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Personal guide on every phone - How to provide self-guided tours for visitors easily

Travel has significantly evolved, with self-guided tours becoming a popular choice for modern explorers. This shift, influenced by dynamic visitor preferences and events like the pandemic, has increased the demand for flexible, independent tourism. To cover that, digital travel guide platforms, such as SmartGuide, offer a fast track to creating engaging and informative audio guides for independent travelers. Thanks to this, destination management organizations (DMOs), tourist attractions, tour operators, and travel businesses can publish and even sell their digital guides and self-guided tours to their visitors. 

Personal guide in every phone - The easiest way to add self-guided tours 12

A visitor on a self-guided tour of a city checking SmartGuide digital tour guide app on his phone

Read more to explore how SmartGuide’s audio guides benefit visitors, and how SmartGuide platform provides the easiest way to publish self-guided tours.

SmartGuide - A digital companion for modern travelers

Established to aid the travel industry and independent travelers, SmartGuide serves as a hub for digital audio guides, much like YouTube acts as a platform for videos. For visitors seeking inspiration, it's a goldmine of places waiting to be discovered.

  • SmartGuide digital audio guide provides over 6,000 self-guided audio tours for more than 1,300 destinations.
  • It allows for exploration without internet access with offline maps and GPS navigation.
  • Thanks to precise geolocation and set trigger zones, SmartGuide alerts travelers to nearby points of interest, automatically starting the audio for engaging stories and more insight. This ensures no interesting site is overlooked.
  • SmartGuide incorporates artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) to enhance visitor exposure. The AI-powered personalized notifications provide to visitors with tips based on their interests, while AR brings destinations to life for more interaction.
  • The user-friendly interface of the SmartGuide app ensures it is easily accessible to people of all ages.
  • Available to download for free from Google Play or App Store.

SmartGuide with its unique features and offerings is the best traveler companion.Download now!

How to join SmartGuide and publish a digital guide

The process of how audio tour guides are created and published has been simplified by SmartGuide for content creators such as tourist destinations, attractions, tour operators, and tourism businesses. This tour guide system also eliminates the need for IT development and maintenance.

Here's how to create a guide using the SmartGuide content management system (CMS):

1. Visit and register an account.

2. Search for and open the desired destination.

3. Create new points of interest on the map, describing them as if guiding a friend. This is where local knowledge shines.

4. Enhance the visitor's experience by adding images, audio, video, or an AR model to the point of interest.

5. Organize the content into tours, providing a logical flow for visitors.

6. Promote yourself as the guide author with a profile and a link to your website in SmartGuide on every piece of content provided.

7. If desired, earn extra revenue by selling the content.

8. Make easy content updates whenever something changes. This flexibility is a significant advantage over printed guides, which can't be updated once published.

With SmartGuide's tour guide solution, creating a self-guided tour is a straightforward way to share local expertise with visitors from around the world. The entire process, from signing up to having a professional guide ready, can be completed in just a few hours (OG content authors can make it even in as little as one hour).

The SmartGuide team is also available to help with professional content preparation. However, content creators have the freedom to do it all independently and entirely free of charge.

It's super easy to join SmartGuide and publish a digital guide

It's super easy to join SmartGuide and publish a digital guide

Text-to-speech capabilities - improving interaction through AI technology

SmartGuide, standing as the world's #1 digital audio guide platform, offers three distinct options for audio tracks in the digital guides. The first is Text-to-Speech (TTS) audio, which automatically converts written text into spoken words for easy updates. The second option is TTS with phonemes, which improves the pronunciation of foreign names and acronyms. For emotional depth, there's the third option of Human audio, with professional voice actors. Content creators can also upload personal audio files or have the SmartGuide team create professional recordings.

Here are the pros and cons of each option:

  • TTS offers benefits like accessibility, cost-effectiveness, natural-sounding artificial voices, the possibility of fast changes in content, and personalization with different languages. However, the speech can sound monotonous, struggle with pronunciation of specific expressions (esp. names), and have issues with abbreviations.
  • TTS with phonemes improves pronunciation accuracy over basic TTS audio, caters to different languages and accents, and is continuously evolving, but it struggles with emotional conveyance and there is no guarantee of accurate pronunciation in all world languages. Additionally, it incurs extra costs.
  • Human audio provides a personal touch, accurate pronunciations, and diverse voices, but its production is time-consuming and costly, and updates after publishing can be impractical.

TTS capabilities of SmartGuide

SmartGuide serves as a one-stop digital guide solution

Seamless app maintenance and effective marketing strategies are vital for success in the digital era. Here's how SmartGuide excels in offering strong maintenance support and effective marketing tools, all while being a cost-effective solution.

1. Global cloud-based technology

The platform utilizes reliable cloud-based technology for secure data storage on AWS with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. This enables fast global availability through the Content Delivery Network and unlimited scalability. 

2. Full app maintenance and automatic updates

SmartGuide handles the automatic updates that align with the latest Android and iOS changes. Unlike custom apps that are costly to maintain, SmartGuide offers full app maintenance by default. It also ensures 5+ years of sustainability for public funding and even manages end-user support.

