Looking to take a ghost tour of Williamsburg, Key West, New Orleans or Gettysburg this Halloween? Lance Zaal’s company has an app for that.
Zaal’s techy idea – flared with a little spook – is called iTourMobile. It’s an interactive GPS guided audio-tour program for Apple and Android devices. So far, seven ghostly expeditions are available in cities across the U.S., including Savannah, Ga.; Portland, Ore.; and Akron, Ohio.
“iTourMobile will provide people with a new, interactive experience whenever they want,” said Zaal. “Anybody can download the app at any time and take the tour of their choice whenever it’s convenient for them.”
Zaal, who recently graduated from William & Mary with a master’s in business administration, developed the business after taking home top honors at a business competition last spring.
The competition, hosted by the Mason School of Business and Alan B. Miller Entrepreneurship Center, was for would-be-entrepreneurs to simulate the real-world process of obtaining funds from “angel” investors and venture capitalists. Thirty-six teams submitted projects for the competition. The entry headed by Zaal placed first.
The mobile ghost tour of Williamsburg features about 50 minutes of professionally voiced audio on more than 25 locations throughout William & Mary and the colonial area. Four buildings from the campus are on the circuit: the Brafferton, the College’s second-oldest building; the President’s House, historically documented as headquarters for French troops during the Revolutionary War; the Wren Building and Tucker Hall. Tyler Garden is also included to show visitors the surprise echo spot.
“With iTourMobile, users will be able to access the location of the buildings, along with directions on where to start the tour and current weather forecasts,” said Zaal.
In addition to all things ghostly, Zaal’s company is launching movie tours. These virtual expeditions go behind the scenes of cities and places where blockbuster movies were filmed. His first two test locations are the London of Harry Potter and the Chicago where the Dark Knight battled the Joker and other villains.
Zaal said iTourMobile is already working with a tour company in New Orleans and they hope to develop more partnerships with tourism organizations.
For now, the app will put new spooks in old places – all at the touch of a button.