Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Travelers Create Their Own App For A Trip

I smiled last weekend when I accidentally came across what appears to be a new element in mobile marketing strategy for the official community-destination marketing organization (DMO) for my adopted hometown of Durham, North Carolina.mobile 2

Having jumpstarted that organization nearly 25 years ago and having served as its CEO until a little more than two years ago, I'm always tickled to witness all of the changes and improvements that have been made since I retired and not at all surprised that I haven't kept pace.  The speed of change in that organization continues to be one of its core values and strengths.

The challenge for any DMO when it comes to mobile marketing strategy, is where to place their very limited resources. The debate is whether to develop a trendy Smartphone/tablet app or to first develop a mobile version of the organization's #1-rated website, not just something that is mobile-readable.home screen

After carefully studying best practices, it appears Durham’s DMO has decided to put first things first and is launching what appears to be a very thorough and user-friendly mobile version of it’s A-rated website.

But let me tell you a secret about why many travelers prefer that to a customized app. Travelers who use Smartphones and tablets have discovered that you can create your own app for a destination by:

  • searching the web browser,
  • finding the official site,
  • clicking on the little curved arrow at the bottom, then
  • selecting “add to home screen” and voilĂ .icon

In less than 10 seconds after discovering Durham's mobile website, I had not just bookmarked it in the browser but also added an icon for it right next to apps on my home screen - and I’m a geezer.

I suspect that DCVB will be marketing the mobile version in many places, including the homepage of its regular award-winning website because this is where nearly all travelers including those with mobile devices   will go to research first the destination community they hope to visit or for an upcoming business trip and then what to see and do and where to stay and what events may be occurring.

But once en route they will use the mobile site especially to spontaneously identify things to do including places to eat that are nearby, get directions or change plans either on a Smartphone or on a tablet by enlarging it to twice its size by clicking on the 1X in the bottom right corner.

Another secret is that residents are as likely as travelers to use the DCVB mobile website because it has the most comprehensive and timely calendar of community events and database of places to eat and things to do, all searchable by where they happen to be at the moment and because it is handy to quickly forward various pages to family members and relatives.

One day, Durham’s “best practice” DMO may still create an app to reach those who haven't yet discovered how simple it is to create an app-like icon of something they have found on a smartphone or tablet web browser.

After all, already:

  • Over 30% of all internet traffic come from tablet devices or Smartphones
  • Over 50% of all local searches come from mobile devices

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