Guide book in your phone – yes please

A Dunedin company has developed technology to turn smartphones into mobile tourist information guides.

Smartphone applications represented the most exciting possibilities for the fast moving tourism industry since the introduction of maps and guidebooks, AA Tourism online general manager Roger Slater said.

At the forefront of this technology was Dunedin company iVisit, which has spent nearly a year creating the smartphone application XplrNZ.

The iPhone application, which will be available on Android smartphones early next year, features interactive maps of New Zealand and an accommodation search and booking system.

Social media also offered the chance for travellers to offer their own tips and reviews of places they had visited, iVisit chief executive Pierre-Emmanuel Perruchot de La Bussiere (25) said.

“While not everyone has smartphones, this is certainly changing,” he said.

The free application used GPS and cellphone positioning to ascertain area-specific information and the ability to offer special deals for that locality.

More than 5000 AA Tourism clients were listed on the application, which cost in the “tens of thousands” to set up, but would be recouped in the first few years with more businesses paying to list their details, he said.

Guide books are good but not user-friendly. They are almost always weighty, deteriorate with use and can’t keep up to date with changes.

A smart phone application weighs nothing, won’t deteriorate and will be easily updated.

This time last year I had no idea what a smart phone application was – I wonder what we’ll be doing with our phones a year from now?

3 Responses to Guide book in your phone – yes please

  1. Motella says:

    The motel industry have always relied upon paper-based marketing, with the AA Guidebook being one of several dead-tree cornerstones.
    A guidebook is free, doesn’t need power, doesn’t need an on-line connection and doesn’t take an age to power-up.
    With accommodation, a guidebook is often quicker to compare product and you can get instant gratification by connecting for free with the accommodation operator via an 0800 number.
    It’s not sexy, but print isn’t dead yet.
    There is no-doubt that businesses need to be on-line and hand-held internet apps are the latest buzz.
    It is fascinating to plot the transition from paper to a greater reliance on digital marketing and how ROI is being qualified by accommodation operators.
    AA’s new location based app is sexy and the augmented reality feature is cool, however it is disappointing that the “tens of thousands” investment so far does not give the user integration with on-line booking.
    I assume that AA’s XplrNZ App will be further developed, however it is unclear if the current version will influence a critical mass of consumers to add value by making buying decisions with AA advertisers.
    It is interesting to contemplate, how the AA plan to get a return on their investment – Will their advertisers understand the proposition and be willing to pay for inclusion?


  2. homepaddock says:

    I agree that a book is better if you’re only looking for a bed.

    But I took it this app is more like a Lonely Planet where to go, stay & eat and what to see & do rather than an accommodation guide like the AA one.


  3. Pierre-Em says:

    Hi Elisabeth . thank you for the post.

    @Motella. yes the app is constantly being updated and further developed. We have some very exciting new feature coming very soon, including real time booking and location based deals

    Happy New Year


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