Vero Beach, FL
Vero Beach, FL
Partner Since: 2014
“It’s impossible to keep a paper brochure up-to-date…
I encourage people to use the app above anything else.”
— Allison McNeal, Director of Tourism, Indian River County Chamber of Commerce
Vero Beach is a 15,000-person tourist destination in Florida’s Indian River county. Situated 1 ½ hours east of Orlando on the Treasure Coast, Vero Beach features beaches, a museum of art, Blue Cyprus Lake, and the first wildlife refuge in the US, which is home to alligators and the nation’s largest instance of sea turtle nesting.
When Allison McNeal took on her role as Director of Tourism for the Indian River County (IRC) Chamber of Commerce, she knew they needed a mobile app. “It’s impossible to keep a paper brochure up-to-date,” she said. “Everyone has a smartphone, and I wanted to make sure our visitors were plugged in and engaged while they were here.” With tourism as its primary resource, IRC also saw an opportunity to extend visitors’ stays and encourage higher spending while in-destination. McNeal set out in search of a mobile app provider, reviewing four or five different companies in the process. She soon discovered that most app developers would charge more for regular updates or improvements to the app, while Bluebridge would charge one low, flat annual rate for continuous improvements throughout the year. In making her decision, Allison worked with her controller to understand her budget, and also found that high brochure printing costs were holding them back.
In just six months since launching the app, IRC has saved $15,000 in printing costs by taking their visitor guide content digital. The chamber has also experienced high engagement with visitors, tourists, and even locals. “We didn’t set out to create this app for our locals, but we’ve been amazed to see how much they download and use it,” said McNeal. After receiving both local and regional news coverage at launch, the group now promotes the app on every print piece that goes out, while also heavily promoting it through social media and even television commercials. “I encourage people to use the app above anything else.”
Visitors haven’t been the only ones pleased with the app. Having caught the eye of the city’s tourism development council, the Vero Beach app is also well-liked by local business owners and hotel managers who are impressed with its high quality, especially for the size of the community. McNeal has even had feedback from local realtors who use the app to sell the area and let buyers explore.
Since launching the app, Vero Beach has seen phenomenal results, including:
- $15,000 saved in brochure printing and mailing costs
- 5,300 total app downloads
- 44,800 user sessions in the first year
Looking to the future, IRC plans to add more video and interactive media to the app, possibly including walking tours. “Our mobile app isn’t just a convenient tool for our visitors,” said McNeal. “It’s also a great way for us to keep them engaged while they’re here and even influence them to spend more money.”
Saved in brochure printing and mailing costs
User sessions in the first year