Factory tours can be a fun experience for vacationers and locals alike – and beneficial for the company offering the tour as well. Tour groups get to learn the company’s story in an up-close-and-personal way, and feel almost like company insiders in the process. Meanwhile, the positive experience halos onto participants’ feelings about the brand, many of whom may follow up by spreading glowing word-of-mouth to friends and family or visiting a store to buy the brand, maybe for the first time.
The best tours tap into a sense of Americana and the company’s role in history or contemporary culture. For this reason, many firms invest a good deal of thought, strategic planning, and money into developing and presenting colorful, informative, and entertaining tours of their facilities, as presented by well-trained and charismatic tour guides.
And these investments have a demonstrable return in terms of building brand equity – IF the tours work as planned. If participants have trouble hearing the tour guide, or asking questions of the tour guide, their experience will be more frustrating than satisfying. Noisy plant floors, social distancing, language barriers, even people straggling at the back of the group – these will all make it more difficult to ensure the message is heard by everyone, or that tour guides can hear guests’ questions. This is one of the biggest potential stumbling blocks on the way to a successful tour.
Best Audio Guide Systems?
But in an age where wireless communication technology is widely available, there’s no reason any tour program should stumble over this particular block. These barriers to two-way communication are completely unnecessary. Every factory tour should equip the guide and all participants with a wifi-enabled, audio tour guide system comprising a wireless microphone, wireless transmitter, and wireless receiver. These can make use of a handheld microphone or the entire package can be handsfree, housed in comfortable headsets equipped with earphones or earbuds. (However, no component should ever be worn on a lanyard, as these can be unsafe.)
Such audio guide systems provide assistance, information, and cultural or historical interpretation to people on organized tours. They carry the speaker’s voice directly from his or her lips to the ears of eager listeners, virtually bypassing the noisy environment entirely. The sense of Americana embodied in your company will grow uninterrupted in the audience’s hearts and minds.
And these two-way communication systems solve any number of problems. Does the tour include foreign guests, some of whom may not understand English particularly well? Simultaneous translation can be provided directly through the earpiece. Are some guests somewhat hard of hearing? Their sound system can include a full assistive listening function.
Plant-tours.com offers one-way as well as two-way communication systems for audio tours. Ours is the only proprietary system built specifically for the manufacturing industry. The one-way version uses digital technology and operates in the 72-76 MHZ range. The two-way version is analog, operating in the 462 MHZ range, with a pll, uhf signal.
The two-way communication system also features 15 channels. This comes into play in particular when language interpretation is needed for guests from multiple countries. Each tour participant can tune in to the channel offering the simultaneous translation of the guide’s commentary into their own native language or the language they’re most adept in.
And battery life isn’t an issue with our system. The headset storage case doubles as a charging case for the rechargeable NiMH, alkaline or lithium batteries, eliminating the need for a separate charger. This enables maximum battery life per every use.
Pros & Cons?
Such a high quality sound system made specifically for the manufacturing industry is vastly superior to alternative communication systems. A PA system may be louder than a tour guide’s unaugmented voice, but it still may not be loud enough to be heard consistently in a noisy environment. In fact, these sound systems fail often enough that they’re sometimes supplemented by LCD screens – an awkward arrangement to say the least, and one that basically underscores the sense of futility created by this situation. Some tour operators may consider a voice amplifier as an alternative, but these aren’t necessarily portable, at least not compared to a wireless tour guide system. Bluetooth systems found on Amazon aren’t the solution. Though they may be inexpensive, their audio quality is affected by walls, machines, staircases, and other physical barriers. The same is true of condenser microphones. Smartphones are unwelcome in most factory settings, as the company doesn’t want to risk allowing surreptitious pictures of the manufacturing floor that may reveal company secrets to the trained eye. (And anyway, why would a company encourage tour participants to pull out their phones, the single most distracting item most people have access to in their daily lives?)
None of these compare to the ease of use, reliability, and overall effectiveness of connecting tour guides and guests via an audio guide system. The proximity of the speaker’s lips to the wireless microphone means there’s minimal residual background noise creeping into the connection. The wireless transmitter carries the signal with high fidelity. And the wireless receiver translates the signal back into sound virtually static-free.
There’s a saying in the world of marketing: Everything communicates. Everything you say and do says something about your brand. A plant tour offers up a compelling mosaic of positive and engaging messages about your brand. But if the environment prevents the tour guide from communicating his or her message, well, that communicates something, too. It may well tell your guests that your company does not have the latest technology, or that it’s indifferent to the quality of its customers’ experience, or possibly even that it’s not particularly competent.
In other words, how well or poorly you communicate communicates something about your company.
Send the right message with your messages. The best choice for any plant tour in any type of environment is a wireless tour guide system from Plant-Tours.com, whether or one way or two way tour guide headsets. We know factory tours and how to make them sing! Contact us today for a Free Demo Kit!