Questo: winner at Phocuswright Battleground 2019

Alex Govoreanu, wins award for Questo at Phocuswright Europe 2019

May 16th – Bucharest, Romania

Questo, the city exploration mobile game has won the People’s Choice Award at Phocuswright Europe, one of the biggest travel conferences in the world held in Amsterdam on 15-16th of May 2019. The votes were cast by an audience of savvy travel executives and investors who chose the best startup in the Phocuswright Battleground competition out of the top 8 most innovative travel startups in EMEA.

Here is the pitch that led to the award:

“We were delighted to feature a diverse set of innovators on stage bringing fresh solutions to the travel industry. We look forward to seeing them thrive and shape the future of the travel industry,” said Phocuswright’s manager, research and innovation, Michael Coletta.

Questo, the innovative travel startup, wins award at Phocuswright Europe

Questo is currently present in 40 European cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome or Berlin. The city exploration game helps tourists explore cities by solving clues in order to discover new places and stories about them. Each route (quest) they explore is based on a specific theme, which can be inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a local legend.

In London, for instance, travelers can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris they can play as Hemingway or Picasso.

“This award represents an important recognition for Questo and offers a strong signal about how tours and activities will be disrupted by technology and gamification,” said Alex Govoreanu, CEO of Questo.

We have received significant interest from top tour operators and travel agencies in Europe that will help us market our game to tourists traveling around Europe. Because we are disrupting the $160+ Billion global market for tours and activities, we attracted the attention of several high-level investors as we are about to launch a funding round this summer that will help us boost our growth globally.” Govoreanu added.

So far, more than 40,000 people finished a quest while walking more than 100.000 kilometers to discover popular and hidden locations, as well as local stories using Questo. As of today, the app has over 100 available quests created by a growing network of local content creators. They can be purchased inside the Questo iOS and Android apps, on TripAdvisor, on GetYourGuide and Booking.com, for prices ranging from 8 to 30 Euro. Questo is also a previous winner of the Booking.com Booster Lab 2018 in Tel Aviv.

The company also works with brands such as Samsung or Bitdefender, tourism agencies and other companies to create custom quests that offer a unique travel experience for their customers and employees.

Resources

Website / iOS_app / Android_app

Press Kit: Logo / Team_photos / Screenshots

Announcement of Phocuswright Battleground winners here

How Can You Make Money Writing Quests in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam Storytellers

If you’re a hobbyist writer, a content writer, a copywriter, a blogger or a passionate storyteller from Amsterdam, here’s how you can earn more money from writing while doing what you love.

That’s if you love travel and games. But who doesn’t?

We’re introducing a new kind of content generation that can earn you short and long-term income. It involves writing fictional or real stories about your favourite places in Amsterdam.

These stories will earn you an initial guaranteed payment upon completion and, here’s the best part, future income from the future use of the content.

Think stock-images-type licenses, but for stories.

If you’re looking for a break from writing blog posts, articles, product descriptions, reviews or tiresome brand content, come and use your imagination for something new, and make money while at it.

How to earn money from quest writing

Amsterdam and its people have amazing stories that few people know. Even though they walked by or visited them in the past.

Questo is a city exploration game which reveals these stories while playing around.

By following clues and solving challenges, you get to discover old and new places in town, indoor or outdoor, and get rewarded with their hidden or unknown stories.

All these are wrapped in a new content form called a quest, a mission of discovery.

Take for example the Medusa’s Lost Diamonds quest, which was just published in Amsterdam. If you wanna play this quest before starting to write one, just write us and we’ll offer you a free access code.

Now, you can write quests too, while also making money. These quests are sold to locals and travelers. and you’ll receive a percentage of the earnings, besides the initial guaranteed payment after you finish it.

How to write a quest

If you have some interesting places from Amsterdam in mind, and know where you can find stories about them, you’re half way there already.

Also, if you want your quest to be 100% fictional, you can make up your own stories and just connect them with existent places in the city (indoor or outdoor).

