Since posting here about the importance of mobile technology for tourism operators a couple of months back, many of New Zealand’s key tourism players have released updated versions of their mobile applications.
When in Auckland a few weeks ago, it was interesting to have met with Kevin Francis, the new CEO at Jasons Travel Media and talk a little bit about their online plans, including the recently launched iPhone app; prompted by a 100% increase in visits to their site from a mobile device in the past year, most of which were from iPhones.
Alongside the functionality that users have come to expect like geo-location, maps and reviews, the new app has some nifty features including the ability to register and log-in using Facebook (allowing for quicker processing) and perhaps most impressive the ability to book directly from the app through a secure encrypted connection. A service that few, if any, New Zealand based companies have yet to release.
Whilst the application was launched a few weeks ago, it seems that this week ‘all systems are go’ at Jasons, in an all out effort to start encouraging its use. Alongside new signage with QR codes on Jasons brochure stands nationwide, from tomorrow all web traffic from an iPhone will be welcomed by encouragement to download the new app for better usability.
The application will certainly be of use to the growing number of visitors travelling with mobile devices, but what about the all important question of how much is it going to cost Jasons advertisers? I was happy to hear that Jasons have chosen not to charge advertisers any more for being listed on the app. A decision I welcome, believing that the cost in developing this type of resource is part of their business development, not a cost to be passed directly on to operators, as other well-known tourism promotion companies continue to do.
It is positive to see Jasons, who may have traditionally been associated with print, offering a range of on and offline solutions including mobile applications; to ensure it continues to service the needs of its advertisers and respond to the ever changing expectations of its end-users.
If you’re not already doing so, I’d recommend downloading apps that you are listed on, to familiarise yourself with what your customers are experiencing and to ensure you fully appreciate the ever-changing functionality available on these devices.
You can find the Jasons App by visiting the App Store from your iPhone or iPad.