Case Study: Gloucester the first UK destination to partner with Google Field Trip
In November 2014, Marketing Gloucester became the first UK destination management organisation (DMO) and the second in the world to work with Niantic Labs on their Field Trip app for Google.
Described as a virtual tour guide, Field Trip highlights the cool, hidden and unique elements of the world around you. Running in the background of smartphones, the app uses people’s current location to notify them of particular points of interest with a pop-up notification giving details about historical buildings and monuments, attractions, places to eat and much more.
After attending the 2014 Digital Tourism Think Tank Global conference in autumn 2014, Marketing Gloucester reached out to Niantic to explore the possibility of working together. A few months later, an agreement was signed to provide written content and photographs of fifty of Gloucester’s landmarks and historic buildings, becoming the second destination in the world after Oregon, USA to share content on the Field Trip platform.
Marketing Gloucester had already developed a free walking tours web app (gloucestertours.co.uk) for visitors with local company, Iconnet. It offered three themed 45-minute guided walks around the city. The partnership with Niantic would help take Gloucester’s 2,000 years of history and heritage to a wider audience, whilst embracing new technologies such as Google Glass, and today’s smartwatches and other wearables.
Niantic was a startup at Google, having already developed Ingress, a location-based augmented reality app that was released onto iOS and Android devices in July 2014. Ingress overlaid a science fiction plot over the real world and its gameplay combined elements such as geocaching with capture the flag. Niantic spun out of Google in October 2015 and entered into an agreement to develop apps for Nintendo, ultimately creating the hugely successful Pokemon Go. Gloucester quickly became a magnet for Pokemon Go players, having fifty content rich locations providing points of interest for the game. Marketing Gloucester recognised they was an above average number of locations attracting players to the city and encouraged businesses to engage with gamers and purchasing ‘lures’ to drive footfall to cafes.
Jason Smith Chief Executive at Marketing Gloucester Ltd. said; “It’s brilliant news that Niantic Labs are using Gloucester as the first UK city to test bed its city wide tour app "Field Trip". The fact that they have chosen Gloucester is a real testimony to our strengthened digital strategy and the fact that they have picked up on our current tour App, city wide Wi-Fi aspirations and high social media impact. It is a validation that we are pursuing the right strategy.”