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Texas Tourism ropes in consumers with new mobile app

The Lone Star State's tourism department is targeting mobile users with its new travel application that enables them to plan and take trips.

The number of tourists who use mobile apps and devices is increasing rapidly. By launching its own app, Texas joins other states and destinations, which market themselves on multiple platforms.

"Often the mobile [device] is the first choice when planning a trip, looking for a flight or hotel and to share travel plans with friends and family," said Magnus Jern, president of the mobile app division of DMI, Bethesda, MD. "Therefore it's only natural that Texas and other states will reach out to their target audience with mobile services.

"More specifically, apps give them the added value that they can continue to engage with the customers during and after their visit to inspire and promote the next trip or encourage them to share with friends," he said.

Mr. Jern is not affiliated with Texas Tourism. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Texas Tourism declined to comment directly for this story.

Mobile moves
More than 50 percent of smartphone users access travel content, according to comScore.

A growing number of smartphone users also book travel with their devices (see story).

An app helps boost tourism in Texas and contributes to a steady increase in bookings and travel decisions being made via mobile.

In addition, the app allows the tourism department to cater to on-the-go consumers by making information easily accessible. The app also serves to capture memories while traveling. 

An increasing number of businesses and government agencies are leveraging mobile to their advantage. Other states may be looking to Texas now that it has launched its own app.

An app screenshot

Travel tips
Marketers should look for valuable, relevant and simple ways to share the vast amount of information and data available.
When creating its app, Texas Tourism sought to aid in organizing a person?s trip, and also incentivize exploration and discovery of new places while traveling.
The app was developed in conjunction with Texas Tourism?s advertising agency, Slingshot, LLC and app developers, Oven Bits.
The app benefits Texas Tourism by providing an additional resource and touch point for visitors, and allows them to access information easily and efficiently while visiting the state.
Texas Tourism has both a desktop and mobile Web site for consumers to access.
Because consumer travel research and planning continues to point to online, interactive and location-based mobile/tablet ads provide the best opportunity to precisely target based on demographic, psychographic and consumer-behavior information, which deliver key messaging to the most qualified consumers.

Marketer's strategies
The Texas Tourism campaign includes mobile advertising, pre-roll video and rich media.

The campaign also includes branded content tie-ins that are relevant to target audiences.

"As an entity that encourages exploration, travel and adventure, it makes sense for Texas Tourism to embrace the platforms that are most relevant in their audience?s lives," said Dale Carr, CEO of LeadBolt, Los Angeles. 

Mr. Carr is not affiliated with Texas Tourism. He commented based on his expertise.

"By building a mobile app that provides a personalized experience and gives users a useful tool to help them discover travel opportunities, Texas Tourism is embodying their brand."

Final Take
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York