Making the Most of Mobile

Jun 15, 2012   //   by Helen   //   Blog  //  No Comments

We looked at the basics of building and improving a tourism website in our weekly tourism start-up workshop this week.

QR Code Facebook Page Xcel Business Solutions


A number of the businesses on our training and mentoring programme are engaged in outdoor activities, and could use mobile apps to enhance customer experience and capture word of mouse.


Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. The “treasure” is always really random stuff, like be a pencil, a shell or a used bus ticket. This hobby is all about the challenge, not the treasure. Often, exact co-ordinates are not given online, and the geocacher has to work out a clue to plot the co-ordinates. Geocachers themselves plant caches and post the clues and location co-ordinates online. It’s a popular hobby, with over 5 million geocachers worldwide. Geocachers usually incorporate this activity into their holidays. There are 497 geocaches hidden in Wexford at time of writing. Geocaches must be hidden in public and accessible places, so as not to encourage trespassers. Tourism providers in some areas in Ireland have hidden geocaches along local walking trails to encourage these visitors to their area. Smart phones make this hobby available to a wider group, as specialised equipment is now no longer required. There is an official geocaching app which works rather well.   

QR codes

QR codes are two dimensional bar codes and can be used by anyone who downloads a reader, such as ScanLife. Once the app is opened, the customer points the phones camera at the code and you determine what happens next. It could be:

  1. Open a mobile website
  2. Make a phone call
  3. Download contact information
  4. Download a coupon
  5. Send a pre formatted email or SMS

The applications for this for tourism business are endless. In relation to a guided tour or trail, you could have QR codes on printed maps which bring you to a mobile website where there are videos, text or podcasts to provide additional information.

Destination Apps

Development of an app for a destination, trail or tour makes perfect sense. There is a relatively low development cost, and customer experience can be greatly enhanced by using geo–location to deliver relevant information in relation to where cusomters are right now. Is there a café open nearby? Where is the nearest playground? What are the opening hours of of those public gardens?  These are all questions that can easily be answered from within a destination app, which will help to deliver business to those that subscribe to being listed within the app. B & B Ireland have recently developed an iPhone App so that customers can find a registered B & B near them.

Online Reviews

Online reviews of your product or service, improve sales, (provided they are mainly positive of course).  If you are proactive in seeking reviews, then you will be actively managing your online reputation. The best way to get reviews is to ask for them. It can be part of your customer care strategy. For those engaged in outdoor activities, it makes sense to encourage your customers to leave reviews via mobile apps. These apps make it quick and easy for a customer to leave a review. I normally leave a Trip Advisor and / or Google Places review when I’m with a client, provided a positive review is merited of course! It takes no more than three minutes to do it. In one of our upcoming workshops, the attendees are going to be asked to dream up ingenious ways of asking for reviews without “begging” for them!

There are many ways to utilise mobile technology in a tourism business, for both marketing and to improve customer experience.

What suggestions would you make? Please let us know in the comments below! 

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