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Smartphone & Tablet Treasure Hunts
Interactive games of tactics and fun
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Hi-tech Hunts: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions we are asked most frequently. As every hi-tech treasure hunt is unique and designed around your needs, the answers are intended as a general guide only. When we work closely with you to agree a specification for your event, we revisit these questions, and more, so you get the event you want.

Click any numbered bar below to reveal more details.

1.  What exactly is a Hi-tech Treasure  Hunt?

A Hi-tech Treasure Hunt is a state-of-the-art, paperless, problem-solving challenge where teams use smartphones or tablets throughout.

Clues (or missions) are provided as you might expect, but that is probably the only similarity with other treasure hunts you may have experienced.

The nature of the missions requires teams to make decisions as to how they will tackle the challenges set. Missions are delivered to the smartphones (or tablets) held by team members and they submit photographic proof on their smartphones (or tablets) as each mission is completed.

Everything is cleverly integrated and web-based - with a single touch of your mobile device you're done and on to your next mission! No digital cameras needed, no clumsy interfaces or emails needed to send proof. It's unique, fast and efficient - after all it's your day and we want you to get the most out of it.

Real-time leaderboards and the ability to sneek a cunning peek at opponents' answers add a unique twist, plus there are a few other cunning twists and turns along the way that make the experience unique, valuable and memorable for participants. But why spoil things by listing them here!


2.  How many mobile devices do I need and what type?

Hi-tech treasure hunts run on Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets. This includes iPhone, iPad and tablets and smartphones from Samsung, Sony, HTC and Google for example - so chances are your group will have several suitable mobile devices between them already.

An Apple device with operating system 8 or higher (usually iPhone5 or later), or an Android device with operating system 4.1 or later is what you need. Tablets will need SIM cards to access the 3G/4G mobile data network.

Each team needs at least one device, but you can have as many devices per team as you like, and these can be a mix of any type. We charge per team not per device, so the more devices the merrier!

To keep things fair between teams, it's good to have the same number of devices per team if you can.

If you don't have suitable mobile devices then please ask us about hiring.

3.  Who can go on a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt?

Any corporate or private group that's looking for a fun high-tech team building experience.

Private events range from birthday parties and anniversary celebrations to social get-togethers, school reunions, hen & stag parties and charity fundraising events or any situtation where there is a group of people.

The typical businesses that use our services value and invest in their own people, understand the worth of good relationships with customers and suppliers or need to motivate and manage teams of staff. They are often looking for something innovative and new.

Just some of the typical business scenarios where the treasure hunt can be applied:

  • Celebrate your team's success
  • Organisational change, such as separate teams being merged or team with a new manager
  • Build trust with a new client to do business
  • Team needing to develop new skills or improve existing ones
  • Team needing a break between demanding periods of work
  • Newly formed project team
  • Change direction of an established team
  • Recover from a service failure with a key customer or supplier
  • Team 'stuck' and unable to resolve either work or relationship problems
  • Reward sustained periods of good work
  • As part of a visit to a UK or European office, plant, manufacturer, retailer or service provider
  • As part of training or an educational visit
  • Time out for delegates at a meeting, conference, exhibition or trade fair
  • Team seeking to mix business and pleasure
  • Tackling a business problem off-site
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Team building events where a company has multiple sites and the logistics make it difficult to physically get everyone together


4.  Whereabouts do Hi-tech Treasure Hunts take place?

Anywhere that smartphones or SIM-enabled tablets can get a 3G or 4G data signal! These days that's almost everywhere.

For added convenience Hi-tech Treasure Hunts can start and/or end at your office or place of work, hotel, conference centre, meeting venue, home, restaurant or bar.

Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Vienna, Amsterdam and Rome are favourite European locations, while London, Oxford, Windsor, Bath and Edinburgh are among popular treasure hunt venues in the UK - although events can take place in hotel grounds, university campuses, in open spaces or indoors.

While hi-tech treasure hunts in a single location are more common, hi-tech treasure hunts can also take place ACROSS multiple locations. This is great for distributed teams who want an event that they can share but who can't justify the expense of physically getting everyone together. This truly is the next generation of treasure hunts where social, political, cultural and geographical boundaries no longer exist thanks to mobile digital technology!

5.  How many people can go on a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt?

There is no limit on group size or team size. We find that teams no larger than 5 people is the optimum to ensure everyone can contribute fully.

A typical event may have 8-60 people taking part, though the format of the event and the technology behind it mean that much larger groups can be catered for much better than many other types of team building activity.

