OnCell Acquires Tour Buddy Apps

We are very excited to share with you that Oncell Systems has acquired Tour Buddy Apps that we can continue to provide the best possible mobile solutions for you and your visitors.  The Tour Buddy team will remain in place and will continue to be your main point of contact going forward.

Many of you have been with us for years and have watched our app builder platform evolve as we have continued to add new features and products to improve your guests’ experience. Over the last decade, we have continually strived to offer the easiest to use, most affordable app builder and publishing platform in the GPS tours and culture and heritage sector.

So how did we come to the decision to merge? Historically, OnCell has represented one of our biggest competitors and offers a suite of similar products to Tour Buddy.  We saw plenty of benefits for our companies to combine, and we have very similar views on where we want to take our platforms. By merging it allows us to provide an enhanced product suite that will allow us to pick the best solution for you – backed with a whole lot of expertise.  OnCell also owns My ToursSTQRY and Curtis.

We will provide you with details of the new software solution alternative in the near future.  I know mergers can leave customers feeling a bit worried about what the future holds, so I want to reassure you that there is a whole bunch of things that will not change (apart from all the new features we will be adding!).

The services we have provided you in the past will continue to be offered by the new organization and we are continuing to develop the Tour Buddy platforms.   Your fees and costs associated with our organisation will not change. All existing quotes, proposals and subscriptions will stay the same.  Our staff and tech team will continue in their current roles. So if you have any questions, please reach out to us.

All billing contacts, bank accounts, contracts and agreements remain unchanged!

The new company offers a range of locations worldwide so apart from our existing office we can now be found at Pittsford, NY; Auckland, New Zealand; DeNang, Vietnam. So you’ll be pleased to know that we will be even easier to contact than before!

We are thrilled to continue doing business with you, and appreciate your continued partnership. If you have any questions at all then please do not hesitate to reach out to Sarah or Lydia.

The Tour Buddy Team

How to QR Code

What is that little square-shaped black and white symbol? And how does it help get more users for my App?  These are common questions about using a QR code to help promote your app whether you are using the Tour Buddy App, Tour Buddy Historic Tours,  or your own standalone App.

How does it work?

The QR code contains a direct link to your App so your guests don’t have to search within the App Store and Google Play.  The guest will open the camera on their device and only view the QR code through that lens. The iOS or Android device will automatically scan the code and open the App Store or Google Play listing depending on the operating system of the users device. The user can then easily download the app and begin use.

How does it help my App?

There can be confusion for guests to find the correct app.  The QR code takes away that confusion while saving time and aggravation.  This is a valuable tool that all guests will appreciate.  We recommend this awesome QR code create that creates just 1 link for both Android and iOS apps:

Here is a detailed article that goes in depth on creating QR codes in general: How to Make a QR Code.

Want more information on how Tour Buddy Apps can help your organization?

Contact us now

How to create a script of your tour

As a tour operator, you know your crowd.  You have your script timed and perfectly recorded in your mind.  But, if you are ready to expand and add more tour guides or start using an app – how do you create a tour script?  Let’s look at some options that don’t involve pen and paper!

Step 1: Record yourself

As you give your tour, record yourself.  You can do it on a live tour, but it might be best to do it alone so you are not interrupted.  How do you record yourself?

  • iphone – use the built in voice recorder.  It’s called ‘Voice Memos.’
  • Android phone – use any voice recording app.  Here is a good one>>

Break up your recordings into the ‘stops’ for your tour so that you don’t have to break it up at the end.  So if you have a tour with 10 stops, you should have 10 audio files.

Step 2: Transcribe your audio files

There are so many options for services to transcribe your audio.  For around 20 minutes of audio the cost is about $20.  You can price your tour out, but it’s not very pricey.  Services you can use to transcribe:

Step 3: Format your script

After you receive your transcription, we like to format the script so that it is easy to read and if you are getting it translated, you will want a clean format.  You can use a WordDoc and insert a table and then label the table.  Here is a sample we created – and you are totally welcome to steal it!

Download the Sample:

Sample Script Format

Want more information on how Tour Buddy Apps helps tour operators provide an even better guest experience?

Contact us now

Increasing app downloads with Facebook Ads

See our interview with marketing specialist and Facebook Ads guru, Lisa Kanda


Creating the content for an app and launching it takes a team of people working together.  But, once the app is launched getting users to download it is key for success.  The team at Tour Buddy Apps wants your app to be successful.  If you haven’t check out our article on 6 Ways to Get More Downloads, check it out.  But, after you have checked all your boxes on marketing on your website and on site, how can you get even more downloads?  That’s where you can use Facebook Ads.

Download E-Book Now

Want to connect with Lisa at Elkay Advisors?

