In recent months, the tourism industry experienced a lot of news and media attention in terms of “gamified” applications or new technologies being introduced. A lot of these are made on the basis of using a Smartphone to experience the world around in a new way. In tourism, this new way of experiencing a destination seems to work well and travellers have a variety of apps to choose from (New York Times). How do these applications work and how beneficial are they for travellers overall experience? In the following we will look at 2 applications that have caught our attention and will talk about the advantages of using these apps in more detail.
Stray Boots is a new game that is available in the US where travellers or local people can go on an urban adventure, solve fun clues, discover cool spots and learn more about the destination or particular places. Currently, these tours are available in 14 US Cities (Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York just to name a few) and there is also a version for the UK. Consumers can purchase a tour, which sells for $2 to $12. For each riddle solved or questions answered correctly, users can earn points – so the game is also challenging its users to earn more and more points. Similar concepts are also used by other brands such as Foursquare where you can gain badges for check-ins, etc. The game seems to be a fun way both for locals and visitors to discover cities in the US.
Sighter is a relatively new and innovative application for iOS and soon also for Android that taps into the interesting area of a photography based urban treasure hunts. Once the app is downloaded, users need to sign up and can then access different trails where they can go and discover a city or an attraction by looking for an image. Geo location tools, can help the traveller to get directed towards the location of the image and information about the item that is to be found can be read. An item, users are searching for can be a feature on a building, a sticker or a graffiti. Once the image is discovered, the user needs to take a photo of the item and the first image on the trail is found. This is quite an interesting way of doing a treasure hunt. As users of the app need to look careful at their surroundings not to miss the item that is to be found, a city or attractions can be discovered in a completely new way. It is certainly a fun way of doing a treasure hunt.
If your destination is thinking about creating a game app, these apps can be a nice starting point as trails or tours can always be added. However, like any app destinations and tourism organisations need to make sure they are investing their money appropriately. In the future, the tourism industry will see more and more games being made, and consumers are embracing the fact to being able to experience a destination in a more playful way through their Smartphones. Many games like this can also be used by the entire family and can add a fun factor to a holiday trip or for locals as they can also have a fun day out in form of an urban adventure.
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