Port Hope taps marketing team to launch tourism app

March 29, 2017

PORT HOPE — Last year, the Pokemon Go craze took over Port Hope.

This summer, town hall’s marketing team is hoping a new homegrown app will have a similar affect on locals.

The municipality has partnered with a Toronto-based digital agency to produce a new bilingual tourism app using similar beacon technology utilized by Pokemon Go to assist tourists visiting Port Hope.

In essence, the app will guide users along the Ganaraska River to highlight fishing hot spots, scenic photo locations and picnic locales, along with restaurants, shopping outlets and other activities.

The app will be available for users to download on their phones and will offer information on the history of the fishery, the importance of the river and possible links to the Ministry of Natural Resource and Fisheries’ fish webcam located at Corbett’s dam (it’s been investigated).

The app will also be available in Mandarin in an effort to engage with the growing group of foreign-speaking tourists.

If all goes as planned, the app will be available in August, marketing manager Kevin Narraway told Northumberland News.

On March 21, committee of the whole supported the development of the app and approved a grant application under the Rural Economic Development Program for the amount of $53,250 to facilitate the cost of marketing and promoting the app in conjunction with the Toronto-based agency Cundari Group Ltd.

In total, the app is expected to cost $107,000 and will have no cost to town hall or taxpayers. Cundari Group Ltd. offered to develop the app pro-bono for town hall, Narraway noted. He said he received a cold call from the company who were seeking place-based marketing opportunities when they landed on a discussion about beacon technology.

“I told them my dream was to create an app with beacon technology,” he said in an email to Northumberland News. “You’ll recall Pokemon Go. Same technology.”

The agency provided a quote and specifications, Narraway said, “but it was too much money.

“They liked the direction we were heading in terms of visitor engagement and data collection,” he continued, “and offered to do the work pro bono and to build a case study.”

According to Narraway’s report, Cundari Group Ltd. will retain ownership of the app and will partner with the municipality to gather outcomes and details to potentially market a similar app to other municipalities.