Connect here>>

Single Use Passcodes Now Available

Tour Buddy Apps listens to clients to help them reach more visitors and users in a variety of industries.  A feature that has become increasingly important is privacy and controlling who consumes their content.  For over 2 years, Tour Buddy has offered a private sign-in for branded apps.  Now, clients can increase privacy with single use passcodes that can only be used on one device.

Here are just a few examples of how single use download codes can be used:

Tour Operators

Tour operators can offer a mobile app as an “add-on” to their guests.  The mobile app can provide additional tours or foreign language tours to guests who take the tour.  Guests would download the tour operator’s app and then enter the download code in the sign-in.  Guests would not be able to share their passcode with anyone else because once the passcode is used on a device, it can not be used again on a different device.


Special Events

Organizations who want limit how many people and/or who downloads their content can use single use passcodes.  Particularly for paid events or experiences, organizations offer the single use passcode to access the tour after guests have paid.


Books and Paper Map Tours

Book publishers and producers of paper maps can create and offer a digital tour to people who purchase their products.  The book or map would have download instructions and the username and single use passcode for the consumer to download the content.  This information would be written in its material and only accessible to people who buy the product.


Interested in using single use passcodes for your location, event or book?  Contact us now!


How to Present your Mobile App

We work with clients daily to help them understand how their organization can benefit from offering a mobile app.  Many times, the individuals who we work with must present the possibility of a mobile app to their organization before any decisions are made.  See our step by step instructions to presenting a mobile app to a large group.


How to create your presentation.


Take a Video

There are several ways to capture a video of your app in action.

  • For iOS devices.  iOS has a built in screen recorder (which we think it super easy and we use it ALL the time).  Here are the steps to adding the screen recorder to your control panel and how to take a video on your iOS device>>
  • For Android devices.  You can download one of the many screen recording apps to your Android device and then take your video. We suggest the AZ Screen Recorder.  Check out the AZ Screen Recorder App for Android>>
  • Use Reflector.  Reflector is a program that you download to your computer (MAC or PC) and you connect your phone through airplay or google cast and reflector will record your video directly onto your computer.  It’s not free ($14.99 at time of publishing) but you can use reflector live in your presentation if you don’t want to show a video.  Check it out>>

    Take a Screenshot

    Screenshots are snapshots of what is on your phone’s screen.

  • See how to take a screenshot on iOS. 
  • Learn how to do markup on your screenshot.  This is a great way to highlight features that are important to your organization.
  • See how to take a screenshot on Android.  You may need to google this for your particular Android.Transfer your video/screenshots to your computer

Upload your video/screenshot to your computer

  • If you created the video on your phone, now you have to transfer the file to your computer so that you can display it.  You can use Dropbox, Google Drive or even through e-mail to upload your file to your computer.

Display your video/screenshots

Now that you have your file on your computer, you will need to display your computer screen.

What else do we suggest?

  • Impact.  Talk about how the app will help offer self guided tours, provide valuable information to more guests, digitize content and help with wayfinding (just to name a few)
  • Stability.  We have been in the mobile app space for 8 years with over 100 apps on the App Store and Google Play.  We can offer a long term solution.
  • Easy to manage.  Changes are automatic and updating the app is as easy as using e-mail.  No developers to contact or code needed to maintain and change your app.

Launch your tour in the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App

The Tour Buddy Historic Tours App gives organizations an easy cost effective way to digitize their tours into a mobile app tour. Historical societies, towns and local experts have created various tours available in the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App.  Historic locations such as downtown Sacramento, California, Concord, Massachusetts and Alexandria, Virginia are featured in the app.

How the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App works:

  1. See how the App Builder Works and sign up for the 30 day free trial.
  2. Upload your tour content including images, text, audio, GPS points and urls.
  3. Preview your tour on your iOS or Android device.  
  4. Contact Tour Buddy to launch your guide in the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App.

Launching your tour:

  • Users download the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App on the App Store or Google Play.
  • The guides will sort by distance away from the user.  The tour that is closest to the user will be first and then be sorted by distance away.
  • Users can download and use your tour immediately after it is launched.

Using the Tour Buddy Historic Tours App

When a user first downloads the app, it will ask to track their location.  The tours will then filter to show the user the tour closest to where they are located.   All the tours have the capability of offline audio, images, video, text, clickable links and social sharing.  The user can also choose to turn ‘ON’ the GPS Auto Play for a hands free audio tour experience.

Any changes made to the tour on the App Builder Website are automatic.  Users will be promtped to “refresh” the guide content after the tour on the App Builder Website is updated.


Contact us now with any questions or sign up today.


3 Ways for Tour Operators to use the Tour Buddy App


As the winter freeze leaves and spring is in the air Tour Operators all over begin gearing up for the new season ahead.  Each wondering how to maximize their time and resources by offering their tour services in a new clear, concise, innovative way.  Tour Buddy Apps helps Tour Operators across the globe launch unforgettable GPS triggered app tours.  


