Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Maps are old hat, apps show you the way

My Tour Talk

Gone are the days when consumers purchase maps after landing at their destination, as almost 96%* of travellers are going online to plan our trips away.

According to a recent survey carried out by Belfast based digital tourism company, My Tour Talk – more than 100 people from across the UK aged between 18-65 year olds were asked about their travel map purchasing habits and the results were:

  • 87% have a smartphone (iPhone, Blackberry etc...)
  • 74% have not bought a map in the last 12 months
  • 49% would spend more than £3 on a printed map
  • 99% have used Google maps
  • 86% would download a map onto their smartphone
  • 51.6% would prefer a phone map while 48.4% would prefer a printed map.

These statistics highlight that consumer behaviour is now changing, a claim backed up by tourism expert Roger Brooks from American based company, Destination Development International. He argues that in order to reach the modern tourist, destination marketing should recognise this opportunity and change the spend accordingly.

Speaking at the Northern Ireland Tourist Board annual conference which took place in Belfast recently, Mr Brooks argues that 10% of the annual marketing budget should only be spent on print, while 45% of the budget should be allocated to funding apps and websites/online activities.

My Tour Talk which has a range of travel apps is benefitting from the move towards mobile technology and is enjoying record figures from tourists downloading its products this year.

There has been almost a 30% increase in the number of apps downloaded since this time last year and the most popular app in the range is the new ‘Titanic in Belfast’ walking app which saw almost 300 people download the product in the first day of going live.

According to Jamie Hanna from My Tour Talk, there are several reasons why customers are using their products rather than traditional printed maps.

He says, “Digital apps were only coming to market around 2006 and it has taken time for the consumer to adopt this new method of communicating. The survey results show that there is an increasing trend towards using mobile travel aids for smartphones.

“Our digital maps offer an interactive experience that brings the area to life – we have researched each location to find the best places to go and have a pint of Guinness or enjoy views of the Giant’s Causeway, while the GPS tracking means you know where you are at all times. We regularly update our apps so they always have the latest local event and it stays on the device until the user chooses to delete it. This offers a cost effective solution and means the user doesn’t have to buy a new map when they visit the location on another time.”

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