6.  How are the teams decided?

Normally you decide, as you know your group best.

You may wish to use existing teams at work, mix up existing teams, put specific people together or keep them apart or choose teams at random.

if required, we would be happy to consider conducting a behavioural analysis of individuals using MBTI® or Belbin® for example to help with team selection if you so wish. Or we can simply just draw names out of a hat.

7.  How long does a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt typically last?

It's up to you, but we find that around 2-3 hours is about right for the treasure hunt itself depending on the venue and any other plans you may have.

Wrapping up the event with the answers and results typically takes under 30 minutes thanks to our experienced faciltators and the unique technology behind hi-tech treasure hunts. On this basis you could envisage an event lasting 3-4 hours once briefing at the start and a comfort break when teams return are added in.

Obviously this is just a guide of what's typical - we have experience in running 1 hour and full-day treasure hunts too, making them particularly suitable as after-work and awayday activities respectively.

8.  How do we get around during a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt?

Again it's up to you. Foot is most common. Public transport can be used in cities with good rail, bus, tram or underground networks and depending on the extent of the area the treasure hunt covers. Bicycle is an option, particularly in places like London where there is an extensive bike hire scheme.

Some clues may require a particular type of transport to be used!

Treasure hunts in more remote locations may require the use of cars, bikes or even boats. Themed treasure hunts using black taxis, vintage double decker buses or inflatable high speed RIB boats are also possible in certain locations.

9.  What will we see on our treasure hunt?

Obviously, this depends on the location, what (if anything) you've specified to be included on the hunt and how well (or badly!) you do the treasure hunt. If you leave the choice to us we aim to ensure that participants get a good mix of things to see and do both on and the beaten track.

There are often a host of monuments, back alleys, churches, famous former residences, markets, palaces, green spaces and quirky sights just waiting for you to discover.

10.  Do we need a map or a guide book?

The beauty of the smartphone or tablet is that it provides GPS, and makes maps and a massive range of information available without the need for paper. X Marks The Spot can provide additional materials if required.

11. What skills do participants need to take part and what do we get out of it?

All you need is an an open mind. You may emerge with other skills you never knew you had!

Naturally it helps if at least one person in your team has a sense of direction! It's also useful if there's an existing smartphone/tablet user, but this is not essential. The app is intuitive and easy to use.

Fun, games and technology aside, our focus is to ensure your enjoyment, give you the opportunity to strengthen personal relationships and for corporate groups to help you build stronger teams that add greater value when you return to work.

12. What level of physical fitness will I need to take part?

Differing levels of physical fitness amongst participants is acknowledged and so the treasure hunt is designed to ensure that every participant can play a full part. A fairly large part of most hunts is spent on foot - teams who think smart and walk do better than those that run aimlessly.

For your own safety, X Marks The Spot require that participants must declare all known medical conditions before the hunt commences, and usually at time of booking. In no circumstances will X Marks The Spot be held liable for the injury or illness of any participant during or as a result of the hunt.

Please consult a medical practitioner if you are in any doubt.

13. Are the missions difficult?

Difficulty is a relative thing! Many years of experience has given our treasure hunt designers a good instinct as to what works and what doesn't.

For example we wouldn't provide missions that were based solely on observation - as we feel that insults your intelligence, offers little variety and doesn't really encourage you to be resourceful in completing the mission.

The style, content and difficulty of missions varies depending on the event but typically you might expect cryptic, anagrams, code breakers, general knowledge, photos, topical stuff, tasks to complete, items to scavenge, lateral thinking and a mix of word and number puzzles. Plus the odd trick question (you have been warned!).

Consequently, the variety of our missions and the ability to make it truly bespoke, means our Smartphone Treasure Hunts appeal to people of varying interests, ages and abilities.

14. What if we get stuck on a mission?

We tend to avoid 'traditional' treasure hunt formats which force you to go from point A to point B etc along a specified route as the impact of getting stuck can spoil your enjoyment and may mean you're unable to complete the treasure hunt.

Usually therefore, not all missions need to be tackled - indeed, choosing which ones to tackle is part of the fun and skill.

If you get stuck, simply skip the mission - but before you do don't be afraid to ask for help, as interacting with local people and bystanders is part of the experience!

15. Is there a prize?

Prizes (for winners, wooden spoon, most resourceful team etc) can be provided as part of the treasure hunt, and will incur an additional cost.

Alternatively, we are happy for you to organise your own prizes and in our experience this tends to work best as you know what works best for your group.

