maps to visitors entering the zoo. Covering both physical and technological media definitely seems to be working for Belfast Zoo – the introduction of their CloudGuide audio tour made the pages of two leading Northern Irish newspapers this summer.
  • KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE! The Postal Museum in the UK is a great example of paying attention to visitor patterns and tailoring your promotion to their needs. The use of apps, while second nature to some, isn’t familiar to everybody. And no matter how simple an app is, for someone who doesn’t know how begin to download or use one, the idea of it alone can be a turn-off. The Postal Museum receives a high volume of older-generation visitors; taking this into account, CloudGuide worked directly with the museum to develop a handy step-by-step guide to simplify the process of downloading the app. This guide was then placed on a dedicated CloudGuide page on their website. A small move like their step-by-step guide turns what could be an unfamiliar idea into something inclusive and accessible to a wider range of visitors, from technology-obsessed millennials to first-time app users. As well as promoting the CloudGuide app to users across the generations, ideas such as this suggest that your institution cares about their audience and is considerate of their needs – feeling validated and appreciated is one of the most important aspects of visitor satisfaction.  

A CloudGuide tour of your institution helps your audience discover its secrets on a simple, interactive and engaging platform – now go ahead and use these quick tips to let them know.

If you want more help or advice on promoting your CloudGuide tour, get in touch with us to explore all the possibilities!



Irish Newspapers Shine Spotlight on the CloudGuide Audio Tour!

CloudGuide

CloudGuide’s audio tour of Belfast Zoo has made it onto the pages of both the Irish News and the Belfast News Letter in August. The free audio tour of Belfast Zoo, which contains more than 33 stops and an interactive map, was launched this summer and allows listeners to learn a variety of fun facts about the zoo and its inhabitants. There is even a quiz at the end of the tour to put visitors’ newly gained knowledge to the test!


Belfast Zoo was established in the 1930s and opened its doors to the public in 1934. After difficulties during WW2 and a further decline in the 1950s and 60s, work began to restore the zoo in 1974. Since then, the zoo has gone from strength to strength and is respected across the world for its great efforts in conservation. The zoo is now part over 60 breeding programs as part of their conservation activities and is home to 120 species from across the world - from the Colombian spider monkey to Andean bears and Ireland’s very own black honeybees. Visitors can discover these fascinating creatures and many more at their own pace and in any order they choose with the CloudGuide tour.


The News Letter even explains how to access Cloudguide’s interactive guide by downloading the free app or scanning the QR code, showing how quick and simple the app is to use. Both articles also feature comments from Ashleigh Fox, Belfast Zoo’s Commercial Support Officer, discussing the benefits of the app and the additional educational and entertaining activities offered by the institution. The News Letter is one of Northern Ireland’s main daily newspapers, while the Irish News is Northern Ireland’s largest selling morning newspaper. CloudGuide is so proud of our Belfast Zoo audio guide and is pleased that it has been featured in two leading Northern Irish newspapers.

Don’t miss out, download the CloudGuide app now to listen to Belfast Zoo’s audio tour to learn more about your favourite creatures – and discover new ones!



June Highlights: Fantastic New Collaborations and Sites.

CloudGuide

More than 45 new cultural sites, museums and castles have joined CloudGuide during the month of June alone, and are now available for our users to enjoy on the App. We would love to be able to go over every single institution, but for now, here are some of our highlights of the month. 

We are absolutely delighted to welcome 21 English Heritage sites in the UK, including Stonehenge, Dover Castle and Tintagel Castle. Users will not only learn all about the story and history behind these impressive locations but, in addition, discover individual guides based on their myths and legends, in the spirit of this year's themed event of ‘Myths, Legends and Folklore of England’.

Heading over to London, users will come across the Southbank Centre, UK’s largest centre for the arts and home to thousands of events every year. Whether you are into performing arts, poetry or music (just to name a few), there is something there for everyone, all of which you can find out more about when navigating the App.

In France, we welcome the magnificent Château de Chenonceau, situated near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. Two guided tours that will take visitors through it's renaissance french gardens, rich museum collection and incredible history. 

Heading south, you can discover one of our first additions in Montpellier, the Musée Fabre, a museum in which the architecture itself can be considered a work of art. Discover seven guides based on their permanent collection and immerse yourselves in over 800 works, 900 engravings and 3,500 drawings in its 9,200 m² exhibit area.

