Today on Hawaii’s Best I’m chatting with Andrew Fowers of Shaka Guide – location-based tours that use GPS to guide you to exciting places along the way. Automatic audio tours with turn-by-turn directions mean all you need to do is to turn on the app and drive. Andrew Fowers is a co-founder and CEO; he has been working hard on the company for over ten years now. Andrew was a student at BYU – Hawaii; he worked as a tour guide and would see two types of customers: the one with a tour guide, and then everyone else wandering around Oahu.
As a junior in college, Andrew decided he would solve the problem by making an audio CD. After buying hundreds of CDs, they went nowhere. Eventually, Andrew came across technology to connect GPS with audio; he remade the tour with this technology. He sold this concept to all seven car rental companies on the island. The technology died out, so they went ahead and developed an app to create the same experience. At first, they didn’t get a lot of downloads. However, they stuck with it because they believe people want the freedom to explore Hawaii alone with all the benefits of a tour guide.
Shaka Guide is a location-based audio guide. It is a new form of media experience that connects immersive audio with places. Think of it like a podcast that plays specific stories based on your location. The days of spending money on an expensive tour guide are over. You’ll get all the benefits of a tour, without the pricey guide. Currently, they have twenty-one tours on four different islands. Andrew is proud his app is reshaping the way people see Hawaii.
Andrew got his entrepreneurial spirit from his father and wife. Andrew’s dad was an entrepreneur with sales experience. Andrew’s wife readily to jumped on board and continually supported his dreams. They had to work for many years before they saw a glimmer of hope. Andrew went to college to be a CPA, so he ran his business on the side. At one point, Andrew knew he needed to make a decision; either grow his business or drop everything and be an auditor. Once Andrew and his wife decided to grow their business, it took them three years before they ever got a paycheck.
Andrew says, do not go to Oahu first; he lives on Oahu, and it’s getting more crowded. The number one thing to do on Oahu is visit the art district; it has hundreds of walls filled with street art. Not a lot of people are going to the Big Island; however, it has a lot to offer and is less crowded. North Island Jungle Adventure is Andrew’s favorite Big Island Shaka Guide tour.
During this episode, learn more about Andrew, Shaka Guide, and all that Hawaii has to offer!
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In This Episode
- What is Shaka Guide? [0:11]
- How it all started [1:10]
- Where Andrew’s entrepreneurial drive came from [6:50]
- What contributes to the success of Shaka Guide [10:25]
- Who records the audio tours? [13:30]
- Things you have to do in Hawaii [14:10]
- Who is doing the research? [17:15]
- Etiquette in Hawaii [19:40]
- The future of Shaka Guide [21:10]
- Andrew’s top three favorite apps [23:15]
- Andrew Fowers LinkedIn
- Shaka Guide Website
- Shaka Guide Facebook
- Shaka Guide Instagram
- Shaka Guide App
- Shaka Guide Twitter
- Hawaii’s Best Instagram
- Hawaii’s Best Podcast
- Bumper music, Ukulele and Chill, provided by Coby G
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I love listening to your Podcast. My wife and I spent time on the islands last year and loved the entire experience. So much nicer than our native Massachusetts.
So great to hear you’re loving the podcast, Mark. Mahalo for leaving a review and rating on iTunes!