We often find that companies prefer to give their own corporate goodies or fun prizes or combine the prize giving as part of a wider award ceremony recognising staff achievements.

16. Can the treasure hunt be incorporated into our other plans?

Yes, this is actively encouraged, and is where a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt comes into its own.

A treasure hunt can be devised to share a theme with something else you are planning, such as a conference, product launch or reunion or it can be personalised towards those taking part (a hen for example).

And of course the treasure hunt can be scheduled to fit around other activities, such as a meeting, site visit, exhibition, corporate hospitality, training, award ceremony, get-together or dinner. Sometimes, having to work out the dinner venue from the clues adds a little extra incentive!

17. What about insurance?

Although our Treasure Hunts tend to cover populated (and therefore hopefully safe) areas, X Marks The Spot cannot accept liability for your safety on a Treasure Hunt - the responsibility is yours alone.

We advise that you take normal sensible safety precautions during the hunt, including carrying only the bare minimum where possible. Make sure that you have travel insurance if away from home.

X Marks The Spot has public liability insurance cover of £1 million. For your own safety, it is a condition of booking that clients undertake to arrange and provide adequate insurance cover for their participants, including travel and liability insurance cover for example.

Existing standard corporate insurance policies and travel insurance policies should be perfectly adequate without amendment. Please consult your insurer if you are in any doubt.

18. What about travel and accommodation?

Transport to and from the treasure hunt location, transfers and accommodation at the location can be arranged on your behalf if you so wish and will form part of our overall quotation.

X Marks The Spot uses fully licensed and bonded travel agents and operators to make these arrangements.

19. What about meals and refreshments?

Meals and refreshments are not provided as part of the treasure hunt.

These can be arranged on your behalf if you so wish and will form part of our overall quotation.

20. What about venue hire?

This is often not needed as in most cases we can open and close an event at your venue - such as an office, hotel or conference space you may already be using.

A verbal briefing at the outset to all participants or just team captains is a short process and can usually be done anywhere. Written instructions can supplement or replace a verbal briefing.

If you are ending the event in a public space, such as a restaurant or bar then consideration needs to be given to those not in your group. This makes securing a private area a good idea.

You may know the area you're treasure hunting in and can co-ordinate a venue locally. We can also provide suggestions and assistance. In most cases venues welcome groups with open arms particularly if a group is intending to drink or dine there after the treasure hunt.

21. I'm the organiser, what do I need to do?

We take care of most things.

For corporate events we usually look to you to co-ordinate work colleagues so they know where to be and when. We may ask you for a company logo or event name for any branding that's required. You may also wish to determine who is in each team as you will know participants best. The extent of your involvement also depends on the degree to which individual clues are tailored and the extent to which the treasure hunt must fit with your other plans.

For private events, most of your time will be spent giving us the low-down on who's taking part and providing us with information to help us tailor the treasure hunt. This can usually be achieved via a telephone conversation and email.

22. Can you outline what happens after we book?

We pride ourselves on our experience, professionalism, attention to detail and customer focus.

A successful event requires 4 key steps:

Consultation to gather your needs and agree your requirements;

Research to find out more about those taking part, investigate the chosen location in detail and design the event in outline;

Planning of the event by visiting the location to gather further information, check clues, answers, timing and viability so that the treasure hunt design can be finalised;

Execution by delivering your event in the way specified.

We work with you in partnership throughout to ensure you get a treasure hunt that fits your needs. During our initial consultation we capture your main objectives and agree an outline brief by determining:

Why? The purpose of the treasure hunt, e.g. celebration, team building event, incentive, ice-breaker etc.

Who? The participants, how many, their profile, how they will be formed in teams; any requirements you have for observers or further facilitators.

When? The likely date for the event and its duration.

Where? The location and venue, the transport, accommodation, meal and prize requirements.

What? The approach, e.g. serious, fun, relaxed, competitive, collaborative; the budget; any special needs you may have.

How? The fit of the treasure hunt with other activities; the structure of the treasure hunt and clues.

We then produce a quote for the agreed level of service and make any further adjustments you require. If acceptable, you complete a booking form based on the revised quote.

Research begins on acceptance of a confirmed booking. This includes desk research into the chosen location (if required) and the development of clues in draft form. Any further details of the company or individual that are relevant to the treasure hunt are gathered at this time, plus any desired accommodation arrangements.

