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LBS & tourism through the eyes of a postgrad marketing student in New Zealand.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

KRUSE & Wikitravel

Spotted in an issue of the Tourism NZ newsletter focusing on IT & tourism, this is exactly what I've been looking for - an affordable and (by the looks of it) fully-functional mobile travel guide in New Zealand! The blurb from the site describes it pretty well:

"To create the ultimate New Zealand experience for the self-drive traveller, Jonathan Kruse, President of KRUSE commissioned the development of KRUSEĀ®, an innovative portable GPS technology that would automatically inform and entertain travellers on key points of interest as they journeyed throughout New Zealand.

Simultaneously over four years, Jonathan single-handedly created a tourist commentary network of over 1200 points of interest, covering New Zealand's history, people, native birds, plants and animals, geographical landmarks and scenic attractions. Information was meticulously researched and then recorded with appropriate music and sound effects to ensure an audio experience that is informative and entertaining.

As well as acting as your personal tour guide, KRUSEĀ® also becomes your personal radio station. Once a commentary point has completed playing, you will then be entertained by music until you reach the next point of interest. Once you reach the next point of interest, the music currently playing will automatically fade out to allow you to hear the new commentary point."
Exciting stuff! I downloaded some of the sample audio tracks and found them both informative and amusing - did you know that 'Mangere' means 'laziness' in Maori? =) Anyway, I guess the only downside is that it's not a pedestrian guide as well, but I teel that the relatively low cost (only $10 per day) and the wide coverage will make it quite attractive for people going on a road trip around the country.

Something I spotted only today (even though I'm sure it's been around for a while) was Wikitravel - basically it's a collaborative database of travel information just like World66, except that it probably has higher credibility due to the fact it's attached to the Wikipedia brand. One of the downsides of having more than one wiki database serving the same need is that it causes unnecessary redundancies and splits the user base, which would be much better off joining together and sharing their knowledge; however, competition drives innovation, and neither of these wiki travel guides are in the mainstream yet - this is still dominated by companies such as Lonely Planet. Personally, I think that there's more than enough space in the world for both consumer-created and firm-created content. They serve different needs, and people are likely to use a combination of both, rather than solely relying on one or the other.

Only just over a month left before my thesis is due! Let me know if you'd be interested in obtaining a copy. The final product will be over 200 pages long, but I'll also be making a condensed report containing managerial implications, so that's probably going to be more interesting and relevant! =)


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