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How to Build a Mobile Tourism Calendar to Market Events

AXSES INC
AXSES INC
AXSES INCCEO AXSS INC at AXSES INC

http://youtube.com/watch?v=3SCsoGoOPZs | First in a series on Mobile travel Technology: This white paper describes the process of building the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia events calendar. Its an overview of the mobile technology of www.WhatsOnInBarbados.com, the Calendar of things to do in Barbados. Used by Travelers and locals looking for restaurants, events, festivals, music shows, and tours

How to Build a Mobile Tourism Calendar to Market Events

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M   O     B I            L       E             C       A       L      E       N       D       A   R
            F O             R             T       O       U       R       I      S       M
       making events and attractions instantly available everywhere




CASE STUDY: BARBADOS MOBILE CALENDAR APP




                       BARBADOS TOURISM ENCYCLOPEDIA

                            TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS

                                                 2012




        P O B o x 1 6 B • A X S E S S C I : 2 4 6 4 2 9 2 6 5 3 • • w w w. B a r b a d o s . o r g
Project Background
What’s On In Barbados began as a section of the http://Barbados.org website from as far back as
1997, highlighting the top events taking place in the Caribbean island of Barbados including the
annual jazz festival, Holders Season of theatre, opera and drama, Crop Over summer carnival,
and the winter Open Houses and Open Gardens programmes. The calendar was primarily de-
signed for and used by visitors to the island.

Over the years Axses recognized that visitors to the island were increasingly interested in more
than just the major island festivals. In particular long stay visitors known as ‘snowbirds’, who stay
on the island for several months between December and April to escape the cold at home,
wanted to attend local events on a regular basis. Barbadians too were turning to the Web to find
out what events were taking place on the island.

In July 2010, Axses began distribution of the What’s On In Barbados weekly newsletter. From an
initial subscriber base of 4,000 subscribers the newsletter has grown to 16,000 subscribers -
comprising locals and visitors. The newsletter is eagerly awaited by subscribers each Thursday
morning and it is actively used to plan weekend and vacation activities!

Newsletter archive:
http://www.icontact-archive.com/cm/cO_IP76CIhvABwBBxKHo7oEJRTVWDoDq34q5MeqNgYyp
emGjhJdP-A==?w=3

In December 2011, Axses relaunched the What’s On In Barbados website. New features included
an improved user interface, extensive search capabilities (by event name, event category and
subcategory, by day, and by month), photos and other media, and mapping.

Acknowledging the reach of social media, What’s On In Barbados’ next technology release was a
Facebook app and page. The page highlights a special event each day, delivering that event di-
rectly to fans timelines. The app gives complete access to each day’s events and is installed on
many pages within Facebook including those of local hotels:

https://www.facebook.com/WhatsOnInBarbados/
https://www.facebook.com/YellowBirdBarbados/app_186042386260
https://www.facebook.com/PeachAndQuietBarbados/app_253849921328065
https://www.facebook.com/BarbadosBeaches/app_253849921328065
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palm-Garden-Hotel-Barbados/163990416972262

The next logical step was the creation of a mobile app that would allow users to quickly access
the events calendar while on the go.




B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A!                            M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m


                                                                 1
see details, save book

search for events & attractions by type name                                      get directions view locations

date etc


Technology

The initial goal was to launch a mobile app for the Blackberry platform, given the popularity of that
mobile OS in the local market. However as the project lifecycle progressed the Android platform
began to emerge as the platform of choice in both the smartphone and tablet markets.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_operating_system#Market_share




Axses has always been as an agile company and quickly shifted its focus from the Blackberry
platform to a more device-agnostic approach that would use a one-development, multi-packaging
strategy to deliver apps to multiple platforms.

This approach utilized HTML5 and the jQuery mobile touch-optimized framework in conjunction
with PhoneGap Build. This methodology leveraged the existing web development skills of the pro-
ject team to create a core app that could be easily packaged to target multiple platforms including
iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, webOS and Symbian.


B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A!                                     M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m


                                                                              2
While the single codebase was a huge step towards increased productivity and ease of develop-
ment it was recognized by the project leader that wherever possible native features should be
included to creative an experience most familiar to users on their respec-
tive platforms.

An example of this is the application date picker. While a standard widget
can be used across multiple platforms, the decision was taken to include
an Android-style widget for the initial release of the Android app.

The initial release of the app targeted the Android platform, while also
including WebOS, Symbian and Windows Phone. Within the first 2
weeks of release, the What’s On app has been installed nearly 50 times
via the Google Play app store and is steadily making its way up the list of
Barbados apps.

The iOS and Blackberry versions will be released in January 2013.

