Tourism Vancouver puts Olympic services in visitors’ pockets

Tourism Vancouver and HTC partner on free mobile app - with lots of ad opps - designed to make Games-going easier for newcomers to Vancouver.

Mobile tech co Satsports, cell phone maker HTC and Tourism Vancouver have announced the launch of a free mobile application for January 2010.

The app was developed to assist visitors, athletes and event staff in Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Users will be able to look up directions, receive live updates on event time changes or competition updates and check out weather reports and Games-centric news flashes.

Available Jan. 1, 2010, the app will be promoted by Tourism Vancouver and its partners, including hotels and participating mobile service providers. Event staff hired by Tourism Vancouver will be given app-loaded HTC mobile devices in January.

Jean-Claude Baumgartner, managing director of Satsports, told MiC that ‘many’ advertising opportunities will be available on the app and more are being developed going forward. They are hoping to cover the costs of the development of the app through ad sales.

The goal behind the app’s development, from a media strategy perspective, was to extend the Tourism Vancouver brand by supplementing the services Tourism Vancouver already provides online, on the ground and in print.

The app’s Windows Mobile and Android platform compatibility mean that it should be of use to about 30% of visitors to Vancouver during the Games. As Android’s availability grows in Canada – HTC has just released a new Android phone, the Hero – that number is expected to rise to around 48% over the next year, Baumgartner said.