Regional Cities Move to Mobile Apps

Visit Ballarat
Visit Ballarat

The growth in mobile in Australia cannot be underestimated with Google Australia recording 166% year-on-year growth since 2010 and regional cities are not wanting to be left behind. Regional city centres are already aware of the growing importance of mobile to their visitors and with this speed of mobile growth the City of Ballarat could not wait or depend on someone else to develop a suitable regional mobile app.

The solution was to start work with digital agency Next Digital to build their own custom app, as City of Ballarat wanted to ensure they had dedicated mobile app on their roadmap in 2011. After much development and testing, recently they launched their first mobile app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. So far everyone has been pleased with the adoption of the mobile app by both visitors and local businesses, it was released free and available to download here.

Visit Ballarat
Visit Ballarat

Purpose of the mobile app The main purpose behind their mobile app was to both improve the exposure of their community events and grow regional tourism, but it was important to ensure the app also satisfied both local operators that their business could be found online but also visitors going to Ballarat who were seeking information directly from their mobile.

The app has given visitors to the city of Ballarat a more engaging experience by offering them easy process for finding things to do in Ballarat within a dedicated mobile app. The iTunes app allows both residents and visitors to quickly find local places to:

  • Eat
  • Drink
  • Shop
  • Play
  • Party

The iPhone app also needed the functionality to quickly find locations near the visitor or see where attractions were in relation to Ballarat. While there are many mobile apps focus on capital cities, this app was one of the first to be built purely focused on a regional tourism area.

Visit Ballarat
Visit Ballarat

The feedback from local operators was that they wanted a shopping functionality where both locals and visitors could browse the local shops to find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily. Since more Australian’s are buying smart phones everyday the decision to move to mobile was both a necessary but also smart move to boost regional tourism.

Make mobile useful for everyone

Part of the requirements was to balance the simplicity of mobile but provide enough details about the local attractions and businesses that both locals and visitors would want to use the platform. The app offers a the user a basic description of the business or attraction but ensures for additional information such as opening hours is easily visible. Each listing also has 4 quick access buttons which allow

  1. add listing to you favourites (my tour)
  2. get directions to business
  3. share location with others
  4. get contact details of business
Visit Ballarat
Visit Ballarat

Make custom tours possible One of the primary functions of their main website was the ability for visitors to create itineraries for when they visit Ballarat. The local tourism body wanted the ability for anyone using the mobile app to also create a custom tour based on their favourites list.

  1. add listing to you favourites (my tour)
  2. get directions to business
  3. share location with others
  4. Get contact details of business

Make custom tours possible

One of the primary functions of their main website was the ability for visitors to create itineraries for when they visit Ballarat. The local tourism body wanted the ability for anyone using the mobile app to also create a custom tour based on their favourites list.

Visit Ballarat anytime

While it’s a great holiday destination and their mobile app makes exploring the goldfields regions around Ballarat you can check them out online when planning your next family holiday. There are plenty of plans ahead for expanding and improving their mobile app including listing Ballarat accommodation and upcoming events.

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