North Shore Scenic Railroad Gives Their Best Tour Yet!
North Shore Scenic Railroad is a non-profit organization, located in the tourist town of Duluth Minnesota. They operate tour excursions along Lake Superior with historic railroad equipment on a 28-mile track between Duluth and Two Harbors. North Shore offers a multitude of different trips, such as the Two Harbors Turn and their most popular passenger experience, the Duluth Zephyr. Passengers have a choice to sit in one of their many historic coaches or in their First Class, all glass, Dome Car.
Business Needs: Tour Consistency
For almost 30 years North Shore Scenic Railroad has narrated all of their tours, and still have the original scripts. Their tour guides currently range from high school students with part time jobs to historians of Duluth who sometimes enjoy adding their own personal touch to the tours.
“It was important for me coming into this not only from the narrative perspective but also from an operational perspective that every passenger that rides our train should get the same great experience day-to-day,” says Josh Miller, North Shore Scenic Railroad’s Station Manager. “On our daily train excursions we want to provide the exact same experience as the people did yesterday and for the people that come tomorrow. It’s not a unique concept – Disney does it, even McDonalds does it.”
To help standardize their tours, AudioConexus collaborated with North Shore Scenic Railroad, providing the equipment and Route Builder training they required to create a new automated commentary experience. It was also important for Miller and his team to continue to support their passionate tour guides by empowering staff to continue to add their own flavour to the tours – blending prerecorded commentary with live guide interpretation. TourMaster Lite, a GPS system designed for Public Address System audio delivery offered this flexibility. Now Miller’s certain that no matter what, whenever guests leave the station, they’ll go home having experienced something memorable… each and every time.
“To me narration is a very important component that attractions like us often undervalue. Every time our trains depart we have one chance to deliver information that either makes or breaks our patrons’ experience and perception of us. By controlling our message and sharing the information we want to share, we ensure that the quality of experience is always great.”
Solution: Giving the Perfect Experience Every Time!
In 2015, North Shore Scenic Railroad purchased AudioConexus’ Route Builder Software and TourMaster Lite to create their new tour experience.
North Shore has already begun to add celebrity talent and authentic commentators as a key parts of their tour experience. Included in the experience is the mayor of Duluth sharing a story with guests about one of their most popular tourist destinations, the historic Glensheen mansion. The tour will also feature the settlers of a fishing village retelling their history as the train goes by. This concept opens so many doors for North Shore Scenic Railroad to continue to build upon.
Executive Director of the North Shore Scenic Railroad, Ken Bueller, was quoted saying, “This might be one of our best investments ever!” AudioConexus’ TourMaster Lite has enabled North Shore Scenic Railroad to add high-quality consistency to their tours while growing the experiences they offer with authenticity and a personal experience of Duluth, Minnesota.
Miller says “We had to make the decision based on price, but it was also about our brand identity. AudioConexus gives a very strong impression of professionalism and being the industry standard leader. In my experience with the company, the sales people followed through very well and so did the whole team! I went from the sales person, to the installation tech to the trainer who all provided me with everything I required each step of the way.”
Benefits: New Tours and New Experiences
North Shore Scenic Railroad hopes to use TourMaster Lite GPS commentary systems to expand to other train cars offering passengers different tour experiences. “We are containing ourselves to not make this a huge project at first. We have to figure out what we’re doing and where we’re going first. The sky is the limit considering how far we can take this.” Miller and his team hopes to eventually install GPS tour systems in every train coach to provide tailored railway excursions and more speciality type tours such as a more historically rich tour for passengers with a passion for history.
North Shore Scenic Railroad debuts their new tour experience in May 2016. We wish them much success!