A Paranormal ghost hunting app for all ages… Bringing York’s worst kept secrets to life.
The app would run in a similar style to Pokemon Go – York is a city of 1000 ghosts so we wouldn’t be short on content. The ghosts would appear on the screen in augmented reality in the area of the user. It’d be as accurate as historically possible, both in imagery and history. There would be 2 main sections to the app:
This app would run in the background as you wandered around York. Ideal for tourists and locals alike if people just want to wander York’s old streets. Your phone would buzz with a notification when there is a ghost in your near vicinity. Open up the app and click on the icon notification – scan around your immediate vicinity and locate the ghost (a vaguely transparent figure) – it could be on the ground, up in the air or even in a shop next to you. You have to throw powder on the ghost to make it opaque and highlight it’s features etc – when you collect it into your pod, you get all the gory details about this ghost.
You can choose a ghost tour based on a specific theme – Women/famous ghosts/shop ghosts etc. This could be suitable for kids and adults and would notify the user if it’s not suitable for their age group. Eg. an Adults tours of the pub ghosts, scary pub crawl! Or for kids, a tour of the less scary and more humorous ghosts in the city. You can still collect the ghosts and would still get all the historical information too.
From a local’s perspective, this would be so much fun for nights out, or when walking through the city. It’s known as the most haunted city in the UK and we’re really proud of that. After Covid, the city has really struggled getting tourists back in and bringing up the economy so I think this app would be hugely beneficial to getting tourists into all the shops and pubs, especially if their kids wanted to go into a shop to find the ghosts.
To improve the economic benefit of the app, the stores would work in sponsorship with the app, and when certain levels are hit in the collection of the ghosts, you could get 10% off at the independent stores, pubs or restaurants.
There could be some fun and exciting add ons to the app to keep it up to date and fresh:
- pop up cat notifications – locate the famous cats of York
- Ghost fighting or Top Trumps style competition with others who have the app
- Merge the ghost – collect ghosts that pop up more than once (eg Dick Turpin) and unlock another level when all ghost are collected
- Collect the lost accessories for the ghosts – eg Guy Fawkes lost hat
- Update it with new sightings – eg if you can accurately describe the ghost you saw and the location it will be uploaded and created. Could also include new archaeological digs or new finds which happens a lot in York.
This week I am intending on interviewing a lot of locals and tourists to see if this is something that would be used, any amendments or changes they would make and if they would download it.
I intend to create an app storyboard with an example drawn out, a digital storyboard to pitch for the app. I would also speak to local shop owners if this would be something they’d consider being a part of, which local partners could I begin this with.
I’d also want to consider the production costs and development of this app – I have a number of friends in Computing Degrees so it could become a reality if it’s deemed a good idea.
I also want to speak to the council (I have a contact there) and see if we could amalgamate this with other ghost tours in the City and the Ghost Bus Tour.
*Are you visiting York as tourists or do you live here? 48% locals, 52% tourists
*If tourists, what made you choose York and who are you here with? Love this city, been 5 times before, Covid staycations, easy to get to, historic and fun for kids
*T – if family, proceed with questions – if group of friends/hen do etc: would you ever consider a ghost pub crawl of York? 1 hen do group : would love to do a haunted pub crawl and apps are getting more important now for hen dos, no paper or tour books etc!!
*T – What, if any, tourism activities have you been doing? Minster (80%), Red boats (30%), boat tour (40%), ghost walk (35%), shopping and eating out (100%). Misc others eg Shambles, Harry Potter etc (10%)
*T – Have you been on a ghost tour in York? 60% yes (either recently or in the past), 40% no
*T – If so, what did you learn from the tour, was it good value for money and was the duration as advertised? Would you do one again? History of York, so many ghost stories, fun atmosphere.
80% said duration wasn’t as advertised but they didn’t complain.
40% good value for money, 50% not good value for money, 10% didn’t have an opinion on price vs value.
88% commented on the rain during the tour and making it less enjoyable.
52% said the actor was fun but couldn’t hear everything they were saying.
One family had a child who was disabled and not all of the tour was disability friendly so this is something that put them off doing it again.
92% said they would do a tour again but for a lower price and perhaps more variety.