3 ways to use the Tour Buddy App:

  1.  The Tour Buddy App can be connected to the vehicle’s speaker system.  The app then plays engaging GPS triggered content.  The audio plays hands free every time automatically.  The hands free audio can provide a high quality tour every time without depending on a live guide for the entire tour.
  2. Offer foreign language tours and cater to guests from all over the globe.  The guests download the Tour Buddy App and then access the tour in their language through a private sign-in.
  3. The Tour Buddy App can be pre downloaded on Apple or Android device with the tour operator’s tours.   Guests can then pay an additional fee to rent the device.  This removes the need for guests to download apps to their own device.

Bonus Option! These features are all included with a Branded App, that can be easily launched by the tour operator with the easy to use Tour Buddy App Builder.  The branded app can include tours for purchase as well as  a private sign-in for guests who pay for tickets on site.

Sign up for our 30 Day Free Trial to see how easy it is to create a tour.


Contact Us Now for Pricing and to learn more


NEW Web Tour App for desktops and smartphones coming soon!

Tour Buddy Apps continues to innovate and grow with the needs of clients and soon users will be able to access tours through their browser!  YES, the browser – without downloading an app!

Why is this big?  Well, a browser experience does not require the user to download anything – and the user can see it on their desktop too.

We still loves apps and think they are AWESOME because the user can view the content OFFLINE.  But, the browser is great for areas that have full access to wifi or for users who may want to view the tour without downloading an app.

Want to be contacted when the Web App is ready?

How to improve visitors' experience with a mobile app tour

5 Ways to Improve Visitors’ Experience with a Mobile App Tour

Do you have an amazing downtown historical area in your city that just screams mobile app tour? Does your museum need to enter the modern media age and engage more visitors on their devices? Here are some tips to making an AWESOME mobile app tour!


  1. Quality content.  As much as technology offers bright shiny things, it all goes back to great content that gives users an insider look into your points of interest.  Unique stories, rare photographs and identifying hidden or lesser known points of interest will get people engaged and talking about your tour.

  2. Tell a story.  Facts are bound to be part of your museum or city tour, but can you tell a story of your location that gives a comprehensive look and new understanding of your points of interest in a historical or cultural context?  Think about building a background for visitors and walking them through a narrative with highs, lows, conflict, love and triumph.  Who are the players and what was the story?  Your story can win the hearts and attention of your visitors to make a memory and build a relationship with your brand.

  3. Reach every visitor – What is your demographic of users?  Are they locals, tourists or both?  Are they native speakers of another language?  Are they experienced smartphone users that understand how the App Store and Google Play work or will they need very specific instructions on how to download your app?  Thinking about your users ahead of launching the app will make it easier to reach them and keep them so that they quickly and easily download your tour and enjoy their tour.

  4. Determining how users will navigate your tour – Will your app have a map of the points of interest?  If so, how will that map work?  Is it like a Google Maps app or a cartoon or graphic like map?  Will the stops be numbered with a recommended start and stop or just a list of points of interest?  For museums, numbering your stops to corresponding numbers in your museum is a great way to set up your tour.  Luckily, the Tour Buddy App has both a big picture GPS map that shows the user’s location as well as the ability to upload a custom map.

  5. Creating attractive graphics – The icon for your app is the first impression that users see when they search for your app on the App Store and Google Play.  A clean and relevant icon will help communicate what your brand is all about to them instantaneously.  For home icons, it is best to use large clean graphics and few words because the icon will be shrunk down to 57 pixels X 57 pixels (a super small box) on your phone’s dashboard.  

International Language App Featured

Tour Buddy’s CEO Yvonne Jouffrault is featured in this interview discussing the international language tour features of the Savannah Experiences App. Savannah experienced more than 13 million visitors last year, 10 percent of which were international visitors. The app has been available in English for some time, but the additional languages featured support the significant international visitors experience Savannah.

From the video:

Yvonne Jouffrault, founder of TourBuddy Apps, says the app has been around for a while in English, but this is a chance for visitors who struggle to understand Savannah’s history to really understand it.

“There’s not a lot of options for foreign language visitors in Savannah. Mostly they roam around and they look at a map and have that clueless look on their face,” Jouffrault said.


The Savannah Experiences app is a multi-guide app that supports both English and international language tours in cooperation with Visit Savannah. The app users can choose from seven languages including

  • Spanish language tours
  • French language tours
  • German language tours
  • Portuguese language tours
  • Italian language tours
  • Chinese language tours
  • Japanese language tours

 Learn more about how you can use Tour Buddy at your destination to connect with international visitors using foreign language tours & check out how the Savannah Experiences app and Stone Mountain app enhance international visitor experience using foreign language tours.

How to create a Hands Free Tour Experience

Now it is easier than ever to turn your Tour Buddy App into a hands free Automatic Tour Guide that plays information at the right points while you are driving. Users can ‘opt-in’ to adjust the settings in the settings page and the new ‘Quick Settings’ feature on the playbar. Take a look!