STEP 1: Theme/concept writing

What you need to think of first is a concept/a theme. This is the central piece of your quest, and you must follow it from beginning to end. This concept can revolve around a character, which the explorer plays as.

A quest concept can be ‘The haunted city’, where you’re a ghost hunter trying to find a spirit by visiting all the haunted places in town.

Another one can be ‘Find the treasure’, where you’re an adventurer trying to get rich fast while scorching through the city in search of a treasure.

You can be a time traveller that landed inside a museum and now has to find a secret artefact that he has to return home.

Or you can be a detective who’s looking to find a robber by following clues left behind.

The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

STEP 2: Discovering locations and writing clues

After choosing a concept, you have to pick out fitting locations.

If you’re doing a ‘ghosts and spirits’ concept, you’re looking for haunted houses and creepy alleys. If you’re thinking of a ‘treasure hunt’, you can choose really old buildings which can hide such riches. You get the idea.

These locations should be reached by following directional clues that end with a question or a riddle.

You will receive a Complete Creators Guide that walks you through the entire content writing process, step-by-step.

STEP 3: Writing stories

You have the concept, you know the locations, and you prepared the clues. Now, it’s time for writing stories.

They can be real or fictional. The real ones can be about the history of the building, the life stories of people who lived or still live there or about interesting event that happened there.

When it comes to writing the fictional ones, the road is clear. But keep in mind that you need to write a concept and stories that can make you money, so they must be appealing to the public: popular or intriguing subjects/themes. Remember to write with that in mind.

The platform:

During these steps, you are helped by an online platform where you are guided step-by-step and where you can save everything you write and research.

It’s called Creators Room and here’s where you can talk to the Questo team and other creators like you, to share thoughts and ideas, or just ask for feedback.

Writing a quest that makes you money

The most important attribute of the quest you write is the concept/theme.

As long as you attract the people with an intriguing subject, they will want to do your quest, and maybe even more created by you (your name or alias will be displayed in the app).

Closely connected to the concept/theme you write about is the location. If you attach a ‘detective penguin’ concept to a natural history museum, it’s more appealing.

If you want to write scary stories, you need to take people around old, abandoned buildings, and weird little roads.

And then there’s the story writing.

Your concept should translate into memorable stories, which make people say ‘I can’t believe this happened here’ or ‘It’s amazing what people used to do then’.

Keep these in mind and your quest will make you money long-term.

How much can you earn from writing a quest

For every quest you publish in the app you’ll an initial payment plus a future shared commission for each transaction (the quest will remain in the app indefinitely). For learning more about the payment, please write us at storyteller (at) questoapp.com

Your total earnings depend on the interest your concept attracts and the quest’s location. For more details about earnings, contact the Questo team at ‘explore at questoapp .com’.

Questo is available in 40 cities in Europe and soon all around the world

The app is now launched in 9 European countries, but is growing fast as it has creators from all the world working on publishing new quests.

In March, Questo won 3rd Product of the Day on Product Hunt and in 2018 it was awarded by Booking.com for the social impact it creates and it was named Best Travel App at eTravel Awards.

Where to start?

If you already have a quest in mind that you want to write, contact us at ‘storyteller (at) questoapp .com’ and we’ll get started.

Questo raises angel round to transform 100 cities into games

Questo team

Press release: Questo, a mobile city exploration game present in 40 European cities has secured a seed round of funding from 2 private angel investors. The money raises the valuation of the business at more than $1.5 million and will be used for fueling the expansion in some of the largest cities in the world: London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona and more.

Questo helps users to explore cities by solving clues in order to discover new places and stories about them. Each route (quest) they explore is based on a specific theme, which can be inspired by a movie, a book, a historical fact or just a legend. In London, for instance, users can explore the city as Sherlock Holmes or Isaac Newton, while in Paris they can play as Hemingway or Picasso.

