Tourism is a growing sector. Excelling itself each year all over the world, it’s one of the main economic activities in our country.
The mobile market is achieving an increasingly highlighted spot in the technological world, thanks to smartphones, so apps are a relevant channel to promote the tourism sector and its activities, as well.
In this article we reveal the top 10 reasons why choosing this format is a good option for promoting local regions.
Tourism: a constantly growing sector
Over the last years, the results of international tourism industry exceeded expectations and the number of tourists increased continuously – in Portugal, we break the record for stays and incomes each year. In 2018, for example, Portugal received about 23 million tourists.
Taking into account that about 95% of tourists use digital tools when searching for the best experience before, during and after traveling, and that the average customer accesses a combination of 19 sites and apps during his trip, we quickly realize that this is a golden opportunity for tourism based companies.
In fact, given that all travel-related planning and purchases are carried out by the travelers themselves, is it not surprising that mobile bookings are increasing?
In a world where 75% of the adults have a smartphone and are using apps for most of the time they spend on their phones, it is natural that visitors prefer this kind of portable, convenient, practical and simple technology when traveling, especially for geolocation apps, such as GPS.
Through the apps, tourists can have access to all kind of information, ticket offices, maps and guides, leave comments, evaluate services and share pictures of their trip with their network (in fact, sharing travel details seems to have become mandatory in recent years).
The emergence of mobile applications for hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions in recent years is notorious, although most tourism companies are not following the growth of this technology and few are taking advantage of this potential.
In fact, the trend is to invest in SoLoMo apps (the combination of social, local and mobile platforms in a single system) in order to reduce the distance between the user and his surroundings. The apps Groupon and Foursquare are good examples of this type of services, using social marketing and check-ins to promote businesses and locations closer to the user, enhancing their choice.
Why should you choose an app to promote local tourism?
1. Improve the visitors’ experience
TThe use of apps is already a widespread habit and it is natural that, when traveling, users take advantage of it to improve their experience. This well-entrenched habit is a fantastic opportunity to promote local products and services, as it allows companies to give visitors what they want at the exact time they need it. By using tourism apps, visitors can discover places of interest; explore parks and gardens and visit museums, zoos, shops and restaurants, all by simply using their phone or tablet.
2. Offer an online booking service
People are booking hotel rooms, buying travel packs, tickets for shows and other services connected to tourism through apps. By offering an online booking service you are giving the users the opportunity to purchase what you are selling anywhere, anytime and in a simple and convenient manner.
3. Create a new way to attract visitors
By providing information on an app about your region and all the things it has to offer, you are not only giving it more visibility and helping increase the number of visitors by exposing it to an audience of millions, but also presenting it to the world as a dynamic and modern region that meets the consumers’ needs.
4. Provide easy access to information, maps and timetables
With an app you can easily and quickly provide information, maps and timetables for visitors, and even give real-time route diversions, make schedule changes or offer promotions. The visitors will have real time access to relevant information, and can therefore rearrange or reorganize their traveling plans for a more enjoyable and cost-effective experience.
5. Reinforce local brand awareness
Your local brand’s name and logo will be on the screens of thousands of consumers all over the world, reinforcing its visibility and awareness, the familiarity with its products/services, and helping improve its sales and visits.
6. Provide easy access to products and services
Mobile apps are a quick and convenient way to access your services and products 24 hours a day, anywhere and anytime.
7. Increase profits
By using apps to sell your services and products, you are using a new sales channel where you can create exclusive offers, promotions or sales, and increase your profits.
8. Get to know your visitors and their preferences
Mobile apps offer you the chance to learn about your visitors and market by giving you very important reports and statistics, such as demographics, interests and preferences, but also help you analyze the relevance of what you are providing. This information may be used for future marketing campaigns, for app and brand optimization, to improve the visitors’ experience in the future and increase your chance of success.
9. Don’t be left behind
If your competitors offer an app service, you do not want to be left behind and grant them exclusivity in the mobile market. Think of how many customers you are losing every day by not having a mobile presence, and how many deals you could have closed if your services were offered online 24/7, on a platform with an exposure to millions of users.
10. Get direct feedback from your customers
Mobile apps will give you direct feedback from your customers and help you assist them as soon as they reveal difficulties, ask questions or need information. This is a good way to avoid bad publicity and unnecessary problems. According to a study, around 69 % of tourists like to go through tourism sites’ reviews before deciding their holiday. Offering an app service will work to your advantage as you will be able to monitor their comments or reviews and therefore improve the experience of those who visit you in the future.
Examples of Tourism Apps in Portugal
By Cool World is an excellent example of a project that uses mobile apps to promote cities.
The Braga Cool (winner of the Innovation Award in the First Tourism Gala - I Gala do Turismo - hosted by the Braga’s City Council and Associação Comercial de Braga) and Lisboa Cool (winner of “2019 Best Tourism Website/App”) apps, available for Android and iOS, allow users to create specific routes (displaying the best attractions and experiences in the city) based on the type of trip they wish to make. The whole system was developed to be cross-platform, linking original content between the various systems in order to create a memorable experience for all users who choose to visit these cities.