1. Settings Page:

Click the ‘Settings’ wheel in the corner of the app landing page.

landing page

Turn on the following features on the ‘Settings’ page:

settings page


2. Quick Settings Feature

Click the ‘…’ on the bottom right hand side of the playbar.


Turn on the following features in ‘Quick Settings’:

quick settings


Explanation of Settings:

GPS Auto Play

Allow the audio to play automatically when you pass a gps point


Automatically play audio if you choose a different stop

Audio Stays On

Keep audio playing if you close the app to access a different part of your phone

Kiosk Mode

Keep your phone ‘awake’ while you are driving so that you don’t’ have to touch it

Compass Navigation(depends on the tour)

This allows the phone to play only when its travelling in the specified direction

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And you’re ready for a hands free, app driving tour experience! These features are available with all Tour Buddy IOS7 apps.

Want to create your own Driving Tour?

You can easily create your own driving tour to automatically play in your vehicle(s) or so that visitors can download it on the app store and use it themselves. Check out the pricing plans that we offer.

August App Spotlight – War of 1812 Tour Alexandria, VA

War of 1812 Tour App, Alexandria, VA

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.  We love history and are excited to share our lastest customer app that commemorates the 200 year anniversary of the British occupation of Alexandria, Virginia during the War of 1812.  The app features a tour of 10 blocks of Alexandria and includes sites connected to the War of 1812 and the British occupation of the city late August of 1814. The app includes photos and extra stops only available through the app.  The tour was developed as a Boy Scout Troop 1865 Eagle Scout project for the Alexandria War of 1812 Commemoration.


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Alexandria Civil War App

Civil War History at Your Fingertips

Civil War Tour App, Alexandria VA

If you like this app, download the Civil War Tour App of Alexandria which offers an audio tour of civil war history in Alexandria, VA.

Available for iPhone, iPad and Android.



New App Features: Favorites & Accent Color

We are always looking for little ways to improve our app user experience and allow clients to brand their apps so we’ve added a couple of new features to our app that are now available to all IOS app clients.

Choose your accent color

Previously most of our client apps came in ‘tour buddy blue’ but now clients can configure the accent color throughout the app to match their brand. Just enter the hex color code in our Design page on the app builder website and preview the results by downloaing a preview to the Tour Buddy App. Simple. We also look forward to our new website images that will sport a rainbow of colors in our app screenshots!


Favorites:  Save favorite POI/Stops for later

This was a great suggestion from an attendee of the Savannah Stopover Festival after using the Stopover app – built on the Tour Buddy App Builder platform.  Every stop now has a star next to it which the user can tap and add it to the ‘favorite’ list.  The user can access the list of ‘favorites’ anytime by clicking on the star in the header.  We are now offering this feature to all clients and it will debut in the Dig South Festival App next week.


Learn about all the features that Tour Buddy Apps offers.  

Offer a Hands-Free Driving Tour Experience

Here is a quick guide on how to turn your Tour Buddy App into a hands free Automatic Tour Guide that plays information at the right points while you are driving.   Seriously? yup.  But, in the interest of convenience these features are all ‘opt-in’ for the user and here is how to do it.

1. Click on the ‘settings’ wheel in the corner of the app landing page or the ‘audio’ icon on every screen. 

2. Turn ‘On’ the first four settings

GPS Auto Play

Allow the audio to play automatically when you pass a gps point

 GPS Detection Radius

The distance from the GPS point that the app will trigger the audio.  Distance is in meters and can be altered.  Not recommend to go lower than 30 meters or above 150 meters for radius.

Kiosk Mode

Keep your phone ‘awake’ while you are driving so that you don’t’ have to touch it

Audio Slideshow

Rotates images while audio is playing.

And you’re ready for a hands free, app driving tour experience!

Want to create your own Driving Tour?

You can easily create your own driving tour to automatically play in your vehicle(s) or so that visitors can download it on the app store and use it themselves.  Check out the pricing plans that we offer.

Check out the new Tour Buddy ios7 iPad App

With our new ios7 app we have released an iPad only app.  This app has a different ‘iPad’ friendly navigation with the stop list on the left and stop content on the right.  It also differs from the iPhone app in that it will appear in the iPad app section of the app store that users see when they search the app store on their iPad app.  You can preview your app on an iPad using the Tour Buddy App Guides app.

Check out some screenshots for the ios7 iPad app below and you can download our demo app  at


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Tour Buddy founder to speak at Refresh Savannah

Building Software Products is hard!

