(September 26, 2016) – With so many options to promote your destination to visitors, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to invest your time and money. Even more, it can be equally confusing to understand which efforts are actually resulting in tourism dollars. How can you prove that the billboard on the highway is driving travelers to your town? Are the people visiting your CVB website actually showing up at your destination? Even if visitors do frequent your town, are they maximizing their experiences (and spend)?

Here at Bluebridge, the premiere mobile app for tourism organizations, we understand the importance of engaging both upcoming and current visitors to your destination to maximize their experiences. We also understand the importance of knowing that your efforts are working. That’s why we teamed up with SMARI Insights, a market research firm based in Indianapolis, to survey app users from over 35 tourism destinations and understand the role that mobile apps played in their travel experiences.

We administered this survey via a push notification in the customer’s mobile app and asked questions about why they downloaded tourism mobile apps, how they used them, and how they impacted their visits. Spoiler alert: visitors reported favorable experiences using their destination’s apps (over 80% rated good-very good!) and provided great insight as to how they drove ROI for the tourism organization.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  1. Bluebridge apps are a key way to get visitors to your location and engaged in the activities you recommend. Bluebridge mobile apps are used by tourists to maximize their experiences, whether they are planning activities in advance or using the app to find things to do in town. On average, 79% of our push survey respondents used their destination’s mobile app to plan for their upcoming trip. And it must have worked, because more than 70% of them visited the location after downloading the app. With these results, it’s clear that visitors are using mobile apps to learn more about destinations of interest and making decisions to visit based on the content of the app. Looking to increase visits at your destination? Add an event calendar so visitors (or residents!) always know what’s happening any given weekend in your location.
  2. Bluebridge apps drive more interest in the vendors and activities your organization recommends via the app. Out of the 79% of survey respondents who used their destination’s app to plan their visit, over half continued to use the app during their visit to the location. Mobile apps not only help you drive visitors to your destination, but they encourage action around your recommended experiences within the app. This provides equal value for residents of your city. Even though we had a high response rate of non-residents in our more populated tourism locations, many of our smaller CVB respondents had a high density of downloads that were from residents or people passing through the town. This, combined with the high rating of the app, proves value for not only highly visited locale but cities and residential areas looking to drive economic activity within residents.
  3. Bluebridge apps result in actual dollars for your city, regardless of whether the visitor is local or a non-resident. We asked participants in our survey to estimate the amount of money they spent while visiting their destinations. Using the average download rate for our Bluebridge apps overall, combined with our survey responses, we inferred that using a Bluebridge app to plan or enhance your visit results in an average of $849,000 dollars in incremental annual spend within the organization’s community. Can you predict that from your billboard campaigns?

Maximize the Value of an App for Your Destination

If you’re ready to get a deeper look into the buyer behavior in your region, SMARI Insights can partner with you to estimate the economic impact of mobile app users within your destination. To learn more, visit smari.com. If you’re ready to learn how Bluebridge can help you bring more tourism dollars and engagement to your destination, get a demo now

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Author: Jenna Frist

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