Using technology means changing with the times if tourism is to grow. And the newest change involves mobile websites that are user friendly for smart phones and tablets.
"More and more travelers now have smart phones, and they're planning on the fly," said Beth Conway, Convention and Visitors Bureau communications director. "Basically, you're traveling with your own computer when you have a smart phone.
"You could say it's like having your own Harry Potter portal."
The Museum Hill Bed and Breakfast, 1102 Felix St., has discovered that user-friendly sites for smart phones are already having a positive impact on their bottom line. The last two months have been reservation record-breakers, said John Courter, who owns the bed and breakfast with his wife.
It's automatically user friendly because they don't have to purchase a phone application, Mr. Courter said.
Website development cost the Convention and Visitors Bureau $30,000, but a mobile application that's user friendly for smart phones and tablets only cost $14,000.
Now, someone on the road with a smart phone or tablet can go to stjomo.com, and it automatically redirects the caller to the new mobile site. Callers can find current events, attractions, lodging and restaurants just by using a smart phone.
The bureau's user-friendly website had 2,054 unique visits from smart phones in June, Ms. Conway said.
And the numbers will be going up. According to Morgan Stanley Research, mobile users are expected to globally surpass computer users by 2014, Ms. Conway said.
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