A common marketing starter kit for BIDs tends to look like this; strong brand, tick; consumer website, tick; consumer app, tick.
But, just because that’s what everyone else is doing, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for your location. The brand and website are two assets that you 100% can’t be without and you may feel like your destination would benefit from an app, but before you take a leap into what can be an expensive endeavour, let me ask you some questions.
It's easy to fall into the trap of having what's new or fashionable, and apps for locations and travel are becoming ever more utilised tools for those users visiting your location, but this doesn't mean that your destination necessarily needs one of its own.
You may be wondering why, as a member of the DestinationCore team, I would be warning you off having an app developed. Well in truth I'm not - I simply asking you to ask yourself these key questions before making an expensive decision...
You need to give your users a reason to use an App, where's the incentive?
Your app should have a purpose all of its own; it shouldn't simply replicate what your website is providing. For example, we have built the Offers & Events app - this provides exclusive content to your users, drives footfall when those users redeem those offers or attend those events and most importantly, it's a tool, giving users exclusive content that the website doesn't provide.
Remember, you need to give your users a reason to use an app, if you just replicate what they are already getting – where’s the incentive? You may end up spending a lot of your budget on something that is never used.
Our Offers and Events app can be extended further so that it is only made available for employees of levy payers within the BID. This again is an extra layer of uniqueness that the website won't necessarily already serve.
Hopefully you get what I’m trying to say by now - look for the USP, the reason that users would use the app over the website, think outside the box - apps can be a lot more targeted in their purpose than a website. I've listed a few ideas below that could form the perfect app for your destination and we want to be actively developing apps for our DestinationCore customers that allow us to harness more valuable data about how people interact with your destination and, ultimately, drive more visitors to you.
- Trail app
- AR app
- User generated photos app
- Levy Payer Stats app
Now that you have your snazzy app idea, what's next (apart from getting in touch with us)?
The first thing to decide is how the app is going to be built, you may hear two options thrown around - Native App or Progressive Web App (PWA). We always favour a PWA. Let's go through what the two are and their pros and cons.
Progressive Web App (PWA)
Hopefully this article has at least given you some food for thought around whether your destination is ready for an app.
We are more than happy to discuss your app needs with you, simply get in touch.