We aim to disrupt the +$120 billion market of tours and activities by offering travelers and locals a new fun way to explore a city through technology“, said Alex Govoreanu, CEO of Questo. “Our mobile app is at the crossroads of guided/walking tours and real-world games, such as Pokemon Go, and that makes it perfect for millennials and generation Zs, who are looking for fun, unique and authentic experiences“. Questo is also a previous winner of the Booking.com Booster Lab 2018 in Tel Aviv.

Last year, 35,000 people finished a quest while walking more than 100.000 kilometers to discover popular and hidden locations, as well as local stories. As of today, the app has over 100 available quests created by a growing network of local content creators. They can be purchased inside the Questo iOS and Android apps, on TripAdvisor and on GetYourGuide, for prices ranging from 8 to 20 Euro.

Questo offers players the freedom to explore cities at their own pace and on their own terms. They can start and pause the game whenever they want to spend more time visiting an attraction they love, stop to eat at a local restaurant or just take a break. Also, our players appreciate the joy of exploring a city with a group of friends, instead of a having to join a group of 20–30 strangers during a classic guided tour“, Govoreanu added.

The company also works with brands such as Samsung or Bitdefender, tourism agencies and other companies to create custom quests that offer a unique travel experience for their customers and employees.

Resources

iOS_app / Android_app

Press Kit: Logo / Team_photos / Screenshots

Creators of Questo: Cosmin wrote The Haunted Iasi quest

Questo creator - Ceuca Cosmin

On the Halloween night of 2018, we launched ‘Haunted City’ quests in several cities around Europe, helped by Questo creators.

People were able to discover haunted and cursed locations in their towns, while reading horror stories about those places and the people who used to live there. Approximately 15,000 people showed up and haunted the streets. After the launching event, the quest is still available in the app, anyone can complete it at any time.

Cosmin Ceuca is one of the creators who wrote one such quest, which was completed by over 5,000 people only that night.

These are Cosmin’s thoughts on being a creator:


What do you do for a living now? Do you have any experience with writing?

I graduated from Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iasi, with a Master’s degree in geography. I am currently working in the field of urban development, but during my free time I am part of an informal group promoting Iaşi as a tourist destination – Iasi.Travel. Within this group I helped write texts for a city guide to Iasi, Romania – “Iasi, Seven Thematic Touristic Routes. Urban Exploration Manual”, but we have also done city tours for Romanian or foreign guests.


What did you like the most about the concept of Questo?

Questo combines the idea of treasure hunting with technology and thus manages to attract a target group that can hardly be impressed by history, architecture or art. With the help of Questo, many young people were able to take their eyes off of their phones, to observe details they would not otherwise see, and find stories otherwise hidden in books, which are not so interesting for them in these times.

How did you decide to become a Questo creator?

I really liked the idea of treasure hunting ever since I was a student and I was doing such paper clues games for the exchange students who were sharing experiences in Iaşi or for friends. I saw that a quest had been done in Iasi and I wanted to participate in the promotion of the city through this type of game. In addition, following a conference held in Iasi, I talked to Claudiu, who had presented the Questo project and so I decided to start making some new quests.


How much did it take you to write a quest?

3-4 days, including researching locations and adapting the stories to make them more appealing.

What was the most interesting part of the process of writing your quest?

I was happy that I was able to find interesting stories that I didn’t even knew about before I started scrambling through books and articles.


What did you find the most difficult in writing the quest? Would you do something different if you started again now?

The hardest was to keep the stories short and punchy. I think I prefer to break the complicated stories in more small stories and create more quests, rather than to pour all the information in just one quest. In other situations, it was hard to find suitable clues: not to be indoors, to be seen at all times of the day, not to be ephemeral, etc.


Why would people go on your quest?

I believe the ‘Haunted Iași’ event was a great success. I did not expect to see a few thousand people wanting to read horror stories about Iasi. Listening to the participants at the end of the route, I came to the conclusion that this quest is easy to do (as distance) and has a lot of unknown information about places you pass by every day, but know nothing about. And when you do the quest at night, the stories gain even more mystery.


How many quests of yours were sold on the night of the Haunted City event?

