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Rand McNally maps out mobile strategy with QR codes

Rand McNally is recruiting mobile to enhance the functionality and drive engagement for its latest road atlas via QR codes and a new mobile application.

To meet the needs of the increasingly connected car traveler, the new edition of the Rand McNally Road Atlas includes QR codes on several pages, enabling readers to access additional content such as suggested road trips. There is also a new smartphone app called Best of the Road that enables readers to share reviews on specific destinations by linking to the online Best of the Road community.

?Mobile allows the Atlas to be better used as a trip-planning device, allowing for up to the minute information to be communicated,? said Jennifer Cavallo, product manager for the Road Atlas line at Rand McNally, Skokie, IL.

?While on the road, mobile content can be helpful for discovering close-by and unique stops, emergency services, and other information on the road ahead,? she said. ?We also plan to use QR codes on our state maps, beginning this summer.?

An evolving strategy
The new app enables users to participate in Rand McNally?s Best of the Road program, which is taking place this summer, by sharing destination reviews and place nominations for the best small town. It is currently available for the iPhone and will soon also be available for Android smartphones.

Users of the app can read reviews of the best small towns and view photos, blogs and bios from They can also find nearby points of interest, watch videos from the 2011 Best of the Road Rally and browse over 250 road trips.

Best of the Road is a community of road travelers reviewing the best stops on America?s roads, nominating the best small towns and discussing points of interest along the way.

The QR codes provide instant access to travel videos and state-by-state overviews with suggested road trips. Users can also scan a QR in the road atlas to access the Best of the Road user review app.

Rand McNally has been using QR codes in its road atlas for several years and continues to evolve the strategy.

?The QR codes allow us to easily direct the user to rich content such as videos, specific editorial, and up-to-the minute destination information,? Ms. Cavallo said.

Essential planning tool
According to the publisher, the QR codes on the front cover of the atlas receive the most scans. QR codes can also be found on the coupons page, the U.S. overview map and all state map pages.

Having QR codes enables the publisher to update offers on the coupon pages and tailor information to a specific place.

Travel-related brands such as Rand McNally are increasingly embracing mobile because of the convenience it offers busy travelers who are looking for a restaurant, hotel or other destination when they are on they are traveling.

?We continue to evolve the integration of the atlas to other media in order to increase the relevance to the end user, and make the Atlas an even more essential planning tool,? Ms. Cavallo said.