The Online Tour Guide to Northern Michigan
The Keweenaw Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (KCVB) in Keweenaw, Michigan is making vacationing easier than ever. In a popular, rural vacation destination of Michigan with large parts untouched by broadband, information about camping, lodging, restaurants, and events has formerly been scattered. In response, KCVB implemented an application that puts all of Keweenaw’s resources in one place, online—and you don’t even need an Internet connection to use it.
Located in the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the northernmost regions of the U.S. Covered in rich forests and hosting snowfall unlike anywhere else in the nation, Keweenaw is a mecca for sportsmen, skiers, hikers, campers, and outdoor adventurers of all types. This rural expanse is a large part of the attraction, yet it also fragments broadband access in the area. Visitors come to unplug and get away from their devices; however, inaccessibility makes planning a vacation itinerary more difficult. KCVB solved this problem by implementing a mobile app which, once downloaded, can be accessed even without an online connection.
“You need service to download it, but once it’s there everything is stored in the app so you don’t need an active connection,” said Amanda Oppe, Social Media and Marketing Manager for KCVB. Oppe was among the original Bureau members behind the app and entered the information that over 3,000 people are now using.
Available for Apple and Android users for free, the app went live in July of 2015 with approximately 2500 downloads projected for the year. In only four months, it surpassed 3,000, including tourists and residents alike. Some are visiting for the first time, others visit regularly during the winter or summer and others are residents rediscovering their home.
The app offers information on lodging, campsites, restaurants, nature trails, historic sites, events, shops, and more. When the user is not connected to the Internet, they can still use the app for turn-by-turn directions and to contact businesses. “They can literally touch the phone and the number comes up, so they don’t have to write numbers down,” said Oppe.
KCVB’s app was designed with visitors, residents, businesses and Keweenaw’s natural charms in mind. Push notifications go through the app to the user to inform them of special deals that businesses are hosting or to warn them of oncoming snowstorms. With the app now in place, KCVB plans to implement more features to make vacationing, buying, selling, and generally visiting this area easier.