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Sennheiser Tourguide helps Sweetwater Sound deliver corporate tours that resonate among customers, delivering reliability, intelligibility and ease of use
USA – Sweetwater Sound, one of the top online music retailers, recently implemented a Sennheiser Tourguide system to facilitate its corporate tours. The company, which features a brand new, 300,000 square foot, LEED Platinum certified facility and is set amidst an exquisite 100+ acre campus, has realised over 35 years of steady growth and is a beacon of innovation in greater Fort Wayne area.
“It all started when people started talking about the campus and saying: ‘Wow, this is amazing. Can I bring some people back and show them around?’,” says Michael Ross, senior vice president – marketing and corporate communications of Sweetwater Sound. “So we formalised the tours, and the word spread in a very grass roots fashion.” When customers, local elementary students, business partners or community members tour the Sweetwater facility, they experience the inner workings of the world-class equipment retailer including visiting sales engineers, Sweetwater University and the company’s massive distribution centre – which boasts 99.9 percent accuracy in customer order fulfilment.
Tour participants can also experience Sweetwater’s on-premises music store, an arcade, a beauty salon and Sweetwater Studios – which is host to a range of both local and internationally touring acts – all before taking in a wholesome meal at the company’s own Downbeat Diner.
Over the last few years, as the company’s tours have increased in popularity, they have become longer and more comprehensive in scope while catering to much larger groups. “It became very cumbersome to conduct highly detailed tours to a group of more than a handful of people,” says Ross. “So we needed to ensure that our tour guides were able to communicate clearly without having to raise their voices or becoming distracted over side-conversations. The challenge was clear, and there was only one really great solution – Sennheiser Tourguide.”
Initially, Sweetwater approached the challenge just as one of its customers might: by comparing features, speaking to peers and inquiring with sales engineers. “When we have an audio need, we conduct our due diligence just like anybody else. But in going with Sennheiser Tourguide, there were a couple of key factors,” Ross recalls. “First, we sell an incredible amount of Sennheiser wireless to our customers on our own recommendation because we believe in it so much. Second, we have a great relationship with the folks at Sennheiser, and we knew they would be able to serve our needs at this level.”
Sweetwater initially settled on a Tourguide 2020-D system that included (20) stethophone receivers and a bodypack transmitter. Based on the strong performance of the first system, they promptly purchased a second 2020-D system so they could conduct two simultaneous tours – each at different intervals and on different frequencies.
Since integrating the Sennheiser Tourguide solution, feedback among executive management, tour participants and tour guides themselves has been resoundingly positive, as Ross explains: “First, these units are patron-friendly. Every single person who has been handed a Tourguide unit has had an easy user experience – it is so intuitive. Second, tour participants love the fact that when there are other people around them that might be distracting, they can still have a perfectly clear audio experience, and adjust the volume if they so choose.” Ross says that since the Tourguide system has been in operation, it has operated perfectly and reliably, with no drop-outs or failures.
The Sweetwater tours are an increasingly important element in the company’s overall brand presence: “When we started our tours, we were doing a couple per week – now we are doing several tours each day,” concludes Ross. “When you see a bunch of first graders standing in your performance theatre learning about computer-generated reverberation, it is very powerful because you just exposed them to something entirely new. Then they tell their parents, and the brand extension happens organically. Tourguide, and of course our ongoing relationship with Sennheiser, has helped make successful tours at our facility a reality.”
3rd August 2015
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