It may seem counter intuitive but by being part of a wider network rather than having a single town guide you can get increased coverage.
New visitors to a place on discovering an App are reluctant to download unless they can find free wi-fi. If they have it already installed then they are already enabled to discover your community.
It is still possible to have a version of MyLocalGuru that is a locally branded App but it just doesn't appear as such on an App store.
What do we get from joining?
Our app is a great way for local residents and visitors to discover the local area and for local businesses to engage with them using smart phones.
When a visitor or resident opens the app the starting page will reflect the branding of the town, local website or local places of interest. This is developed in partnership with local stakeholders. Some examples can be seen in the featured towns images.
Lists of where to eat, drink and stay are customised to ensure that local businesses are properly represented and details are up to date.
Comprehensive lists of validated attractions and places to visit.
Main local attractions run by the council or not for profit organisations get special treatment.
Lists of things visitors usually need
- Where can I use the toilet - public and toilet schemes?
- Where can I access wi-fi?
- Where can I find an ATM?
- Where can I park?
List of local amenities
Business directory that ensures local businesses in the BID area are include
We have a town website and we are on facebook why do we need an App?
Many towns do have some excellent websites, typically a tourist website run by or in partnership with the local council or one built by a local BID (Business Improvement District) team. Even when they are well designed, mobile friendly and have significant local content there are good reasons to still add your town to our “Network”:
- A mobile app is typically far easier to navigate than even the best website.
- Visitors tend not to search for websites. We hope our app is already installed and the user is familiar with it from using elsewhere.
- Our app is location aware. Search by distance, get directions, view on a map.
- We add significant value like local live music and events that many sites never include.
- Businesses can edit their details
- Organisations can add events for free
- All the local services businesses usually left out because they don't have a high street location are included.
The biggest reason is it’s great and it’s FREE. Some towns or BIDs pay thousands for a customised app. If you are a BID team needing to show value then this is a quick win.
How current is the data? I’m concerned information will soon be out of date?
We do create our own data but typically we source it from 3rd parties and then add value. These sources range from local councils for food hygiene to Google My Business.
- Businesses can maintain their own entry on Google or add themselves.
- We will remove or add businesses to our own database when a community informs us
- We can add links such as RSS or web links to local news sites, council sites, etc
- The police forces in England and Wales update their data monthly
- Food Standards Agency regularly updates its information from local councils
- Songkick is always current with local live music
- Eventbrite events are current and organisations can edit or add new events.
As it is our intention to work with local communities we hope that any issues of accuracy are passed to us.
There is the issue of closed businesses. We have no ability to remove old entries from Google other than informing them.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. What do you get out of this?
True. People find it hard to believe that so much is for free.
We are trying to build a network of towns. It works anywhere and can be used from New York to Ho Chi Minh city but our offering becomes more valuable to end users the more towns there are customised on the "Network". We also want people to know about us and the best way to do that is to get local communities promoting us to residents, visitors and other communities.
Everyone that wants to be on the app gets put on for free. Each entry is comprehensive. There is nothing so annoying than an app or website with a few paid for entries.
We include adverts on our app that help to fund its ongoing development.
Okay I'm interested but I am concerned that I will be dragged into a lot of work?
Initially all we want is for a local stakeholder to sponsor us so that a council, BID, local chamber of commerce or other retailers group will agree to partner with us. By partner we really mean just say they will help us validate our content, offer suggestions and then recommend us on their website and social media. No contract just friendly cooperation for mutual benefit.
We hope that many local groups and individuals will want to join in and offer suggestions or content we can include.
What other alternatives are there? Who else should we consider?
We are happy for you to put us to the test.
In terms of pure business directories there is always Yell and Yelp. Compare data results before we even start customisation.
There are some great free apps check out AroundMe the first in its class http://www.aroundmeapp.com
But these can not be localised and miss many of our additional features.
If you are a local entrepreneur there are a few franchise type operations:
https://www.townwizard.com US company and they have recently revamped their site and business. Pay a monthly fee at banded levels.
http://franchise.biglocalapp.com UK company. Recently started using Google as well and started using web app style technology. Only works in franchise locations. Location aligned to unitary councils.
For a customised town app with entry in stores then these are worth a look http://www.townguideapps.com They list some towns like Truro you can download and compare. They seem to use a bespoke database of local businesses. Their solution is a paid for solution.
There is always the option of a bespoke town app. There are many examples in tha app store but the quality is very variable.