A significant hole in Newcastle’s tourism market has been filled with the release of two smartphone apps which are putting the city’s attractions at the fingertips of visitors.
Newcastle Now officially launched its new app on Monday. It uses the latest technology to pinpoint the exact location of the person using it and can then identify nearby services they’re looking for.
The app features information on city attractions, hotels, bars, restaurants and other services. Significantly, many of the businesses are featured in short, high quality videos which help the user decide on what attractions they want to see or what restaurant they’d like to visit.
Newcastle Now’s vice-chairperson Deb Mackenzie said the new app will continue being developed with future features likely to capitalise on emerging technology which would allow users to find vacant car parking spots in the city, directional walking trails and access to disability services.
‘‘This isn’t the first time someone has tried to provide a go-to place for information but they often fail because keeping content updated is a significant commitment,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ve factored this in to ensure the Newcastle Now app will have longevity and relevance.’’
The move comes as national group AskRoz prepares to launch similar apps tailored to the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Port Stephens and Hunter Valley markets. The apps are already available but AskRoz-Newcastle licensee Jeff Pyne said they operate differently in that they list all hotels, restaurants, attractions and community notices in the broader city area, and not just those who pay to be there.
A screenshot of the Ask Roz Newcastle app
The app also uses location technology and will be expanded in the future to include features which allow users to book the likes of restaurant tables and tee-off times at golf courses.
‘‘We’re doing things a bit in reverse,’’ Mr Pyne said, adding that the intention is to build up the AskRoz brand before attempting to earn an income through paid advertisements.
‘‘I think there is totally room for both apps in the Newcastle market. We’re only scratching the surface at the moment with this type of technology.’’