At VisitApps, we work with a number of tourism organizations. In fact, we're the largest tourism app provider in the world. And even though we provide the platform, each DMO makes their app one-of-a-kind.

In working with these destinations and helping them build world-class tourism apps, we've discovered that there are a few key tactics that set "good apps" apart from great ones. Here's what we've found:

HIGH FUNCTIONALITY

The VisitApps platform is a playground of features and options when it comes to meeting the needs of your organization. By using our native features, Bluebridge customers have created a number of use cases to expand the reach of their app and bring value to their users.

An excellent example of this is the Visit El Paso app. El Paso has curated their app to act as a concierge for users, giving them options for various in-destination experiences depending on the amount of time they have available to spend. This provides incredible value to app users, especially when they may only be in town for a limited time.

In addition, El Paso uses FaceTime integration capabilities to provide one-on-one support to users. Have a question? Lost and need help? Just place a video call within the app to speak with a knowledgeable Destination El Paso visitors bureau employee.

PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES

You don't have to spend a fortune on promotional marketing for your app. And the story of Gatlinburg's app can prove it. With proper app content maintenance and training of front line staff to verbally promote app downloads, Gatlinburg CVB has achieved tens of thousands of app downloads and over a thousand sessions per day. In using it for staff training instead of just in-destination navigation for visitors, the app is kept top-of-mind so it's always promoted verbally-for free. 

Gatlinburg's promotional strategy has earned them the number one ranking in the app store for a number of search terms, including "Gatlinburg," "Gatlinburg Tours," and even "Tennessee."

RECURRING ENGAGEMENT

There's no such thing as "one and done" for The Marco Review in Marco Island, FL. The magazine's app features segmented experiences for different user needs and preferences that keep visitors engaged and coming back over and over to try new things. The Marco Review app
features a curated concierge guide with experience categories like:

  • Type of restaurant
  • Holiday eats
  • Type of fare
  • Average cost of entree
  • Activities on the water
  • Activities on the land

With regularly updated content, The Marco Review has achieved more than 8,000 app downloads in less than six months.

What does it take for a tourism app to be one of the best? You don't need an extensive budget or a large social media fan base. All you need is some creativity and innovation. The best apps are those that don't just have an app. They're constantly coming up with new ways to delight their users and meet them in the channel they prefer most.