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iPhone App: Hawaii Aloha Travel
There is no shortage of big-name travel apps for mobile devices, and there are already more than a handful of Hawaii-specific apps out there. But the Hawaii Aloha Travel app was one I was glad to see. And geeks rejoice, it's available on both iPhone and Android platforms.
Bruce and Yaling Fisher, founders of travel firm Hawaii Aloha Travel, are well known in local social media circles. Not content to be seen as mere travel agents, they've tirelessly explored new technology and services to connect with people.
Notably, the team is not only focused on potential and regular customers looking to visit Hawaii, but also takes the time to work with island residents and businesses as well. I relied on them to help organize events for last year's last "LOST" premiere, and they've both sponsored and organized local events like the Twestival fundraiser.
And they are tireless promoters and creators of content. Bruce and Yaling host a popular Hawaii travel blog, host a regular live online video show, and release regular downloadable podcasts. And they are very active on Twitter and Facebook as well.
The app helps you keep up with it all.
"The main function of the app is to aggregate all of our content in one place so that people can easily get to all of it when they want to in real-time," Bruce said.
In a way, the app is an extension of what they're doing already, and Bruce said that they're largely taking an "organic approach" to how it will evolve. Still, an app allows them to do some things differently, reaching people in ways they haven't been able to before.
"I'm looking forward to using the push technology to reach out to our customers and core users, and offer them deals and things to do when they are in Hawaii," Bruce explains. "We have never been able to communicate with the customers that are already here, yet on any given day, we have 3-75 customers in the islands."
That's not a huge number of people, and Bruce says that he's not looking for a huge number of downloads.
"I am a narrow-caster so I do not need huge numbers for this to work," he says. "The measure of the success of this application will be in the feedback we get from users."
Otherwise, it's just another marketing tool, and will undoubtedly convert some users into customers. Whether it's an app, a live streaming video show, or a Facebook page, Bruce says everything they do helps them make sales eventually.
Bruce notes that the Hawaii Aloha Travel app isn't the first app he's done. He previously published an app based on his blog, built by MotherApp. But that app was simple and stagnated since there was nobody on staff available to work on it directly. He then decided to look at other options.
Bruce officially signed on with Mobile Roadie in December, and less than a month later, the app was released.
"The process with mobile roadie is very simple; they can make creating a app easy," Bruce says. "They have a backend that allows you to enable the functionality that you want, how the app will look and they take care of all the submission to android, iPhone and Blackberry."
He tells me he spent about $1,300 on the app itself, and that the real investment was the "sweat equity" needed to pull everything together, designing various elements, and now, promoting the app.
"Haven't figured the cost of that yet," Bruce laughs.