Side Rail: New Seaside app a perfect tool for all

A new app opens a window into the world of Seaside.

A little over seven years have passed (July 11, 2008 to be exact) since the iPhone 3G launched and consumers started embracing (or ignoring — depending on your view) a world full of apps (short for applications). In 2009, Apple’s promotion of the iPhone included the phrase, “there’s an app for that,” when touting how much its popular device could handle, and use of the phrase became standard in pop culture.

After more than 100 billion app downloads (according to an Apple report in June of this year) for more than 1.4 million apps, I think we’d be hard pressed to find something that an app hadn’t been created for. It’s not just Apple either. Google Play, originally the Android Market, is a little over six-and-half-years-old and supports about the same number of apps.

Four years ago, Seaside took its first step into the world of apps. Led by the trail development of Seaside Naturally, at the time a Seaside Chamber of Commerce project, the app was designed to showcase the abundance of trails and bird-watching in the area. The app did pretty well, but we lost the ability to update information, and it slowly faded into the digital abyss.

Now, after a lot of analysis and continual thinking about the best way to get information to the public, we’ve launched a new app designed to be a quick, go-to source for both visitors and locals.

The application is not meant to be a replacement for our website or the other ways we interact with folks. Our e-newsletters, text offers and partner programs will continue to be used. What the app does is offer our most popular and engaging content in a condensed and very clean format. Tide tables, upcoming events, Seaside history and even a “Deals” section are quickly accessible using the app.

One of the most exciting features is our Audio Walking Tour, packaged nicely into six stops, with an accompanying map and in-app access to six video teasers of the historic locations. Click on the map view and you’ll see your current location mixed amongst six red dots. Those dots indicate the location where each audio tour takes place.

Also included are a list of all the lodging establishments, places to eat and ways to “See Seaside” (On the Ground, On the Water, On Wheels, From Above and With a License). A number of these categories are still being populated with content, but we believe we are well on our way to a nice companion piece to our website. I envision locals being drawn to it as much as visitors since I regularly get asked, by locals, where the best place to get a list of events is. The app also features push notifications, giving us the ability to let businesses offer something special and then “push” it out to those with the app installed.

You can download your own copy by visiting the Apple App or Google Play stores and searching “Seaside, Oregon.”

Have a thought or a question about tourism in Seaside, or maybe an idea for a future column? Drop me an email at jon@seasideor.com.

Jon Rahl is the director of tourism for the Seaside Visitors Bureau and assistant general manager of the Seaside Civic & Convention Center.

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