As a mobile app product company, we in a constant state of developing new products and features.  On Tuesday night, our Founder and CEO will speak at Refresh Savannah and share some insights for creating technology based products.  She will also offer specific examples of decisions we’ve made along the way in creating Tour Buddy’s apps – and some mistakes that have taught us valuable lessons.  After all with an 1.IOS mobile app, 2.Android mobile app and 3. a web based platform (application) to aid our clients with creating, publishing and managing those mobile apps we are constantly launching a feature or version for one of our applications.  Our approach is that our clients (those who pay for our products) know best so we prefer to launch a minimum functional version of a new product or feature (MVP – minimum viable product) and let user feedback shape how we will further develop and integrate it into our existing platform – or not in some cases.

Why the MVP?

It was once the accepted practice that when businesses created new features or products, they would put a lot of time and resources into planning, building, testing and tweaking before finally launching when everything was perfect.  Well, this worked fabulously for some products but for many others, they missed the mark and sometimes failed completely.  Why?  because no matter how much up front planning we do, we cannot anticipate customers’ needs or their reactions to our products.  Once a product is put out to the paying public, its real utility and value become apparent as well as what features it needs to fulfill its destiny.  Or in some many sad cases, we discover that the idea is a flop and  can redirect those resources to a more successful product/feature.

Tour Buddy Pipeline

For example, we are currently in the process of *rebuilding* our IOS app in order to fully take advantage of iOS7 instead of just modifying our existing app to run on iOS7.  We are taking this opportunity to revamp the navigation and UI of our app and add a bunch of cool new features that customers have always asked for.  Once we have launched our beta (we always test features on tour buddy apps not our client apps!) and received enough feedback we will slowly roll it out for all of our clients and then start working on the Android app and build out the UI nf our web application to fully support those new features – during which time we’ll probably be working on the next set of improvements for the IOS app.  And why do we always build for IOS first?  Well because it is the easiest (and fastest) way to test new features and get to the point that paying customers can give us feedback.

Want to hear more?  Come to Refresh on Tuesday night at 6 PM and enjoy hearing the good the bad and the expensive in creating an MVP.

Just tap each stop to hear narrated stories and navigate the content through the stop menu and GPS tour map.

Alexandria VA App offers Civil War History for the People

Q & A with Liz Williams, Assistant Director for the City of Alexandria

Civil War Alexandria, VA

Civil War History at Your Fingertips

The City of Alexandria utilized the Tour Buddy App Builder platform to publish their Civil War Driving Tour App for iPhone and Android. This app allows users to “explore Civil War Alexandria and discover how Robert E. Lee’s hometown of Confederate loyalists became a major operations center for Union forces while thousands of African Americans came to the town seeking freedom and security behind Union lines. Alexandria’s unique Civil War heritage gives visitors today the chance to see a Union fort, Confederate memorial, and museums dedicated to African American history. Check out more than two dozen distinctive sites and learn why Alexandria’s position as an occupied city made its Civil War experience unlike any other town in America – and why today Alexandria embraces its diversity as well as its past!”

Q: What made you decide to build an app for your organization?

A: It was the Civil War Sesquicentennial and we wanted to share the City of Alexandria’s Civil War history to as many people as possible. The mobile app was the perfect way to provide that information to guests and residents, meeting them where they are – on their smartphones.

Q: What is the best part about your app?

A: The best part of the app is the historic photos we used to showcase each stop. It brings a different perspective when you are looking at each stop.

Q: What did you like about working with Tour Buddy to create your app?

A: The platform was easy to use, allowing us to upload all the information ourselves.  And the staff was extremely helpful is providing good tips to make the product the best it could be.

Q: What advice would you give to other organizations who are looking to create an app?

A: Make sure you have an end goal in mind before you start. Plus high resolution graphics, a good data collector, and a skillful writer.

Download the iPhone app:
Download the Google Play app:

[stylebox type=”info”]Want your very own app to commemorate a special anniversary or share about your city? Contact us today at[/stylebox]

Geo Location App for National Park Bus Tours

We were excited to deliver a new custom app this summer for New Forest National Park in England.  It is a private (not on the app store) Geo Locating iPhone app that automatically plays commentary along three bus routes.  The app is installed on iPad minis which are plugged into the bus speaker systems. The buses provide transportation around the park and allow visitors to hop on and off at various locations. As the bus passes various locations, the app audio plays automatically, giving riders information about the points of interest and upcoming stops. And coincidentally, New Forest Park experienced record visitor numbers this summer – though it might have had more to do with the weather than their snazzy new app.  

We were really excited to create this app since it merges the incredible multimedia feature set available on smart phones with the geo-location feature that was previously only available through GPS hardware devices—which are limited in their functionality.  New Forest had been using a gps hardware device that had been modified to play audio through the bus speaker system.  However it was very difficult to make changes to both the audio and the gps points and didn’t give the driver a dashboard to override the tour stops or see what was playing.  Now the New Forest staff can easily update the audio tracks and GPS points through the Tour Buddy App Builder website, which automatically pushes changes out to the apps.  The app works without any Wifi or cellular connection which was important since there is not a reliable cellular signal throughout the park.  The app also includes compass points so that the audio tracks only play when the bus is travelling in the forward direction and not on the return trip.

