COVINGTON, Ky. -
Sean Thomas and Steve Oldfield, grad students at Northern Kentucky University, are preparing to launch Touritz. The web-based platform lets groups like museums and historical organizations upload and present pictures, text, audio and video--creating walking tours for minimal cost.
9 Questions for Touritz co-founder and president Sean Thomas
1. When did you realize Touritz was more than a class project, but could be a viable business?
In the NKU Public History Master’s Program, we worked with more than a dozen community partners: museums and historic sites across the region. Right away, we saw that many are still way behind the times when it comes to technology; they’re still relying on paper maps and brochures. We thought it would be great to create an app that helps them become part of the mobile phenomenon. When we started telling some of our community partners about it, their reaction was so enthusiastic, we knew we had something.
2. Is Touritz primarily a mobile application? How will people use it?
Users will be able to create and upload tours, videos, photos, text and create their own tours and points of interest. Then other users can check out the content online and download it to their mobile devices. You can tell Touritz where you’re going and what you’re interested in and we’ll show you the relevant points of interest and help you to create a customized tour.
3. What is your "big vision" for Touritz?
We believe that it’ll help museums and historic sites who could never afford their own app to reach people all over the world. And average people who are passionate about places will also get to upload their content – everyone from history buffs to students, wine lovers to architecture aficionados.
4. How many tours have you developed so far?
With our production company, Instant Access Tours, we have worked with Historic New Richmond, Oh., Augusta, Ky., and we’re currently creating tours for Covington’s Bicentennial and for the city of Fort Thomas. As for Touritz, we’ll have a working prototype by the end of October.
5. Who are your target clients?
Touritz will be for everyone from a small town historical society or museum to the Hampton Court Palace in London, history buffs to sports nuts. It's for anyone who wants to share information about a place, or to create a tour. From professionals to amateurs, and we also want to be able to promote all kinds of businesses in the areas around the tours and historic sites.
6. What need is Touritz filling in the marketplace?
Right now, there’s no one place where all this tour content can be found and many smaller museums and historic sites could never afford to build their own apps. We’re helping them to reach people all over.
7. What do you want to get out of your UpTech experience?
We can’t wait to work with pros when it comes to marketing and developing a strong business model. We got a great start this summer in NKU's INKUBATOR. Now we’re ready to take Touritz to the next level. We’re also expecting to build revenue streams so that we can still offer many services free to our members. We know the market and our clients but we need some direction when it comes to the business, marketing and accounting.
8. Where are you in the process of your business?
We will have an MVP, minimum viable product or a prototype, ready by the end of October. We’re already setting up meetings with historical societies and organizations around the country and we have commitments from everyone from the Covington Bicentennial to the Ohio River Freedom Corridor, a group of museums and historic sites in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.
9. What's next for Touritz?
We’ll be setting up shop in Covington at UpTech, which is perfect given our work with the Covington Bicentennial. We’re also collaborating with some great people at Tier One Performance Solutions and we continue to gather content to upload to Touritz once the site is ready.
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