The time we spend on our mobile devices has continued to grow in the last few years and whenever we’re travelling, the mobile phone automatically becomes our tour guide, travel agency, best restaurant locator, maps, and more. We rely on this piece of technology to plan own authentic experiences and discover unique gems.
According to a Google Travel study, 74% of travellers plan their trips on the Internet and recent Google research found that 94 percent of leisure travellers switch between devices as they plan a trip. When it comes to planning trip activities, 85 percent of leisure travellers decide on activities only after arriving at their destination, where they are most likely to use their mobile devices to do so.
Now, the question is, how can you as a Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) or travel agency ensure that you provide your visitors with the best mobile experience during their trip?
The answer is simple, you need to provide genuine and useful value to your visitors and help them experience the best your destination has to offer by bringing valuable information to their fingertips. The key is to listen to your visitors’ needs and deliver an unforgettable experience.
So let’s dive into what visitors want from your travel app and what would make them use it:
1. They want to experience life as a local
Visitors want to discover and visit those locations that make your destination unique. Your app should allow visitors to discover top attractions as well as hidden gems within your destination.
Create unique routes and tours
Add interesting route and tours that your visitors can take to discover the best your destination has to offer, add activities such as boat rides, nearby locations trips, hop-on hop-off buses, wine routes or gastronomy tours.
Create individual pages for each tourist attraction
Diversify you app by creating various points of interest. Add descriptions, photo gallery, contact info and a physical location for each one. POI examples: museums, parks, monuments, etc.
Enable Nearby Location on Maps
Allow visitors to find nearby attractions and get directions on how to get there.
Add multi-language audio files to any POIs so that your tourists can experience a destination in the coolest possible way.
Recommendations & Experiences
Write articles to share unique experiences and hidden gems within your destination that cannot be discovered elsewhere. For example, share articles about local cuisine or interesting architectural gems they shouldn’t be missing.
Create an events calendar
Add local events happening within your destination directly in your app and share them with your users.
Instantly communicate with tourists visiting your destination and inform them about local events and activities they could be interested in.
Allow visitors to take advantage of the offers and promotions local businesses may be running by adding them to your app.
2. They want useful information
Tourists want to quickly find useful information around how to plan their trip or where to find the services they need without too much browsing on the Internet. To make their trip as seamless as possible, your app should be able to deliver important and useful travel information such as accommodation, restaurants, local guides, info points, weather reports, rental services, rescue services, souvenir shops, nightlife areas, security advice, etc.
How to do it:
Collaborate with local entrepreneurs and service providers
Connect with local restaurants, hotels, info points, rental services and give them access to your app to create their own pages within the app and add information your visitors may find useful.
3. They want to plan their own holiday
Visitors stopped relying on travel agencies to plan their trip, nowadays they prefer to do it themselves in the hope of a more personalized experience. Your app should allow them to create that unique experience they’re hoping for.
How to do it:
User’s personal account
Allow users to create their own account to save activities and POIs to their list, create reminders for the events they want to attend as well as integrate app’s events with their personal calendar on their phone.
Encourage users to discover POIs within your destination by reading reviews other have left on your app.
Your app should allow visitors plan their own personalized tours within your destination.
Navigation and geolocation
Your app needs to provide users with a handy navigation system so they could easily travel around your destination. You should add a geolocation feature to allow for a smart navigation that will help users easily find nearby cafes, hotels, and different tourist attractions.
4. They want access to information in their own language
In 2018, Spain was visited by 82,6 millions of international tourists who spent 87.000 millions of euros. Try and imagine the results if your app would provide them with content in their language and make it easier for them to discover attractions, events and activities within your destination.
How to do it:
Your app should also cater for international visitors. Try to facilitate communication for foreign visitors by translating your app in English and other languages your top visitors are using.
5. They want access to content wherever they are
Many tourists, especially the international ones won’t have an Internet connection during their trip however, they will need useful information to get around your destination.
How to do it:
Allow useful information to be accessed while offline, such as how to get around, pharmacies, hospitals, police stations, top attractions, opening hours etc.
6. They want to share their experiences with their friends
Travellers tend to use social media to communicate with their friends and family, so don’t leave them without it during their holiday.
How to do it:
Social media integration
Integrate social media sharing in your app to allow users to chat, and share information, photos and more with their friends.
7. They want to quickly find the information they need
An intuitive and smart user experience within your app will help visitors to better enjoy their trip and make the most of it.
How to do it:
Provide search function and filters
Your app should include a search function that allows users to easily find all the information they need about sightseeing, city attractions, events or activities. It should also allow users to filter information based on their interests.
Create an intuitive and easy navigation
Your app should have a highly visual homepage and intuitive navigation bar that leads users to the most important content in the platform. You should make use of sections and categories so that content can be easily found.
When building an app for your DMO or tourism organization it’s important to always keep in mind the needs of your users and to provide real value to them.
Here’s a great example of how one DMO managed to create a comprehensive digital platform that provides real value to their visitors.