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Tampa Bay Online boosts tourism, news content through Republic National Convention app


TBO.com's RNC Mobile Guide app

Tampa Bay Online is using a mobile application to help visitors find nearby attractions and keep up-to-date on news during the upcoming Republican National Convention.

Using a time-specific app such as this one is a great way for the news organization to interact with tourists on a deeper level. The app is available for free on both iPhone and Android devices.

“We wanted to help the visitors coming to Tampa Bay for the Republican National Convention find the best things to do while they are here,” said Rachel Riley, product manager of revenue initiatives at TBO.com, Tampa.

“Our visitors will be here for a short time, so the RNC Visitors Guide app contains recommendations from our newsroom for some of the best places to eat and play in Tampa and enjoy everything our area has to offer during their stay,” she said.

Mobile visits

When consumers open the app, they are prompted by being asked if it is OK to use their location to find nearby attractions.

The app is split into five different sections that are stacked on the homepage that include history on Tampa Bay, maps, things to do, news and weather.

The nightlife and dining content is pulled from TBO.com.

Users can find nearby hotels and directions

Additionally, consumers can stay up-to-date with news from the Republican National Convention from the news Web site via the app. Consumers can also find nearby hotels, view planned road closures and commonly asked questions about the convention.

The app is ad-supported with banner ads from local businesses such as Ceviche, a tapas bar and restaurant in Tampa.

Information to visitors about recommendations and maps are also available on TBO.com’s mobile site — http://www.tbo.com/.

Must-have travel companion

Using an event-specific app is a smart move for TBO.com, especially to target visitors.

A recent study from Four Points by Sheraton found that 74 percent of business travelers said that their smartphone was the No. 1 device they carry with them, for example. (see story).

For a news organization, this presents an opportunity to bundle content into snack-sized bits that users can easily keep up with while on the go.

TBO.com is not the only news organization rolling out an app for the political national conventions.

CNN and Time have also launched an iPad, iPhone and Android app that lets users keep tabs on breaking news from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions (see story).

“Mobile is becoming increasingly important for us as we consider new avenues of providing news content, information, entertainment and advertising products to our audience,” Ms. Riley said.

“More people are going to their mobile and tablet devices for information, and we want to make sure we are there to fulfill that need,” she said.

Final Take

Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Politics, mobile marketing, mobile, Tampa Bay Online, Rachel Riley

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