VIRGINIA CITY – One of the newest marketing strategies for attracting seasonal tourists to Madison Counties’ rich history is up and running, and early indications suggest the Virginia and Nevada Cities smartphone application will bring even more people to the area this summer.
Since it launched earlier this month the “Mobile Guide to Virginia City and Nevada City Montana” has had more than 1,900 downloads, said Elijah Allen.
Allen is the new business and development manager and created the Virginia and Nevada Cities app this winter. While the program is still being developed and constantly updated, Allen said by this summer the app will be running at full speed.
“It’s still kind of in the beginning stages,” Allen said. “A lot of businesses have been picking it up.”
The iTunes App Store says the program “helps travelers find things to do, places to stay, places to eat and experience the many fun attractions at Virginia and Nevada City, Montana.” Users can take an audio tour of the different historic buildings in the area, as well as information about the current business in that particular location such as hours, prices and accommodations.
“It will display everything that business wants to display,” Allen said.
Although the app focuses on Virginia and Nevada Cities, Allen said it will also include businesses around the entire county.
“There are a lot of them that are not necessarily tied to Virginia City, but we’re trying to do it from the counties’ perspective,” he added. “Everyone benefits from our attraction.”
The inspiration for the Virginia and Nevada Cities smartphone application comes from the rapidly expanding and ever changing world of e-commerce. Many people look to the convenience of available technology to go about their daily business, whether they’re going to work or taking a vacation.
“Nobody picks up a phone book anymore, they Google it,” Allen said. “E-commerce is definitely the way to go.”
With a new way of attracting tourists and potential consumers to the area, Allen says the app could help promote a much-needed boost to the local economy.
“I firmly believe it will definitely help,” he said. “With marketing you’ve got to go on all cylinders.”
The app will also utilize QR scan codes, a small square of patterned black and white pixels similar to a bar code. A scan code can be assigned to anything with a URL address, and when smartphone users scan the code they are instantly directed to the website for that particular code. Codes can be printed in newspapers and magazines, and each business in Virginia and Nevada City will have its own scan code.
“It’s very effective for advertising because you can’t put everything on a print ad or an 8 by 10,” Allen said. “It takes you to the website which can offer a lot more.”
Allen said the growing number of people with smartphones is a creating a new demographic for marketing potential, especially with the influx of summer tourists that come through Madison County.
“They’re not going to be looking at the radio and they’re not going to be looking at the TV,” Allen said. “It’s just the market we need to go after.”