Created: May 06, 2020 09:41 PM
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WHEC) — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many public attractions to close, from museums to national historic sites. But a Pittsford-based app developer is still allowing you to experience those attractions.
We first told you about OnCell in November. Recently, we checked back with company president Thomas Dunne and his team to find out how they've adapted.
"OnCell is a digital storytelling platform that helps provide self-guided tours for destinations around the world," Dunne explained.
OnCell has developed tour apps for thousands of attractions around the world, places like Gettysburg and Mt. Kilimanjaro. But since the pandemic hit, many of those sites have been forced to close.
"But at the same time, we've actually had a lot more inbound leads and inquires and also our April was our best sales month in the history of the company," Dunne said.
That's because OnCell can help the attractions still accomplish their mission of delivering the stories and interpretive messaging their visitors want — even if they are aren't able to experience it in person right now.
"So it was, oh maybe I should do an app, maybe I shouldn't. But now it's gotten to the point where it's like, wow we should have done this a while ago. we need to have this, it's critical," Dunne saidd.
On the apps, you'll find maps, photos, audio and video, and other related content which can be used as a remote learning experience even if the user is off-site.
"So we do have clients using these as an actual experience that you pay for, and they include badges, a scavenger hunt, quizzes, surveys. And this is a great way for them to stay interacting with their audience," said company marketing communications manager Genevieve Hauck.
The OnCell team is trying to stay connected with its clients.
"We're actually holding what we call online with OnCell each week on Wednesdays — two different sessions — so people can just join in, ask questions, brainstorm ideas with us and we can get feedback from them on what they're doing well too and what's working for them," said Sales Manager Kyle Pierce.
Because they recently acquired a company in New Zealand, Dunne says meeting remotely with team members was a seamless transition. He says they've done some cost-cutting to weather the financial storm, but have been able to retain 100% of their staff.
"I think it's fair to say we definitely pivoted to more virtual remote experiences, making our products better for that but we do think, eventually, it'll get back and we'll still have the ability to do the virtual tours, but the actual self-guided tours within the venues will be that much more valuable as well," Dunne said.
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