News

Tourism Apps - Updated

17 May 2011

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board has recently completed a project to fund the development of mobile phone applications (Apps) to encourage more people to get out and about in Northern Ireland. The Federation was involved in the initial assessment of some applications and believes this is an important direction for the industry to be heading.

The mobile Internet is fast becoming the most important way of getting your product in front of your customers. Smartphone sales are growing at 300% to 400% per annum and now represent 47% of all mobile phone sales in Western Europe, up from 28% only a year ago.

What this means is that your customers are increasingly using their phones to find out about your property, book rooms online and find things to do in your area. The Federation will be looking further at these developments at Hospitality Exchange in October so keep an eye out for the conference programme later this year.

View Ranger
What is it: Outdoor navigation tool with Ordinance Survey maps from OSNI along with walking routes from CAAN/WalkNI. It also functions as a standard GPS navigation device.
Review: This is a well-developed App with some excellent content but is a bit confusing for a beginner to grasp. Buttons and screens are not always consistent but it is quite effective once you understand its operation. Might not be an easy sell to a beginner or to a tourist just looking for some walking maps. Three Stars.
Platforms: iPhone/iPad 3G (now), Android (maps now, content soon), Symbian (maps now)
Price: £1.79 (inc two maps, additional cost for extra map tiles, walk routes free)

Pocket Northern Ireland
What is it: Travel guide to Northern Ireland with photos and text of major attractions. Contains some video and audio information as well.
Review: This App has some good content but it is let down by a bad layout and confusing navigation. There is a need to scroll through every topic just to get to one article and the map is bizarre. Rather than using conventional pinch zoom and one finger scroll to move around (like the View Ranger App and every other iPhone map), it has a unique and very hard to understand system all of its own. The font size used throughout the App is also far too big - it just means more scrolling than is necessary. One Star.
Platforms: iPhone/iPad 3G (now), Others (to follow)
Price: £0.59 (currently free on promotion)

Take a Hike Northern Ireland
What is it: A way of finding walking routes throughout Northern Ireland.
Review: The latest version of this App is much improved from the first release. The map function works well using the inbuilt Google Maps and the navigation around the App is slick and reasonably well thought out. There are a lot of walks to choose from but only a few have the premium content which includes detailed routes and waypoints. Some of these are provided free while others are charged at 59p each. Unfortunately, the featured walks do not seem to appear in the general list of walks and there is no way of previewing their content or route before spending your 59p. Hopefully, further updates will improve this App even more. Three Stars.
Platforms: iPhone/iPad 3G (now), Others (to follow)
Price: Free, £0.59 for premium walks

My Tour Talk
What is it: Walking and driving audio tours of Northern Ireland and many of the major attractions.
Review: Excellent layout and user controls with quality audio. This App really impresses. It has a clear unfussy layout that is simple to use and with enough detail to make it very useful. The map function is an add-on to Google maps and works very well. Toggle switches turn on tour locations, attractions, restaurants and hotels. The number of cafes can get too much and there are a few gaps in the hotel listings but a good effort. The tours themselves seem well thought out and comprehensive. There are eight broad areas at launch with many sub-attractions within each tour. The only criticsm here is the cost of the tours and the lack of any free trial or taster. But all in all, a thoroughly recommended App for locals and visitors alike. Four Stars.
Platforms: iPhone/iPad (now), Android (June)
Price: Free for App, £1.79 to £3.99 for each audio tour

Book a hotel

Find a list of hotels.

Read more

Say Hello to More

Spring Marketing Campaign.

Read more

Hospitality Exchange

Photos now online.

Read more