Ease of Use

Any mobile app needs to be intuitive and fast. A hallmark of the jQuery mobile framework is its
lightweight code and consistent design, making it the perfect technology match for this applica-
tion.

This framework is used by a number of high profile companies including Ikea and Disney World
and by educational institutions such as Stanford University.

The app uses progressive enhancement and responsive web design to adapt to users devices,
orientations and screen resolutions delivering an optimal experience on phones, tablets and e-
readers. For example on smaller smartphone devices, several icons are removed from the screen
leaving room for more critical event information.

The user interface is relatively simple, aimed at getting users quickly to the information that they
want and need on their mobile. The app supports a browse-type experience with lists of daily
events and highlighted monthly featured events. For users who know the type of events they want
to research there are friendly search features by event name and by event type (sports, arts, mu-
sic, food and drink, etc.).

jQuery mobile was again a help in this regard as it uses CSS3 properties such as text-shadow
and gradients to produce a polished, custom branded interface that is consistent with expecta-
tions of mobile users.


Content

In addition to being fast and easy to use, any successful mobile app must have decent content.
‘Content is king’ is still true! This is where the What’s On In Barbados mobile app really stands
B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A!                          M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m


                                                         3
out. The calendar is updated daily and any
changes and additions to the calendar’s database
are immediately accessible in the app.

To source event information the What’s On In Bar-
bados content manager maintains close ties with
entertainers, event promoters and managers of lo-
cal entertainment venues. The press, TV, radio and
social media are also carefully researched daily to
identify suitable activities and add them to the
What’s On calendar.

Event promoters often submit their events directly to
the What’s On editor, either directly via e-mail or
through the online event submission form at




http://whatsoninbarbados.com/whatsoninbarbados-submit.php

Future Enhancements

Technology is changing and improving at a furious pace. Android has surged to 75% of the
smartphone OS market in the 3rd quarter of 2012; expect Apple to fightback with improved prod-
uct offerings in 2013; while Blackberry is losing marketshare its instant messaging service and
enterprises services are strong worldwide; and Windows is the latest player to make a serious
push in the mobile space with the release of Windows Phone 8.

User expectations of mobile apps will also continue to increase as mobile bandwidth becomes
cheaper and WiFi connections more accessible worldwide.

What’s On In Barbados app will continue to be upgraded to keep pace with these changes.


Technology licenses

The platform is cloud based and integrates the desktop with multiple mobile systems and devices. The entire
platform may be licensed and integrated with any website or travel portal. for more information contact us:




Document by Kathy-Lynn Ward, COO Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia.

Contact 246 429 2653
B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A!                               M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m


                                                         4
B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A!       M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m


                                                         5
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How to Build a Mobile Tourism Calendar to Market Events

