Fri, 24 May, 2024

Ncell App Camp: Mobile App on Tourism Sector

By Sameer Shrestha

We have been hearing this a lot. Nepal is a tourism country. It has the potential to appeal a lot of tourists from worldwide. Tourism can flourish a lot here and this is the area where there’s already money, we just have to dig it out. And there’s no doubt that this section has a hell lot of revenue. This sector alone generated revenue of about 32.45 billion and 31 billion dollars in 2011 and 2012 respectively in Nepal. And, that’s a lot of money! Tourism industry can do better if innovative tools could be deployed for providing proper information and for enabling tourists to plan their stay and travel across different destinations. Mobile technology can serve the industry greatly in this regard. Ncell has initiated an event to flourish this sector by providing a platform for developers to connect with the tourists and flourish the industry. An App Camp has been running for such purpose. As the organizers say, “We are looking for groundbreaking concepts, ideas and applications which will alleviate the problems existing in the tourism sector in Nepal.” Today’s world is a technology world and more specifically, the smart phone’s world. Since we are discussing on Tourism sector, let’s focus on tourists. Those tourists aka travelers use them (smart phones) a lot. They use them to find the location, book a hotel, reserve a place and pretty much plan everything. A data showed that 85% of the leisure travelers use smart phones while travelling abroad. We no longer need to cross the initial hurdle of convincing and educating these people for usage of mobile app; they are already there, we just need to push the right app. The top five usages of app during travel includes taking pictures, using maps, searching restaurants, searching activities and attractions and checking in prior to flights. A typical tourist visiting Durbar Square actually spends 15 minutes to see the cultural activities, events or monuments there and another half an hour using an application on their phones for either taking pictures or sharing them on social media or finding information about those monuments. Such applications come quite in handy. Gone are the days when the tourists had to buy a map from Thamel and ask locals from point to point to go out to the places. Now it’s all in the phone. You just need to go through flipping the screens. They had to depend on third parties like travel agencies and tour guides to have fun on vacations, but now it’s not really necessary. A smart phone can guide you alone efficiently. Tourists are there to spend the money; they want the best out of every penny they spend. A honeymoon couple would want to make every moment a memorable one, a pilgrim would not miss any religious place and a Gypsy would not want to miss any place that he/she could capture for rest of the life. See, as a free thinker, we just have to find and learn what the trend is, where the area is. We never think of building an app for specific targeted groups. We all think of developing for overall tourists. But this fact might change the view. In the past few years, there have been few changes on the statistics of the number of tourists visiting Nepal.  If we compare the number a decade back, Germany and USA would produce more number of tourist to Nepal followed by few European countries. But now this trend has changed. Nowadays our country welcomes more number of tourists from Asian Countries. These countries includes China, India, Thailand and several others where China tops the list followed by other Asian Countries. So seeing this trend, if we can focus our app on these people,  especially the Chinese tourists, we can flourish more. For instance do we see Chinese Tourists go to any other restaurants say “Thakali” for food? No! They would definitely go for Chinese restaurants or the Chinese Market (China Town) rather than a well suited Five Star hotel or super market, and they would already have known these locations in prior from their app. So why not develop a well suited app for their purpose to facilitate them? There’s an event launched by France to increase the number of tourists in Paris, an event called “ChaloParis” (Let’s Go to Paris). For this event, they have initiated various programs, events, apps. If we can do similar events via our app then we can generate a lot of revenue from these sources. One of the reasons the social media is popular is because the people have more interest on others than their own. 52% of Facebook users say photos posted by their friends inspired their holiday choices and travel plans, this shows that people are intrigued by what they see others doing. So if we can trigger those intriguing factors in our app we can connect more number of users. Different tourists have different needs, if there’s a Nepali Traveler all they need is “local kukhura” (chicken), ”dhedo”, “local Tharra” (drinks) and nothing beats that. A Spanish goes for the pubs where there’s Jazz music, Chinese go for Chinese. Things to be taken care of before building an app Don’t go for what there’s already there. Those are the already well-established products and concepts that you can’t even touch or modify. These are the giant products and they are huge. Example: Trip Advisor P.S. Via Trip Advisor you can plan and perfect your trip. As a developer, we have the tendency of providing over-flooded data as a part of information. We think it’s good to fetch a lot of data and present them to the users so that they can get as much as they can. But in reality, users do not want overflowed data; they just want a refined and reliable form. So rather than fetching too much information to perceive at once, we can divide and fetch in such a way that we don’t lose their interest. Users are the KINGS, they can crash your product or help lift your product. And at the same time, they are the IDIOTS who are not aware of what they really want, they have to be guided. You just have to manipulate or persuade them to use your application. Identifying the Audience Target is a great deal. Tourist or Travelers are there for different purposes like business, vacation, pilgrimage etc. Application can be built for these different purposes. Similarly, age group matters a lot. We can see the trend of different age groups like 16-25, 25-45, 45+, preferring selective apps. The young people are more into social media whereas the elder ones are on informative and use related applications. Experts and well established business tycoons in these fields cannot get away from the developing technology trends in these areas. They surely need to cope with the changing approach. If they find it valuable for their businesses, they will definitely be willing to fund and purchase our product. And last but not the least “Don’t forget the money $$$$”. There are different ways of generating money from the app. Paid App is the first one, but you don’t want to get on with too greed at first. Why would a user want to risk his/her $3.99 or even a $ to your app. You first want to get it for free and then charge for some extra features. Or, you can do some Advertisements on it without getting it too annoying. Source: From the seminar conducted at Ncell App Camp. 7th November 2014