*T – If not, would you consider a ghost tour and what would (or has) put you off? 100% would do one.
30% if they could choose how funny or scary it would be. 40% put off by cost of the tours and the other expense in York. 90% put off by timing – always around 7.30/8pm to get maximum scare factor but not convenient with kids or dinner reservations.
*T – Do you think you’d consider a Ghost hunting app to do whilst you wandered around York or would you want specific tours? 98% yes – majority mentioned it’d keep the children busy during more boring parts of the city or if the parents wanted to go into specific shops. The AR factor was a big hit, 100% saying they’d definitely love to see that on their phones.
*T – The average Ghost Tour in York is £9.33 – what would you consider paying for an app for York ghost hunting or would you want to download it for free? 75% would pay a small one off fee for the app. 25% wouldn’t want to pay. 100% said if it was cheaper than the actual tours they would consider it.
*T – if for free, would you expect limitations? If paying for it, would you expect local offers too? Assume there’d be upgrades to pay for or pop up adverts. 100% said they’d be ok with adverts if they were local independent store advertisements or offers etc. All said they wouldn’t want the ads to be constantly on screen, but the occasional pop up would be ok.
*T – What would make you go for the app instead of the tour? Available to do anytime, get to explore more of the city and the more unknown places. AR factor 100% agreed this would sway them and the collection aspect would make it exciting. 100% agreed their children would want the app.
*T – finally, would an app like this make you return to York? 100% yes, if they got some offers with the app and it was free to download, would also encourage them to collect more and explore more parts of the City on other occasions.
*If locals, why did you come into the city today and who are you with? 60% family, 40% couples
*L – Have you ever done a ghost tour – if not, why not? Family: 70% yes. Couples: 20% yes. Not because of cost, tourist things are too expensive in this city, the groups are always full of annoying tourists and we already know all about the City.
*L – Do you know much about the ghosts in the city? Would you want to learn more? 90% didn’t know York was home to 1000 ghosts, always assumed just the most obvious places. 70% would definitely want to know more about the ghosts in York and the different secret places.
*L – Would you consider using an app to collect the ghosts around the city and learn more about this lovely place? 90% yes – would be so much fun and something new to do in the City. 100% of families would have this and would keep it on their phone for their children when it rains or they’re bored.
*L – if not, what would be holding you back? If yes, would you want to pay for this app (why not etc)? 10% no’s – wouldn’t want something else on my phone, not that enthused about ghosts or learning more about the city.
Yes – 100% wouldn’t want to pay. If could prove York citizens could they get it for free?
*L – what would you want to get out of this app, as well as learning about the city? 100% said offers locally, maybe a push on the independent stores and they all agreed it’d be great to get tourists and locals to explore new places around the city that aren’t always on the list of things to see.
Discussion with local stores – a total of 30 stores:
*Are you an independent shop, if so, what does this city need to help you more? 90% independent, 10% national
*Would you consider partnering with an app that would advertise your products for a small fee? Providing offers to locals and tourists to drive more customers through your doors? 80% said they would consider the fee. (10% made up of the larger stores, unable to make that decision and wouldn’t want to be involved without discussing it with H.O.). 100% agreed something that advertised their business and an introductory offer to tourists and locals is exactly what’s needed right now.
*Would you consider letting us use your shop space for an AR ghost if there was one in the area? If so, why? 100% yes – either external or internal would be encouraged. Would be great for sales but would have to consider size of shops and potentially kids walking round searching on a phone etc. Logistics of internal?
*Do you think you’d be happy advertising the app in your store if the app also promoted you? 100% said a sticker in the window (similar to York Gift Card etc.)
*What would put you off getting involved in something like this? 100% price – if the fee was too high. 30% people just coming in to find the ghost – but more foot traffic is beneficial anyway.
Discussion with the independents was fantastic – all were very much on board. I only managed to speak to 5 local pubs/bars and all thought it would be a good idea and would drive up their business especially if they had a ghost. Also would want to be part of the pub or bar crawl but could we push promotion to couples and not so much on stag/hen dos?
100% of bars, pubs and stores would happily advertise in store and on their social media sites.