Interested in visiting the world’s first botanical garden created in Padua, Italy in 1545? Don’t miss the chance to visit this incredible site, the Botanical Garden of Padua which remains to this day in its original layout, a circular plot surrounded by water representing the world.

Moving on now across the world to the United States, we are also delighted to welcome the Museum of Science in Boston Massachusetts. Get up close to see the Triceratops, a 65-million-year-old fossil, journey inside the human body or catch one of their daily demonstrations, there is something for every curious scientist, no matter your age.



#WomenInCulture: a chat with the “Museum Doctor” Ngaire Blankenberg

CloudGuide

Disclaimer: this story is accompanied by a dose of lucky coincidences.

We ran into her online, more specifically through the TedX Talks speech she gave in Hamburg in 2015. We were looking for some concrete inspiration concerning the core theme of #MuseumWeek 2019: #WomenInCulture as well as wanted additional insight in order to continue with the movement of woman in culture of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Her German speech was called: How you can activate the soft power of your museums and we were hooked. This woman, Ngaire Blankenberg, who lived in Canada, France, South Africa and who travels the world every other day (“I travel a lot, I fly at 7 o’ clock in the morning, not the holiday flight, and it’s like 80% men on the flight”) is currently based in Barcelona (as CloudGuide is) and she kindly agreed to meet up offline, in front of a cup of coffee.

She calls herself a “Museum Doctor”, because, as she explained, it was very complicated to make people understand her job. She isn’t exactly a curator, a consultant or even a manager: “I help to fix or give birth to a museum… I’m like a midwife or a doctor.” She ended up with this profession “pretty much by accident”, from being a television producer in South Africa until becoming the Head of the European Projects of the Lord Cultural Resources based in Paris.

She then worked for the Exhibition Design Company in Amsterdam deciding afterwards to move forward on her own. Having collaborated with so many different cultural institutions around the globe, Blankenberg affirmes that the experience with every museum is indeed a case by case scenario, but noticing that: “The European museums come from a different tradition regarding art and museums, and it’s quite a leaders approach, focused on the collections, less on the visitors”.

It’s not easy to recognize a pattern through different cultural institutions because: “Every museum is different, but every museum thinks they are more different than other museums… they overestimate their uniqueness”.

What Blankenberg strongly believes in, no matter which peculiarity the museum carries with it, is an admission free policy: “Admissions are to make money from tourists and I understand the value of that… but what about residents?  When I lived in Toronto I never brought my 2 children to a museum, there was no way I was gonna pay 60 dollars to go to a museum every week”.

In addition to the inspiring insight into Blackenberg's life we also wanted to know more about her personal history as a woman active in the cultural field.

“It’s actually a question of power. Museums are like 70% women, everywhere. It’s a quintessential pink ghetto employment, so for me the story is not about women access. First its about representation. Second is about pay, equal pay, huge issue. And third is about power. Who’s the main director? Who tend to be largely men in particular in Europe. And I found, to be honest, the cultural sector in Europe to be more sexist than anything I’ve ever experience before, I am astounded. Its not just the cultural sector, but the society in whole. How you can have like a legal environment that intrench the right of women and you have a workplace culture where women are not present. Either its invisible or diminished. And for me it’s like one of the biggest things that I haven’t expected.

I can’t believe how many times I walked into a room and it’s like all men. I travel a lot, I fly at 7 o’ clock in the morning, not the holiday flight, and it’s like 80% men on the flight.

I’ve often come accross a scenario where I say something and somebody, younger guy mostly, would say: “ I think what you are trying to say is…” What I am trying to say it’s what I said!”

I think that you have to understand what you are getting yourself into. There is a lot more room for entrepreneurial or activities outside of the institutions, that is still related to working in cultural sector, and I think people should consider that as an option. A lot of the times, when people study museology, science communication, whatever they are doing, their goal is to get a job inside a museum, and I think that we should expand the goals. There are a lot of interesting things still to do in the cultural sector and institutions are not the most innovated and are not necessarily defining it.

There is opportunity but maybe not where you think the opportunity is.

I think for women that wanna work into this field, with museums I think it’s great, but you should actually do it with your eyes open!”.



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