Phone Apps Help Tourism Businesses Keep Travelers Informed

Posted on December 23, 2009

These days, if somebody is in a strange city and looking for a place to eat, he may pull out his smart phone and call up an application like the one for Yelp to track down a specific cuisine. If somebody is lost, one can use an application from Mapquest or Google to locate where they need to be. General travel apps for finding restaurants and hotels prove popular, but if you manage the tourism for a specific destination you may wish to consider having an app developed to better showcase your region to visitors.

The Benefits of a Specialized Phone App

For convention and visitors bureaus and city tourism departments, the development of an app for the iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android can prove useful in boosting travel to your area and patronage of local hotels and eateries. While programs that offer local listings provide reviews, maps, and supplemental information, a specialized app gives you the opportunity to offer visitors something extra. Let’s say you operate the tourism marketing for a beach town on the Mid-Atlantic coast, and while visitors spike in the summertime you want to boost interest for the winter months. An app for your area, while useful year round if it features business listings, can also be developed to feature seasonal specials and discounts. You can entice visitors toward your destination by arranging area vacation rentals to offer cheaper rates with smart phone codes.

While general apps like Yelp provide useful and updated data, it isn’t guaranteed they will list every single inn and diner. A specialized program for your destination can offer visitors categorized guides to your city, suggested itineraries, and a local view of your town.

The Challenges of a Travel Phone App

With every benefit, however, comes a number of challenges to consider. Having an application developed could cost you several thousand dollars, depending on the functionality you want. Also, as businesses open and close, it’s important to stay on top of your data so that you always provide updated information for visitors. There will also come into question whether or not you should charge for the app – convention wisdom would advise no. Because of the costs involved in development and hosting, it’s important to make sure your marketing budget makes room if you choose to have a program created.

For the beach destination, metropolitan region, or rustic desert retreat, a smart phone app can entice visitors to book vacations and keep locals interested in area businesses. Take into consideration the benefits and challenges to creating an app for your city as part of your tourism marketing strategy.

Kathryn Lively is a social media specialist assisting clients with social media optimization and travel social media services.

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