3. Effective marketing support

The SmartGuide digital audio guide platform provides extensive marketing support. Content creators receive a dedicated deep link and QR code, which directly opens their content across all devices. The marketing welcome package for content authors includes a website integration widget, marketing poster and sticker designs, web banners, and global platform visibility. These features aim to enhance visitors' reach and engagement.

SmartGuide serves as a one-stop digital guide solution

In the case of the SmartGuide platform, the value received outweighs the investment, eliminating concerns about maintenance or marketing support. The good news is that despite a €0.5M investment in developing this technology, SmartGuide offers its basic version for free.

How to sell your guides with SmartGuide

Navigating the digital guide marketplace and monetizing the created digital guides can be achieved through two distinct pathways: direct selling and in-app selling. Each possesses unique advantages, and here's how they work.

How to sell your guides with SmartGuide

1. Direct selling of digital audio guides

On SmartGuide, these tours are marked as private and hidden publicly. Instead, content creators distribute them through their established channels, including on-site sales, their own websites, or through third-party platforms like Viator and GetYourGuide. Following a purchase, the buyer receives an activation link or QR code to access the tour. This approach is particularly well-suited for tours that are included with other offerings, such as boat or bus tours.

2. In-app selling of digital audio guides

Besides offering private tours directly to visitors, paid tours can also be publicly listed on the SmartGuide app, accessible to more than 1.3 million users. Before deciding to buy, potential users have the option to preview the first three points of interest. This approach is suitable for tours designed for tourists to explore on their own, without needing any extra products. It can also attract more users to tours that content creators don't directly promote through their own channels. Additionally, if a tour proves to be popular, SmartGuide may consider turning it into a separate product available for purchase on the platform.

The ultimate way to monetize digital guide content

The SmartGuide's monetization strategy incorporates two primary content types: private and paid.

1. Private Content: Content creators pay a small fee of €1 per user to offer their unique content through links, QR codes, or activation codes. This fee allows users to access a premium version of the guide that is both offline and free of advertisements.

A crucial aspect of this model is that SmartGuide only starts charging once the content has attracted hundreds of unique users. For example, if a content creator sells a guide for €10 to 500 visitors, generating €5000 in total revenue, they would pay SmartGuide €500, keeping €4500 as profit. This billing approach, which begins only after proving the content's market viability, enables content creators to grow their user base without the burden of upfront costs.

Selling guides with SmartGuide tour guide app

2. Paid Content: For paid content, a profit-sharing strategy is employed. Content creators earn a share of the income from Premium Subscription sales, after the deduction of any relevant fees (like those from app stores). The amount they receive is determined by how much their content is used compared to the overall consumption by premium subscribers.

Why do top partners choose SmartGuide?

SmartGuide is a preferred choice for destinations, tourist attractions, and travel businesses that have found massive value in digitizing their guides. Here's what some of them have to say about this leading digital travel guide platform:

Top partners who chose SmartGuide

1. Barbora Tinterova, City Tourism Bureau, Mariánské Lázně: "We first digitized the guide to our city on the SmartGuide platform in 2017 and we immediately won first place in the Golden Coat of Arms competition, which recognizes innovations in tourism. Since then, the application has improved even further and everything works perfectly."

2. Stephan Duempelfeld, Deutsche Bahn Mitte: “We have been looking for a truly innovative solution that can these days attract locals and tourists back onto green trains from cars and buses, show them how interesting our regions are and extend our exposure to the customers with an up/cross-sell potential beyond our trains – SmartGuide.”

3. Helena Gottwaldová, Sternberk Castle Manager: "We use the SmartGuide application for foreign language visitors. This solves the problem of the lack of foreign language live guides. We chose SmartGuide instead of paper and traditional audio guides because the application is much more attractive to visitors. We were positively surprised by the results that during the first season, users of the application consumed an average of an incredible 80% of all content."

4. Tomáš Rieger, General Manager of the Terezín Memorial: “After three years of using the SmartGuide guide application, we have newly expanded the content in cooperation with the city of Terezín. For the new season, we will have one official application for visitors to the Memorial and the city of Terezín."

5. Peter Soukup, Head of Digital, Prague City Tourism: "We are already excited about enhancing our two walking tour brochures into 10 multimedia guides in less than a month. We could not believe that SmartGuide motivated 30% of tourists to explore beyond the over-crowded Royal route."

These testimonials showcase the real-world impact of SmartGuide. The digitization ease, attractive presentation, solution to language barriers, and ability to motivate tourists to explore hidden gems are key reasons why top partners choose SmartGuide. Their experiences exemplify the significant benefits and potential that SmartGuide offers.


SmartGuide's digital travel guide platform has become an integral part of the travel industry. Visitors benefit from detailed information, interactive maps, and rich multimedia content. The self-guided tours allow for a personalized journey at the visitor's own pace. Furthermore, tourist destinations, attractions, tour operators, and travel businesses can easily digitize their content, making it globally accessible without marketing and app maintenance challenges. With selling guide options, they can earn revenue and boost tourism in the best possible manner.

Join the 1,300+ destinations already on SmartGuide and be part of the future of travel. Don't miss out on the exciting opportunity to put yourself on the map of 1,300,000 modern travelers. Start today!