Digital Innovation: Mobile Engagement Maps at Botanical Garden Events
Where can you have supper with Santa, eat warm s’mores, drink a “Merry Manhattan Whiskey” and watch a Victorian-style toy train show while strolling through one million enchanting winter lights?
Missouri Botanical Garden’s annual Garden Glow.
For the past seven years, the Missouri Botanical Garden has hosted this unbelievable holiday event which in 2019 brought in over 139,000 guests and raised more than $1.8 million in revenue.
With experiences located throughout this spacious, nighttime event, site maps were needed, but paper was not ideal. That’s why Missouri Botanical Garden turned to Engage by Cell’s GPS Mapper. This mobile wayfinding tool not only helps visitors navigate using their mobile phones, but also provides fun, interactive experiences.
To use Engage by Cell’s GPS Mapper, we place a venue’s printed map on top of a Google map. A visitor’s location appears on the map as a blue navigation dot. Then, interactive pins are placed on points of interest so visitors can click and learn. The map is accessed via text message and requires no downloads.
Morgan Maul-Smith, Supervisor of Digital Engagement at Missouri Botanical Garden, explains the GPS Mapper this way:
“Our communications department created a print-variety overlay and we made it interactive. Each of the points, as you hover over it, explains what that stop is. It makes it really easy. Glow was an event that was hosted at night. The digital map was basically more accessible than a regular paper map because if you're outside in the dark, you can't see anything.”
After the success of last year’s Garden Glow, Missouri Botanical Garden used the GPS Mapper once again for another special event, Tiki in the Tropics. With a simple switch of the map overlay, visitors could once again text into the platform and access the map by clicking a link. Held in the garden’s Climatron, the Tiki in the Tropics GPS Mapper combined an educational element and a game. Visitors could click on pineapple cocktail icons in the map to learn more about the garden’s tropical plants and participate in a scavenger hunt.
“GPS Mapper added an educational element to something that was a social event, which as an interpretive team and as an educational institution, that's always our goal. We want that extra piece,”
Fingers crossed, Missouri Botanical Garden will host another Garden Glow during the upcoming 2020 holiday season. Because of COVID-19, new health and safety measures have been put in place for social distancing as well as hand sanitizing stations and mask requirements. The GPS Mapper helps with safe traffic flow as it guides visitors through the venue in a one-way direction.
Maul-Smith shares this review of GPS Mapper:
“It’s a time investment on the front end, but in the long run that allows for a lot of opportunity. Once you've built a few, you can copy and create new things. Once the maps are created, you can turn them off and turn them back on again. It allows for instant changes which we can’t do in print material.”
Have questions about the GPS Mapper?
Contact a Engage by Cell mobile solutions consultant today!