Traverse Traveler: In-Hand Marketing

iPhone ScreenIn Visual Marketing, we highlight Traverse Traveler, the iPhone application that has been downloaded by more than 5,000 visitors and locals to Traverse City, Michigan. The app allows visitors to learn more about local attractions, find them on the map and follow them on social media. Local businesses can post specials in the app and list events for free. The app is geo-location-based, which means visitors can find restaurants and hotels closest to them.

We asked owner Brandy Wheeler to share some insight into her brand’s success.

Wheeler owns Meal Tickets & Unusual Ideas, a company that provides “little card displays” in more than 70 hotels and wineries in the Traverse City area. Wheeler recognized that guidebooks, maps and brochures are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and wanted to provide useful information to visitors to her area through a mobile app. It is what she calls in-hand marketing: “What’s more convenient than something that fits in the palm of your hand?”

How Visual Marketing Plays In

Wheeler is a graphic designer by trade, and knew she needed to tie in the elements of her brand. She created custom illustrations for each icon, which took the shape of a tented card, just like the ones she places in hotels. She used purple for the primary app color to match the Meal Tickets & Unusual Ideas logo. There are very few apps with purple icons, so hers stands out on a crowded iPhone screen.

Each listing has a professional photo of the business, hotel, restaurant or shop, which adds to the visual appeal.

Unexpected Audience

Wheeler knew that visitors to the area would love the app, but what she didn’t bargain for was the number of locals who use the application.

“I’ve spoken with some of our Bed & Breakfast customers who really take the time to talk to their guests about what to do and where to go when they come to town. They love sharing our app with them. The maps make it easy for guests who aren’t familiar with the area to find restaurants and wineries that are off-the-beaten path,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler has plans for an iPad version of Traverse Traveler, as well as the Android release.