According to the data we received, there were over 1,000 buyers of the Haunted Iasi quest. Being there that night, I do not think there were groups of less than 3 people, the majority being 4 or 5 people on a phone. That’s why I think there were about 5,000 people who blocked the streets of Iaşi that evening.

What are your thoughts on the event overall? Do you have any stories from there?

The event had a spectacular evolution on Facebook. It reached over 350,000 people, of whom almost 9,000 responded with “Interested” and 2,400 with “Going”. I’m glad I chose a starting point that wasn’t in front of a state institution, otherwise I certainly had to give explanations to the Police. I got a little scared when I got to the start. I did not expect to find so many people out there. So I climbed the stairs of the theatre and turned on a flashlight. In an instant, the whole crowd started to come to me.

I felt like I was in the middle of a zombie attack. On the way to the first clue, the participants managed to block traffic on 2 streets, the drivers were not pleased.

Some places have not had so many visitors since they’ve been built. I also loved that some of the participants were dressed in Halloween costumes.

What types of people could write quests?

First of all, they must be passionate about that city, its history or the subject it addresses in the quest. I think those who write quests should have a highly developed information synthesis capacity, if we talk about historical information, and rich creativity, if they plan on creating fantasy quests.

What suggestions and pieces of advice do you have for future creators?

It’s important to know the city, to know its shortcuts and more obscure places. You can not just do a quest from the front of your computer. Stories must be attractive, without too many unnecessary details that readers will forget. The uniqueness element of each checkpoint on the route is very important, the idea or detail that will be remembered. The clues that the participants must find should be very visible in the area, but hard to notice even by locals who pass by that place every day. For example, the question should not be “what statue is in Union Square?”, but “what date is written on the back of the statue?” This way you can avoid people solving the clues from home.


Where do you dream/plan to write a quest next?

I plan on writing more quests in Iasi. If I were to name another city, I think I could write a quest in Brussels, one of my favourite cities.


Do you have anything else to add about being a Questo creator?

Once you write a quest, I do not think you can stop. I, for example, always have ideas for new quests. Time is what I need. I am glad to be part of the group of people who manage to carry on the sometimes forgotten stories of the city, rewritten for young people. I hope that by promoting interesting places we can also help pull them out of anonymity and support their conservation. The cities are alive and full of stories. We only have to gather and then deliver them in an attractive format that city explorers can enjoy.

 

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If you want to create a quest too, please contact us at explore@questoapp.com and we’ll help you with everything you need.
Also, here’s an article that you might find interesting about how to be a Questo creator.

Play Your City a Visit!

Creators of Questo: Nicoleta wrote The Haunted Cluj quest

Questo creator - Nicoleta Dan

On the Halloween night of 2018, we launched ‘Haunted City’ quests in several cities around Europe, helped by Questo creators.

People were able to discover haunted and cursed locations in their towns, while reading horror stories about those places and the people who used to live there. Approximately 15,000 people showed up and haunted the streets. After the launching event, the quest remained available in the app, and anyone can complete it at anytime.

Nicoleta is one of the creators who wrote one such quest, which was completed by over 4,000 people only that night.

These are Nicoleta’s thoughts on being a creator:


What do you do for a living now? Do you have any experience with writing?

I’ve been a copywriter for over two and a half years now, but I’ve always been passionate about creative writing. I wrote poetry for a while, and now I have two books I’m working on in my spare time. One of them will be launched next year.


What did you like most about the concept of Questo?

I loved the fact that you have to pay attention to where you’re going. You have to be aware of your surroundings. Too often, we’re caught in our thoughts and we’re immune to what’s happening around us. To me, Questo is the ideal way to combine technology with awareness, to say “STOP” to your inner string of thoughts and paying attention to what is happening outside. I could say it’s just a form of meditation. 🙂

 

How did you decide to become a Questo creator?

Others decided on my behalf 🙂 The idea crossed my way thanks to a friend who knew I liked to create stories and who put me in contact with the Questo team. I accepted the challenge because I really liked the idea behind the application, through which you can discover the city by solving riddles.

 

What was the most interesting part of the process of writing your quest?

