New Montana Heritage Commission business manager developing smartphone app

The new business and development manager for the Montana Heritage Commission is brainstorming some new ideas for accomplishing the commissions goal of sharing the “nations best-preserved example of gold-rush era architecture and history” as described on their website.

Elijah Allen took over the position Jan. 3 and is looking to utilize the ever-changing world of technology to promote tourism and commerce in the historic towns of Virginia City and Nevada City. One way he’s going about doing this is with a smartphone application, which he hopes to have up and running before the tourist season starts this summer.

“If you have a smart phone you can go to the different businesses and it will tell you where its at and the phone number,” Allen said.

“People can use their iPhones to point at any business and it will give any information that business wants to disclose.”

The MHC has committed $35,000 to their annual marketing budget, so Allen has his hands full with different strategies to promote the commission. Some of these campaigns include eight different billboards along Interstate 90 targeting tourists in Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, television and radio advertisements between Butte and Bozeman as well as seasonal advertising in the local newspaper.

Another potential advertising market Allen hopes to take advantage of is social media.

“It’s probably the fastest growing market ages 25 to 55,” he said. “When they Google Yellowstone Park, you can be one of the advertisers under Yellowstone Park where they can click on Virginia City to come visit.”

Allen said that 62 percent of out-of-state visitors come to see Montana’s national parks, which amounts to approximately 10.2 million people. Another notable figure Allen gave was that 71 percent of people own a smartphone.

“From my experience that’s definitely going to be an essential segment that we have to capitalize on,” he said.

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