With 47 million visitors a year, the Paris Region is the world’s top tourist destination. How can it ensure an even better experience for visitors? Via innovation, of course! The message was received loud and clear by Smarter City Guides, a Paris startup that just launched its first mobile tourist guide.
Using technology for better access to content
Remi Morlot, founder of Smart City Guides, is a globetrotter and is married to an English woman. He had trouble finding tourist guides that met his needs. “Established publishers often sell mediocre mobile applications that have proper content but do not make use of the smartphone’s features. The newer players offer advanced features, but lack relevant content, or rely on users’ reviews. That’s why we thought that there was room for a guide combining high-tech features with a strong editorial line.” Smarter Paris therefore has an editorial team of “real Parisians” who know their city well, and want to help people discover it. Another advantage is a rich technology platform: geolocation, personalized recommendations (according to budget, family composition, hobbies, etc.), trip planning and advanced searches. “And above all, no user ratings! We fully control the content. Technology is just a tool to access it as efficiently as possible,” added Morlot, who counts on selecting the best options for visitors to help optimize their experience.
The iPhone app costs $3.99 (€3.99 in Europe) against €10 to €20 for a paperback guide. This young entrepreneur surely plans to sell a lot of copies to fund content creation: “Our app is a gateway to the tourist experience in Paris. It may even be free one day. Our business model is based primarily on additional services such as treasure hunts, recipes and personal concierge service, not to mention our booking platform for original activities, called “Meet the Parisians.” It lets users join a wine tasting session, take a cooking class with a real chef, visit the Bois de Boulogne in a small boat, or follow a themed tour.
Other European cities, coming soon
Barely a year after the initial inspiration and only a few months after the release of the app (December 2014), the first customer feedback is so encouraging that Morlot is calmly considering international expansion. “Versions for London and Madrid are in the works. We are actively seeking motivated editorial teams in other major cities who are interested in a ‘Smarter’ franchise.” It still remains to find a maximum number of local partners to boost the services and the visibility of this new-generation guide. Financially speaking, the startup is operating on the initial capital from its founders and does not intend to seek funding in the short term.
More on: http://www.smarterparis.com/fr/