The fact that the clues I had to choose were versatile. It could happen anytime for a clue I inserted in the plot to be covered up over night or just be hard to notice by explorers when we launch. That came with a dose of adrenaline there 🙂 And we did stumble upon something unexpected.

Just the day before the official launch, I was doing the last check-ups. All the clues were in their place, all of them were easy to see. When I was passing by the next day, a few hours before the event, I noticed that the clue at the ‘Executioner’s House’ was gone. It was a graffiti painted on the façade, which fell overnight… We had to change the story and adapt quickly.


What did you find the most difficult in writing the quest? Would you do something different if you started again now?

I would do several things differently. First of all, I would add more checkpoints and I would diversify the stories. I would add a few side stories that would make the main plot more intriguing, to soften the barrier between reality and fiction.


Why would people go on your quest?

To spend more time with their loved ones, to discover a few places and stories about Cluj that they may not know (many people have been impressed by the Pharmacy Museum, for example), and to reach their quota of recommended steps per day 😉

How much did it take you to write a quest?

It’s hard to estimate. It was certainly of great help that I knew the concept behind the quest from the start, and I knew how to structure my stories. I think what takes the most effort is the research and planning part.

All together, my work on this quest span across 5 days, working on it a few hours a day.


How many quests of yours were sold on the night of the Haunted City event?

Close to 900 quests, if I’m not mistaken. Each purchase was made by a group of 4-5 people on average. So there were about 4,000 people present at the event.


What are your thoughts on the event overall? Do you have any stories from there?

Overall, the event went unexpectedly well. Seeing thousands of people as they gather to start on a route that you’ve built is quite an experience.

Giving a statement to the police because the authorities had not been informed about the thousands of people who were blocking the streets is also an interesting experience hahaha. But all in all, I was impressed by the attitude of the authorities in Cluj that understood our situation and took steps to control the crowd and keep order on the streets.

I also loved the attitude of the players. Most of them understood that it was not a competition, they played fair, collaborated along the way, and simply enjoyed the game.

 

What types of people could write quests?

Anyone who is passionate about discovering things, but is also willing to share them with others.

What suggestions do you have for future creators?

First, find the theme of the quest you want to write, and only after you’ve got that, start looking for the places you want to include as checkpoints in your quest. Writing the story is the easiest thing to do, and the last one, once you have everything else figured out.


Where do you dream/plan to write a quest next?

I don’t think it’s only one place or city, I would love to tour the globe writing quests haha. Obviously, adapted to the culture of that place. Several cities that come to mind are Brasov, Turin, Warsaw (or any other Polish city), Seoul, Honolulu, Vienna, Casablanca, St. Petersburg… I have an entire list 🙂


Do you have anything else to add about being a Questo creator?

For me, writing quests is fulfilling. It’s amazing to know that a story I wrote is the reason some people enjoy themselves on a weekend afternoon or others get to discover the new city where they just moved in.

 

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If you want to create a quest too, please contact us at explore@questoapp.com and we’ll help you with everything you need.
Also, here’s an article that you might find interesting about how to be a Questo creator.

Play Your City a Visit!

Explore the Haunted Budapest quest & discover its secrets

Haunted Cover

You are invited to discover the captive souls, the spirits and the mysterious skeletons of Budapest.

Questo will guide you step-by-step to the cursed buildings where they carry out their eternal punishments, while you learn all of their stories.

Quest description:

Along the way, you’ll find the story of the spirits chained into old buildings, you’ll visit a house of vampires, you’ll meet the famous ghost boys and you will discover many other stories of the people who lived and died in those places.

Read this to find out what you have to do in order to explore the haunted places of Budapest.

  1. Download for free Questo app from Google Play / App Store.
  2. Choose the Haunted Budapest quest.
  3. Buy the quest by paying in the app with you card.

You can’t pay with cash at the starting point. You’ll pay only once (for a smartphone) and you can play together with 1,2,3 or for friends.

Go to the starting point mentioned in the app and start playing by following the clues you receive. Enjoy!