Nat Taplin, with the New Forest National Park Authority, has been pleased with the results and urges visitors to visit to see the open-top buses that the commentary app is being used on and the wonderful landscapes which it is helping to bring to life for travelers.

Big Cat Rescue Mobile App

Big Cat Rescue’s CEO Loves Their Mobile App!

We caught up with Big Cat Rescue’s #1 cat lover and CEO Carole Baskin about her experience using our tour app builder platform.  The app offers a tour of the Big Cat Rescue Sanctuary complete with photos and audio for over 100 Cats along with a gps based and Campus map.  The app is updated as new cats are brought in to the sanctuary.  The app is available for iPhone and Android.

Tour Buddy: What made you decide to build an app for your organization?

Baskin: We had an app designed for us by a donor, but we didn’t have the ability to keep it current and didn’t want to keep asking him to update it, so the Tour Buddy app was a great way to get what we wanted, without bothering anyone else.

Tour Buddy: How long did it take to create the content and create the app using the Tour Buddy app builder website?

Baskin: It took me two days to build our tour, and that included 105 exotic cats (or stops, as would be the lingo on most tours). There was a photo of each cat, a written bio and an audio bio recording for each cat. We also plotted each cat out on a map in the app. I think it could have been done in a day, if I had all of the files ready ahead of time.

Tour Buddy: What is some of the feedback you have received from the app users?

Baskin: Big Cat Rescue app users love being able to see the cats and hear their stories. It is also a great training tool for our tour guides to learn the cats’ stories and facts about all of the cats at the sanctuary.

Tour Buddy: What is the best part about your app?

Baskin: My favorite thing about Tour Buddy is the ability to update it any time and that it is available in both iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Tour Buddy: What did you like about working with Tour Buddy to create your app?

Baskin: The interface was so user friendly that I didn’t need to schedule training and that means a lot to me since time is what I have the least of.

Tour Buddy: What advice would you give to other organizations that are looking to create an app?

Baskin: The Tour Buddy app is IT. No one knows your site like you do, so take the time to put it all in an app and you will benefit from the effort.

Tour Buddy: How often do you make updates to the app content?

Baskin: We update the content less than once a month and expect that we will maintain this same schedule.

Tour Buddy: What impact has your app had on your organization?

Baskin: The Tour Buddy app has enabled me to make sure that every tour guide gets the exact, “purrfect” story on each cat. In the past, our tour guides trained tour guides and, like the old game of telephone, the message gets changed the more it is handed down. We use a written guide, but people still repeat what they hear more than what they read. By having our audio stories all contained in the Big Cat Rescue app, every guide is hearing the accurate and relevant stories of the 105 exotic cats at the sanctuary.

Find Big Cat Rescue on YouTube at (More than 63,000,000 views) or on

Facebook (More than 95,000 Big Cat Rescue fans).

Tour Buddy helps its clients reach new audiences.  Create an app, update it on the fly, and build your own tour in less than a week (Baskin finished theirs in TWO DAYS!).  If you are interested in creating your own mobile app, or you have a question about our tour app builder, please feel free to contact us! You can also check out our FAQ page for more information.



Case Study: Great Dane Trailers Custom App

We were very excited when Great Dane approached us to build an app to enable drivers to search and locate Great Dane Trailers sales, parts and service locations in North America.  

The app allows the user to search the locations based on keywords, nearby, or within a city, state, country.  It allows you to filter the search by the type of location; Service, Parts, Sales, Mobile, Advantage or All of the above.  The app allows you to call the service and parts locations and get directions. And the best part is that all of the information flows from the Great Dane locations database directly into our app builder platform and into the app so that the locations update automatically.  The app also features Great Dane products and upcoming events.  

 [highlight]Download the App here for iPhone and Android.[/highlight]


See a short video of the app below.

Some screenshots of the app.

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Art museums are increasingly using Apps to share their Art

We wanted to share a great article from the Pittsburgh Tribune that talks about how some of the big art museums are using mobile apps to share their collections.
While all of the apps mentioned are custom built apps for these specific uses, the Tour Buddy App Builder allows our clients to easily create a great app that can show off their collection for a fraction of the cost of the custom app and without the intensive time commitment that comes with creating a custom app.

Here are some excerpts from the article.  See the full article here:

Sometimes making time to visit museums is difficult, but increasingly phone and tablet applications are allowing patrons to carry a world of art in their pockets and many even let people put their own spin on these masterpieces.

Many of the most famous museums in the world have apps that allow viewers to check out their collections or plan visits. For example:

• The Museum of Modern Art app includes an index of all works and artists featured in the collection as well as a database of art terms, and MoMA Tracks allows visitors to select their own music to listen to while exploring the museum or the app. A newly released MoMA Art Lab app is designed for children to create artworks using shapes, lines and colors.

