Quick question. How many apps do you have on your phone? Now, how many of them are games? Be honest.
Mobile gaming is a huge business. Phone games are fun, portable, and addictive. They tap into some of our most primitive psychology to keep us coming back for more.
In fact, games are so successful at engaging an audience that “gamification” has become a common business practice for everything from employee education to loyalty rewards. By incorporating things like points, leader-boards, meaningful stories, and teammates into a non-game activity you can leverage people’s natural desire for socializing, mastery, competition, and achievement.
What does this have to do with your tour? Well, there’s an exciting new app that will help you turn your tour into a mobile game.
Questo works with local tour operators to create games that people can play on their phone while exploring and learning about the city in which they live or are visiting. I’ll let COO and co-founder Claudiu Petria tell you more.
Q. Tell me a little about yourself and about Questo
Questo is an award-winning travel app that takes tourists on city exploration games where they solve clues to discover new places and local stories.
Each route inside the Questo mobile app is created around a specific theme, which can be inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a local legend. In London, for instance, travelers can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris they can play as Hemingway or Picasso. Questo is currently present in over 60 cities such as Rome, San Francisco, Seoul, Amsterdam, Vienna, New York and Berlin.
As of today, the app has over 90 available exploration games in 25 countries, created by a growing network of local content creators. They can be purchased from the Questo iOS and Android apps, on www.questoapp.com, as well as on TripAdvisor, Expedia, GetYourGuide, and on Booking.com. Prices range from 8 to 20 Euro.
Q. Where did the idea for Questo come from?
We saw the need for such a product during our travels. We wanted a way to explore cities on our own in a meaningful and fun way.
Q. How does the app work?
People have to download our app, select a city game they want to play and go to the designated starting point. Then, they just have to read the instructions on the screen and follow them. During their walk around the city, they will discover some of the top attractions in town as well as hidden gems.
At each location, they are asked questions for which they have to find answers by looking around them and paying attention to details. Sometimes they have to solve riddles and puzzles regarding their surroundings and different other challenges.
By doing so, they are engaged in the process of visiting a city and they have fun.
Q. How does Questo benefit tour operators?
Questo is a great way for tour operators to create contactless tours which will help them jump start their businesses especially [after the] coronavirus crisis.
We are now working with tour operators and museums in Europe, Asia, Australia and North America to create hundreds of contactless tours. We have a model of shared revenue that will help them to adapt to this new context and also to make money, of course.
Here’s why tour operators love Questo:
- NO HUMAN INTERACTION: Tourists only need to download an app
- SOCIAL DISTANCING: Travelers go on a solo tour or explore with friends, spouses, or family; thereby, avoiding strangers and big groups
- LESS CROWDED ROUTES: Tourists are taken on lesser-crowded routes to top attractions and hidden ones
- FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE: The walking is done at any hour of the day or night, all year long so tourists can avoid rush hours and crowds
- GREAT ACTIVITY FOR LOCALS: Around 40% of Questo users are locals wanting to rediscover their cities in an engaging way. Tour operators can now digitize their current tours to make them relevant for locals and capture a bigger market that is looking for new activities with no travel restrictions.
Q. What kind of response have you seen from users?
We have an average 4.5/5 rating on our city game. People love the concept.
- Families with kids have a lot of fun during our city games because they are all immersed in a story. The fun missions keep kids engaged.
- Groups of friends enjoy our city games because they can compete against each other to see who can finish the missions faster.
- Couples see our city games as an opportunity to do a unique activity together while they explore cities.
- Solo and business travelers choose our city games because they can be played at any hour and paused anytime. Solo travelers find the quest is the perfect sightseeing tour for them.
- Big groups of tourists choose Questo because all members can enjoy the experience in their own way. Every member of the group can follow the missions on their smartphone, read the local stories we have gathered for them, collaborate or compete.
Q. Are there virtual tours available, or do you have to be physically in the city in order to play the game?
We have one remote tour we created for people to explore Rome from home during the pandemic, but all our other city games require you to actually be in a certain physical location. That’s the beauty of Questo and that’s why our players love to explore cities with us.
Q. How can a tour operator get involved?
They just need to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take it from there.
We will assign a creative writer to each tour operator. The creative writer will create a plot and a storyline based on the route provided by the tour operator. It usually takes 2-3 weeks to create one tour and we can create multiple tours at the same time for operators that want to expand fast.