If you and/or your business are considering using tour guide systems for one reason or another, one of the first questions you may be asking yourself is — do we rent or buy? The answer depends on a number of factors, as each option has its own benefits. So before you make a decision, it’s good to familiarize yourself with some of the basics. That’s why we’ve broken down some of the key points to consider, as well as answered a few FAQs — about both renting and purchasing a tour guide communication system — below.
Who May Be Interested in the Tour Guide System?
Tour guide equipment has evolved a lot in recent decades. When it comes to tourism itself, the right equipment will definitely enhance the performance of any given tour guide, as well as the overall satisfaction of their tour group. Guided tours of museums and historical sites, walking tours around the city, nature tours, adventure tours, and especially factory tours and plant tours — whatever you may be sharing with your group, some high-quality audio equipment is sure to greatly make the experience better for everyone involved.
But despite the name, the practical applications of modern-day wireless tour guide systems extend far beyond conducting a successful tour. Tour headsets and the audio systems that accompany them are ideal for innumerable other environments too. From running special events like galas, banquets, and business conferences to work and safety training programs at the office, in factories, and outdoors. From security, military, and police work to conducting your own silent disco or managing a music festival. From organizing a formal international conference that requires simultaneous translation services to, say, playing a round or two of paintball — the right tour guide system (or tgs) can be an essential tool for clear, efficient, real-time communication. Moreover, as an unforeseen consequence of the social distancing rules enforced worldwide due to the pandemic, many have discovered the new communication capabilities a tgs has to offer — both in the short term and in the long run — for them and/or their business.
In short, any two or more people who need to hear and/or communicate with each other over distances can benefit from the right tgs.
What Is the Difference Between Renting and Purchasing a Tour Guide System?
The main difference is the same as renting or purchasing anything else — you either get to keep your tgs forever, or you return it after a certain amount of time. Renting often seems like the cheaper short-term option, but this isn’t necessarily always the case. For one, depending on your environment, the rentals may be damaged, whereas most purchased tgs come with a warranty. Moreover, you may not be sure exactly how often you’ll want to use your tgs. And renting numerous times can prove a lot more expensive than a one-time purchase.
Also note that a tgs usually comes with a number of components — transceivers, headsets, rechargeable batteries, charging stations, and so on. And while most tgs are fairly compact and not difficult to maintain, the environment they’re in will make a difference when you factor in things like travel, storage, and so on.
Ultimately, the costs and benefits of either option come down to where, how, and how often you will use your tgs. And below are a few things that should help you decide.
Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing or Renting a Tour System
First, you need to know what exactly you’re using your tgs for. For example, do you need some one-way audio guides at your museum or showroom, or do you need on-site 24-hour two-way communication between all members of your staff? Is your tgs used for recreational purposes, is it a welcome addition to an already established system of communication, or is it crucial to the safety and overall productivity of your employees? How big is your team? How many channels of communication will you need? Do you need one-way, two-way systems, or both? Will these systems be mostly stationary or move around a lot? Understanding exactly how and what your tgs will be used for is vital.
The environment is another major factor. For example, working outdoors is not the same as working in an office, a museum tour is very different from an adventure tour, and so on. In other words, mother nature can play a big role.
Also, most guided tours usually don’t require the same level of caution and security as high-risk work areas. A business conference or social event typically doesn’t call for safety equipment like gloves and hard hats, while a construction site and/or manufacturing plant may have rigorous regulations and require a certain amount of personal protection equipment.
Will your staff need handheld devices, or will they need their hands free for other duties? Are earphones more practical than headsets? What’s the necessary frequency range, how many channels will you need, and will everyone need the same equipment? How are the wi-fi and Bluetooth capabilities? Is there a potential for interfering frequencies? And so on.
And the noise levels of any given environment obviously vary greatly too, sometimes changing by the minute (for example, at an airport or a rock concert). You want to be sure you consider all the possible external factors that might affect your tgs performance.
And your overall financial costs should not be overlooked. Think about how purchasing or renting a tgs plays into your and your company’s needs. In the appropriate settings, a tgs is definitely an investment more times than not. But do the math, think about both the short-term and long-term financial benefits, and make sure you can account for any unforeseen setbacks too. As you would with any other investment — have a healthy business approach and a firm grasp of the nature of your business, its overall goals, and its economic forecasts. This will help you determine whether a tgs makes sense to you financially.
What Are the Advantages of Purchasing a Tour Guide System Rather Than Renting?
If a tgs is essential to your day-to-day operations, if the ways you and your team communicate don’t change frequently (i.e., don’t require moving and switching up the equipment often), and if you plan to use the tgs long-term — then you probably want to purchase. Purchasing a tour guide system can prove more cost-effective for many businesses (museums, tourist agencies, translation services, factories, offices, airports, schools, universities, stadiums, etc.), but it all depends on the factors listed above — i.e., purpose, conditions, and budget. Any environment that requires daily communication over distances can benefit greatly from such a purchase. But, ultimately, the nature of your business and its overall goals will help you determine what makes the most sense. And remember that with a warranty, if something does go wrong — you still may save money in the long run.
What Are the Benefits of Renting a Tour Guide System as Opposed to Purchasing One?
Renting a tour guide system, on the other hand, will probably be a better option If you’re organizing a one-time (or short-term) event. If you don’t feel that a tgs is vital for your day-to-day routine, if you and your business move around a lot (especially internationally), and if the events you organize vary greatly in size and overall nature — then rental equipment might suit your needs better. Because you can factor in the specifics for any given occasion — such as the size of your group, the working conditions, and any other technical requirements (connectivity, frequency range, etc.) on a case-by-case basis. So, depending on what your business does and how often it needs to switch things up, a tour guide system rental might prove a lot more practical.
With all the global changes in recent years, it’s not always easy to plan far ahead. So keep in mind that you can always do both. That is, you can purchase the basics and then rent extra equipment accordingly as you see fit. With the various tgs and accessories available today — plus a number of different rental and purchase options, including a free demo kit — you have both flexibility and time to decide your level of commitment and overall investment.