• The Tate Museum in London has 16 apps, mostly free. They range from the educational, such as the Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, to the just-for-fun: the Muybridgizer allows you to create an Eadweard Muybridge-style animation using your iPhone camera.

• An updated Louvre Museum app released last year has more than 100 images from the collection.

• The American Museum of Natural History has several apps, including one devoted to its dinosaur collection and one that helps you navigate through the New York City site.

• The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia app shows 31 sculptures by Rodin with audio and visual information on the objects, the artist and the museum.

Read more:
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook


check out the full article here:


Art enthusiast builds mobile app based on stamps

Paris: Art and Stamps App for Louvre and Musee d’Orsay

We love sharing about the new Paris: Art and Stamps app because it was built by one guy who loves art–Mark H. Haimann, M.D. A retired ophthalmologist, Haimann has always enjoyed art, medicine, and stamp collecting, and this passion led him to build his very own app using our app builder platform by uploading 125 images of postage stamps that are miniatures of works found in the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay. Haimann also added the audio, and he will be leading a tour group there this summer to explore these world-famous museums where the group’s visit to both will be enhanced by the app he built on our easy-to-use (and edit on the fly!) platform.

Each painting can be viewed in full with web links while listening to the narration, and other related works of art are also referenced with web links. Haimann wanted the app to be something people could enjoy while on-site seeing the works of art firsthand or for those who haven’t yet visited the Louvre or Musee d’Orsay but want to be whisked away to Paris through listening to the audio and viewing the images on the mobile app.

Haimann opted for a $1.99 price tag for his app because all proceeds from the sale of the Paris: Art and Stamps app benefit the American Philatelic Society.

To hear sample audio and view some of the stamps, visit


Download for iPhone/iPad users

Download for Android users

Enjoy this great article from about the need for mobile apps in Museums.

Museums still ignoring mobile, especially small museums

The vast majority of museums are totally ignoring mobile apps.

At present, ~350 iPhone apps have been actually created by museums. Of those, only one out of ten was created by a U.S. museum (the rest are non-U.S.). The other 760 iPhone apps matching “museum” in their title or description were created by travel and culture publishers, most of which are poor quality.
These pathetic numbers ignore smartphone reality. In the U.S. alone, half of all mobile phone customers now have smartphones, and there will soon be 1 million new smartphone (smartphones run apps) subscribers a week. This will be virtually all U.S. households in 5-7 years. Currently, Android and iOS are the two main app platforms. Numbers in Europe are similar.
Despite mobile’s potential to connect to visitor’s pockets (and pocketbooks), of the ~17,500 museums in the U.S., fewer than 2% currently have a mobile app.

continue reading the article here

iDMa 2011 Conference






Tour Buddy Founder will be Panelist at the upcoming iDMa 2011 Conference

Yvonne Jouffrault will serve on a panel titled ‘Innovation Drives Design’ at the upcoming iDMAa Conference at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA.

The iDMAa is  organization dedicated to serving educators, practitioners, scholars, and organizations with interests in digital media and art, by forging interdisciplinary partnerships to create opportunities and stimulate explosions of creativity.






The Best Tour Guide May Be In Your Purse

We wanted to share this great article from the New York Times on Museums using mobile apps:

Museums Special Section

The Best Tour Guide May Be in Your Purse

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

HAND-HELD CURATOR IPod Touches and visitors at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.


Published: March 13, 2010


THE San Francisco Museum of Modern Art formally celebrated its 75th anniversary on Jan. 18 with an eye to attracting millennial generation multitaskers. The event included handing out to museumgoers iPod Touches loaded with a rich mix of pictures, interviews, video and graphics exploring 200 pieces in the institution’s permanent collection.

Like almost every major art museum in the country, according to communications officers here and in other cities,  the San Francisco institution is using mobile multimedia devices  —  iPods, iPhones, BlackBerrys and other smartphones  —  to tell the stories of its exhibits in new ways.

“Essentially, we’ve liberated the audio tour,” said Peter Samis, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s associate curator of interpretation. “We’ve developed five hours of content, made it extremely portable and easy to use, and devoted it to rediscovering aspects of our collection and its history. This is not about techno-fetishism. It’s about focusing on artworks in meaningful sound and video.”

Art museums have always viewed communications as their primary mission. Never, though, have the editorial, design and production staffs of art museums been busier than they are now. Digitization has steadily brought down the cost of the software and tools of multimedia production  —  audio, video and interactive motion graphics. More powerful and available online access has made smartphones and other mobile devices ubiquitous and more useful.

Mr. Samis said his museum developed the content for the mobile tour with its own staff. Nousguide, a Vienna-based content management company, developed the presentation software. The intent is to marry the story behind a painting or piece of sculpture to the hand-held online and multimedia communications revolution. Last year, a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project predicted that by 2020 mobile devices would be the primary connection to the Internet for most people in the world.

