Earlier this year we put CityExplorer San Francisco live for Gloria Lenhart. One of the first apps to use the new platform, Gloria also funded her app using Kickstarter. We had the opportunity to catch up with Gloria in San Francisco and take a walk around the Mission Murals walk. We also chatted with her about the experience of making her app.

What made you decide to make a tour app?

As a tour guide in San Francisco, I know a lot about the history of our neighborhoods and what’s happening in them right now. I have fun sharing stories and tips with the travelers and locals on my tours. But with the City Explorer San Francisco app, I can make the tours available to more people. Plus, the app lets people take a private tour when they want to rather than having to meet up with a group.

Why San Francisco?

San Francisco offers so many interesting places to explore. We have historic buildings mixed in with innovative modern architecture. San Francisco is one of the leading cities for street art in the world and we also have a large collection of public art. There’s a lot of history, from the Gold Rush days on the Barbary Coast to the Summer of Love in Haight Asbury to the tech revolution that happening right now. We also have some of the most recognized landmarks in the world. I can provide an insiders view since all of this is right in my backyard.

It was pretty brave to use a Kickstarter campaign to fund your app — when did you realise this was the best way to go?

I used Kickstarter to raise money but also to raise awareness of the project. I was surprised and pleased at the amount of support it got. I exceeded my goal amount, which was great because a portion of the proceeds from the app go to a local non-profit, 826 Valencia, which provides tutoring and writing programs for kids in under-resourced schools throughout city.

What made you choose My Tours?

I was so lucky to find My Tours. I could not have produced the app without them. I’m a tour guide not a tech person, and My Tours gave me an easy, affordable way to leverage their technical expertise to present my information on a variety of platfroms. It’s an affordable way to have a professionally-produced app without the worry of large cost overruns.

How did you find setting up your app — audio, writing, photos etc. Any tips?

It is extremely easy and intuitive to load my information into the My Tours templates and have the app look professional. One tip I have is to not finalize the text until after you record the audio – I always make changes after I’ve heard it.

One big advantage to using My Tours is that you won’t have to worry about getting your app accepted by iTunes or Google Play. I’ve heard other developers complain about delays going back and forth on specs and requirements, but with My Tours the City Explorer San Francisco app was accepted immediately and went up quickly and effortlessly.

What was your favourite part of the process — getting to go on your own tours perhaps?

My favorite part is the look on people’s faces when I tell them that I launched an app! However, if enough tours are downloaded so that I can write a substantial check to support 826 Valencia’s programs for kids, then that will be my favorite part.

What’s next for City Explorer?

There are seven tours on the app now, and I plan to have a dozen tours in all by the end of this year. After that I may develop a few limited-time or seasonal experiences – like Spring in Golden Gate Park. I’d also like to experiment with longer hikes. My Tours is a great platform that supports many different kinds of tours so there are no limits.

Heading to SF soon, or keen to have a play on Gloria’s app? Download it here.

Any further questions for Gloria, or keen for your app to be showcased next? Email us here.

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