Ensuring the longevity of a key visitor experience
The City Visitor Trail app is a digital placemaking visitor experience that enables users to explore London’s famous Square Mile on foot through a series of fascinating routes, itineraries, personal insights and stories. Created for the City of London Corporation, the app has remained a key part of the City’s visitor experience since its conception. It launched in 2014 and its longevity is testament to its value to the area.
Exploring the ancient heart of the capital
From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, the City is a glorious maze of attractions, all within easy walking distance of each other. The City Visitor Trail app enables visitors and locals alike to discover over 40 iconic landmarks, such as the historic Tower Bridge or the Guildhall Art Gallery. The easy & accessible walking trails encourage visitors to stop, look around and discover places that they might otherwise miss.
Users can explore the area with a choice of 6 trails: Culture Vultures, Law & Literature, London Stories & People, Main Trail, Roman London, and Skyscrapers & Sculpture. There is also a separate Children’s Trail map available (delivered in partnership with Open City) featuring three child-friendly walking routes, with stop-off and rest points, hidden histories to discover, collectable stickers to pick up at attractions en route, plus fun activities and games.
You can listen on the go as you walk around the City, as the app tracks your location to bring up the right content at the right time. Or you can enjoy in “armchair” mode; listening from a distance to enjoy fascinating stories about the City of London.
Like many organisations, the City of London visitor team are busy juggling many different projects. Finding time to add new audio stories and keep the information up to date can be a challenge for an overstretched team. The app continues to be a valuable service for visitors to London, but the team at City of London needed a solution to ensure its longevity.
Moving the app onto Calvium’s pioneering digital placemaking platform, the Place Experience Platform, provided an opportunity to do just this.
Calvium ported the content and main features of the City Visitor Trail into a more up to date app template design; to expedite the work we adapted an existing design in the Place Experience Platform. Moving the app to this new platform has ensured that it will remain a key part of the area’s visitor experience. It also allows the City of London team extra editorial freedom over the content of the app.
Place Experience Platform
The Place Experience Platform allows the area’s place managers to take control of the app’s content, updating it in real-time as they desire, 24/7.
We seamlessly transferred the system that underpinned the City Visitor Trail app, without disrupting any of the content already available. Moving the system has kept the underlying code secure for longer and enabled the client to update content themselves.
Mobile apps require the same care as any other digital product to stay relevant. As part of the Place Experience Platform offer, Calvium has hosted the City Visitor Trail app on our developer account and will cover maintenance of the app; dealing with the yearly Apple & Google system updates to keep the app in top-shape and avoid unexpected bugs creeping in as time goes by. This takes some of the pressure off the City of London team.
With the City Visitor Trail now supported by the Place Experience Platform, the team at City of London are able to update content as they please, keeping it aligned with other campaigns or marketing materials, such as the printed map.
Calvium also implemented new capabilities to the app, such as the ability to add and remove toilet information, to ensure that content is relevant and up to date. We also added the capability to set a date and time period within which to display a pop up message every time the app is started. This message can alert the user to Covid rules or promote an event in the area. For example, if there is a two-for-one offer on tickets at Tower Bridge in the month of May the app can display this message when the app is opened throughout the May period.
Having been trained on the Place Experience Platform CMS, the City Visitor Trail marketing team have now refreshed the content available in the app, increased its prominence across their social channels, and it will play a key part in the UK’s ‘Escape the Everyday’ campaign in 2021.
Our mobile-first world demands that visitors are able to satisfy their desire to engage with a place through digital placemaking experiences. The City Visitor Trail has demonstrated how the unique characteristics of a place can be harnessed to support place-based growth over time.
One of the great things that projects such as City Visitor Trail shows is that, while digital is fast-moving, good storytelling and engagement with place endures.
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