Museum communications departments welcome the challenge. Since the 1960s, when tape recorders and audio tours were first introduced, art museums have embraced technology to provide more engaging ways for patrons to interact with exhibits. In 2002, art museums began delivering audio tours on cellphones. Later in the decade, interactive producers like Second Story, a Portland, Ore., design company, delivered  multimedia kiosks and online  programming to museums. In May 2008, the San Jose Museum of Art was one of the first to produce a mobile multimedia tour of its exhibit of the evolution of robots. Content was delivered on  the first-generation iPod Touch.

Art museums are putting mobile devices to use in creative ways. In Louisville, Ky., the 21c Museum, which describes itself as the only museum in the United States dedicated exclusively to displaying art made in the 21st century, in April will introduce an iPhone multimedia tour that takes advantage of a bar code reader app available at Apple’s App Store. Bar codes placed next to works of art in the museum link iPhone owners to multimedia about the pieces.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts developed an interactive  program for its iAfrica exhibition for smartphone owners. They can download to their device pictures of the art and other exhibits, and an interactive audio feature that enables the user to pluck (virtually) and hear the sounds generated by the long metal tongues of a lamellaphone, a sub-Saharan instrument.

“People want to be part of the learning. They want to participate,” said Kaywin Feldman, the museum’s director and president. “We use the technology to help them better understand works in the collection that can seem remote to a 21st-century visitor.”

In February, the Dallas Museum of Art began a multimedia mobile smartphone tour of its Wendy and Emery Reves collection of 19th-century photography and paintings. The content includes pictures, audio interviews and video documentaries and interviews coded for each artwork. The museum strengthened its wireless access, and then made the multimedia content available on its Web site at

“We made a decision to keep total production of the content completely in-house  —  Web, coding, design, editing, music, talent, posting,” said Gail Davitt, the museum’s director of education. “There was a clear sense that we didn’t want to end up dependent on the device of the year, but rather to produce content and then be flexible with how we might use it.”

The Brooklyn Museum of Art photographed much of its collection and put it online in March 2009 with a software application that invited people to share the content. Four months later, Adam Shackelford, the chief technical officer of Iconoclash Media, a Brooklyn-based Web site and iPhone app company, introduced Brooklyn Museum Mobile Collection as a free app in the iPhone store. Patrons can now tour the collection with their phone whether they visit or not.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art produced a multimedia iPod Touch tour of its “Sacred Spain: Art and Belief in the Spanish World” exhibition, which began in October and ended in January. The production included audio interviews and video documentaries along with period music and pictures. Each feature was number-coded to pieces in the exhibition. Visitors to the museum paid $5 to rent the devices.

“We are helping visitors learn the story behind the content. We are telling things that are interesting,” said Robert Stein, a computer scientist who serves as the museum’s chief information officer. “Some of what we are doing with mobile device also is betting on where things are going.”

One of the most interesting mobile multimedia features at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art describes in detail René Magritte’s “Les Valeurs Personnelles,” the artist’s  1952 painting of oversized male toiletries. The feature includes an interactive display of the painting; touching the comb, mirror or shaving dish opens a window for more video, text or audio content that explains the context and importance of the object.

Ramon and Julia Rios, residents of San Diego who were visiting the museum, handed their driver’s licenses to the information desk and were handed back iPod Touches. “I saw people coming over to get the devices,” said Mr. Rios. “I thought, O.K., I’d like to try it. Let’s see what it’s like.”

Later, on the second floor of the museum, Mrs. Rios was asked about the multimedia tour. “I like it. There’s a lot here,” she said, holding up the device. “It’s easy to use and very informative. You have so much more information with this.”


Check out our Virtual Booth at the Museums & Mobile Conference


NEW YORK, NY– (September 19, 2011) – The Museums and Mobile III Online Conference
(MMIII) — a global online professional networking and learning event for museum
professionals will take place, entirely over the Internet on October 24 to 26,
2011. There is still time to register at “Early Bird”  prices through October 8th  for individuals, groups and low-cost site


The online conference includes a stellar lineup
of engaging and interactive case studies exploring the delivery and operation
of mobile experiences.  The sessions are
designed to address project delivery, experience design, content production,
technology solutions and operational requirements.  Participants will interact with an
outstanding international lineup of museum professionals from a range of
organizations, including:  the Museum of
Fine Arts Boston, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Smithsonian Institution,
the Stedelijk Museum, the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, and the
Andy Warhol Museum.


Continue your exploration and discovery at the FREE Museums & Mobile Virtual Expo on
October 26, 2011. The Virtual expo is a one-day, completely online trade show
for museum professionals interested in deploying mobile experiences and
creating mobile content.  Providers will be live online in a unique Virtual
Expo Hall, to guide you through their products, services and case studies of
successful mobile projects.