  • 1. M O B I L E C A L E N D A R F O R T O U R I S M making events and attractions instantly available everywhere CASE STUDY: BARBADOS MOBILE CALENDAR APP BARBADOS TOURISM ENCYCLOPEDIA TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENTS 2012 P O B o x 1 6 B • A X S E S S C I : 2 4 6 4 2 9 2 6 5 3 • • w w w. B a r b a d o s . o r g
  • 2. Project Background What’s On In Barbados began as a section of the http://Barbados.org website from as far back as 1997, highlighting the top events taking place in the Caribbean island of Barbados including the annual jazz festival, Holders Season of theatre, opera and drama, Crop Over summer carnival, and the winter Open Houses and Open Gardens programmes. The calendar was primarily de- signed for and used by visitors to the island. Over the years Axses recognized that visitors to the island were increasingly interested in more than just the major island festivals. In particular long stay visitors known as ‘snowbirds’, who stay on the island for several months between December and April to escape the cold at home, wanted to attend local events on a regular basis. Barbadians too were turning to the Web to find out what events were taking place on the island. In July 2010, Axses began distribution of the What’s On In Barbados weekly newsletter. From an initial subscriber base of 4,000 subscribers the newsletter has grown to 16,000 subscribers - comprising locals and visitors. The newsletter is eagerly awaited by subscribers each Thursday morning and it is actively used to plan weekend and vacation activities! Newsletter archive: http://www.icontact-archive.com/cm/cO_IP76CIhvABwBBxKHo7oEJRTVWDoDq34q5MeqNgYyp emGjhJdP-A==?w=3 In December 2011, Axses relaunched the What’s On In Barbados website. New features included an improved user interface, extensive search capabilities (by event name, event category and subcategory, by day, and by month), photos and other media, and mapping. Acknowledging the reach of social media, What’s On In Barbados’ next technology release was a Facebook app and page. The page highlights a special event each day, delivering that event di- rectly to fans timelines. The app gives complete access to each day’s events and is installed on many pages within Facebook including those of local hotels: https://www.facebook.com/WhatsOnInBarbados/ https://www.facebook.com/YellowBirdBarbados/app_186042386260 https://www.facebook.com/PeachAndQuietBarbados/app_253849921328065 https://www.facebook.com/BarbadosBeaches/app_253849921328065 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Palm-Garden-Hotel-Barbados/163990416972262 The next logical step was the creation of a mobile app that would allow users to quickly access the events calendar while on the go. B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A! M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m 1
  • 3. see details, save book search for events & attractions by type name get directions view locations date etc Technology The initial goal was to launch a mobile app for the Blackberry platform, given the popularity of that mobile OS in the local market. However as the project lifecycle progressed the Android platform began to emerge as the platform of choice in both the smartphone and tablet markets. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_operating_system#Market_share Axses has always been as an agile company and quickly shifted its focus from the Blackberry platform to a more device-agnostic approach that would use a one-development, multi-packaging strategy to deliver apps to multiple platforms. This approach utilized HTML5 and the jQuery mobile touch-optimized framework in conjunction with PhoneGap Build. This methodology leveraged the existing web development skills of the pro- ject team to create a core app that could be easily packaged to target multiple platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, webOS and Symbian. B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A! M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m 2
  • 4. While the single codebase was a huge step towards increased productivity and ease of develop- ment it was recognized by the project leader that wherever possible native features should be included to creative an experience most familiar to users on their respec- tive platforms. An example of this is the application date picker. While a standard widget can be used across multiple platforms, the decision was taken to include an Android-style widget for the initial release of the Android app. The initial release of the app targeted the Android platform, while also including WebOS, Symbian and Windows Phone. Within the first 2 weeks of release, the What’s On app has been installed nearly 50 times via the Google Play app store and is steadily making its way up the list of Barbados apps. The iOS and Blackberry versions will be released in January 2013. Ease of Use Any mobile app needs to be intuitive and fast. A hallmark of the jQuery mobile framework is its lightweight code and consistent design, making it the perfect technology match for this applica- tion. This framework is used by a number of high profile companies including Ikea and Disney World and by educational institutions such as Stanford University. The app uses progressive enhancement and responsive web design to adapt to users devices, orientations and screen resolutions delivering an optimal experience on phones, tablets and e- readers. For example on smaller smartphone devices, several icons are removed from the screen leaving room for more critical event information. The user interface is relatively simple, aimed at getting users quickly to the information that they want and need on their mobile. The app supports a browse-type experience with lists of daily events and highlighted monthly featured events. For users who know the type of events they want to research there are friendly search features by event name and by event type (sports, arts, mu- sic, food and drink, etc.). jQuery mobile was again a help in this regard as it uses CSS3 properties such as text-shadow and gradients to produce a polished, custom branded interface that is consistent with expecta- tions of mobile users. Content In addition to being fast and easy to use, any successful mobile app must have decent content. ‘Content is king’ is still true! This is where the What’s On In Barbados mobile app really stands B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A! M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m 3
  • 5. out. The calendar is updated daily and any changes and additions to the calendar’s database are immediately accessible in the app. To source event information the What’s On In Bar- bados content manager maintains close ties with entertainers, event promoters and managers of lo- cal entertainment venues. The press, TV, radio and social media are also carefully researched daily to identify suitable activities and add them to the What’s On calendar. Event promoters often submit their events directly to the What’s On editor, either directly via e-mail or through the online event submission form at http://whatsoninbarbados.com/whatsoninbarbados-submit.php Future Enhancements Technology is changing and improving at a furious pace. Android has surged to 75% of the smartphone OS market in the 3rd quarter of 2012; expect Apple to fightback with improved prod- uct offerings in 2013; while Blackberry is losing marketshare its instant messaging service and enterprises services are strong worldwide; and Windows is the latest player to make a serious push in the mobile space with the release of Windows Phone 8. User expectations of mobile apps will also continue to increase as mobile bandwidth becomes cheaper and WiFi connections more accessible worldwide. What’s On In Barbados app will continue to be upgraded to keep pace with these changes. Technology licenses The platform is cloud based and integrates the desktop with multiple mobile systems and devices. The entire platform may be licensed and integrated with any website or travel portal. for more information contact us: Document by Kathy-Lynn Ward, COO Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia. Contact 246 429 2653 B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A! M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m 4
  • 6. B A R B A D O S T O U R I S M E N C Y C L O P E D I A! M o b i l e C a l e n d a r s f o r To u r i s m 5