If necessary, X Marks The Spot make a reconnaissance visit to the location to gather further information, check clues, answers, timing and viability. Hotels and restaurants are also visited at this stage if required and local transport and hire arrangements are confirmed. On return, production of the treasure hunt materials is completed and support staff arrangements for the treasure hunt are finalised. An event timetable is prepared and prizes acquired if necessary.

We keep you informed of progress throughout the process and may occasionally need to contact you for input by phone or email.

23. Can we run a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt ourselves?

These treasure hunts are facilitated by us.

Our clients usually benefit from a treasure hunt with additional twists and turns that would be too challenging for a client to run themselves without experience or training at additional cost.

24. How much does a Hi-tech Treasure Hunt cost?

Each Hi-tech Treasure hunt is unique, designed around your needs and priced on an individual basis.

Location, group size, duration, degree of fit with other events, content, complexity, clue customisation, travel during the hunt, travel to and from the location, accommodation, meal arrangements, equipment needs and prize requirements are among the variables that are considered.

We will discuss your specific requirements then prepare a quote accordingly.

Given the complexity of some events and to ensure only genuine enquiries are handled, it is our policy to charge for any face to face consultation at a customer's request prior to quote production. This is then refunded in full against any subsequent booking. Email and phone enquiries are handled free of charge.

25. What's included in the price?

We agree this with you as part of the specification which is drawn up when the quote is accepted.

The basic cost of every treasure hunt usually includes desk research; a reconnaissance visit to the location by X Marks The Spot; planning, production and distribution of all materials for the treasure hunt; full facilitation of the event including briefing, monitoring, marking, adjudication and facilitator disbursements.

Meeting room and equipment hire, smartphone/tablet rental, prizes, travel to and from the location, accommodation, meals and the services of a behavioural observer(s) and their disbursements are optional extras which will be detailed on the quote but which are outside the basic cost. In the majority of cases these are not required.

Insurance and outdoor clothing are not provided.

26. What if I have to cancel?

Our Terms and Conditions include our cancellation policy. Our Standard Rates and Charges for Cancellation are on a sliding scale, starting at 20% of the event fee.

Full Terms & Conditions are issued at time of booking.

27. Can you send me more information?

This web site is designed to provide you with answers to most of the general queries you may have about us and our treasure hunts, and it is updated regularly.

In recognition of our clients' increasing ability and preference to communicate and trade electronically, we do not produce a separate hard copy brochure, but prefer instead to pass these cost savings on to you. We are always happy to discuss any specific queries you may have.

28. How far in advance should I buy a Treasure Hunt?

As each treasure hunt is custom-made, we would appreciate as much advance notice as possible to get your input and then prepare the highest quality treasure hunt we can for you. Notice in weeks rather than days is preferred :-).

This also enables us to check our staff availability and other commitments for your preferred date. Early booking is advised.

29. Why should my group go on one of your Treasure Hunts?

A Treasure Hunt from X Marks The Spot™ gets you and your group out and about, talking, thinking, working together in teams, sharing, learning, exploring and having fun.

Success in building teams is affected by the group, the task and the environment. What your team derives from the treasure hunt very much depends on them, the business scenario and the objectives of the specific treasure hunt, but typically:

  • Team working and co-operation are fostered through friendly competition
  • Decisions (and mistakes) are made in a safe environment, enabling participants to learn and build confidence
  • Trust is built through improved departmental, individual or external relationships
  • Staff become more aware of themselves and others
  • Individual potential can be realised or discovered
  • Leadership, problem solving, planning and communication skills are tested and developed
  • Participants are stimulated by experiencing unfamiliar situations and seeing cultural landmarks from a highly interactive perspective

The net result for a business is that increased effectiveness, involvement, motivation and knowledge sharing are brought back to the workplace. This provides a good basis for discussion of problems, formulation of new ideas and quicker implementation of improved work methods - giving your staff more responsibility and making your business more adaptable and flexible.

Whether for corporate groups or private parties the event will be remembered and talked about long after it finishes.

30. I'm interested in booking a Treasure Hunt. What do I do now?

Give X Marks The Spot a call to discuss your group's specific aims, requirements and interests.

Call 07801 693001 from within the UK or +44 7801 693001 if dialling from outside.

Alternatively, complete the simple form on this page and we'll be in touch.

If there's anything else you need to know, please contact us.

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Smartphone and tablet treasure hunt packages in London and throughout the UK and Europe

Choose from a range of 60, 90 or 120 minute smartphone and tablet treasure hunt packages in the UK & Europe.

Perfect for corporate team building, fun after work, hen parties and more.

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