Hotel and destination mobile apps are a great way to create space for travelers to learn more about where they’re going and plan their vacations accordingly. Exploring an actual (non-mobile friendly) site on a smart phone can be burdensome when it’s not mobile-optimized as the user is forced to zoom in, read tiny print, then attempt to click on tiny links with big fat fingers. Mobile apps, on the other hand, are specifically designed for smartphones and tablets, and, according to PhoCusWright’s U.S. Corporate Travel Report: Market Size and Technology Trends report, 51% of US travelers access travel content on their phones, while four of every five travelers access hotel and airline information.
One solid example of a city that has been keeping up with mobile trends in the hospitality space is the Santa Barbara Conference & Visitors Bureau, the destination marketing organization for Santa Barbara. They released their mobile app early this year and just revamped it this past week. They hope the app will create an enhanced interest in the central California city and provide a more effective tool for travel planning.
With more and more people accessing data from their smartphones, this is a great maneuver in making vacation-planning easy for travelers. User-friendly capabilities include click-to-call dialing, Google map directions, “What’s Near Me” features, general maps and photos. Businesses can be searched by geographic location, type of activity or retail genre.
NEXT Santa Barbara was designed both for those pre-planning trips to Santa Barbara as well as those already visiting. It includes detailed listings for restaurants, wineries, vineyards, events, arts and cultural offerings, accommodations, outdoor activities, retail shops and more. The app covers the entire Santa Barbara region, including downtown and the harbor, plus surroundings areas such as Santa Ynez, Santa Maria, Montecito, Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc and Summerland. It also includes many regularly-updated local deals.
The NEXT Santa Barbara app is FREE to download and is available for Android devices, iPads and iPhones. The app is also perfect for guests coming into town for specific events, plus the location detection feature reveals real-time information directly to the mobile device, and also aids in navigating experiences, attractions, restaurants and more, while the events calendar keeps users informed of local happenings.
The Santa Barbara CVB definitely does a great job of displaying value with their mobile app. An app is somewhat unnecessary if it doesn’t make the experience easier offer “more” than what their mobile website already provides.
Here, by virtue of the diverse array of functionality the app allows, Santa Barbara provides a ton of ease to visitors and locals alike.
What other destinations or hotels have caught your attention with their mobile app?