Smartphone users are spoiled when it comes to on-the-move information. Lost in the city? Just access Google Maps and you’ll know exactly where you are. Need a bar? Look up a few in the area and choose which one you want according to the reviews. Now Cathay Pacific Airways and the Hong Kong Tourism Board, in conjunction with McCann Erickson and XS2Theworld, has created an app that does all of this in one place, and a lot more besides.

A world class app for a world class city

Cathay Pacific has been a frontrunner in offering mobile services to its customers. Since the CX Mobile application was launched in April 2009, the reach of the application has been extended to many different mobile platforms.

Dutch mobile marketing and mobile application building specialist XS2Theworld, fresh from creating successful apps for the Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hague Tourist Boards, was brought on board by Cathay Pacific and McCann Erickson to develop a market-leading app that would give tourists on an eye-opening journey through the city.

McCann Erickson Cathay Pacific Central Team is a dedicated team of through-the-line specialists based in Hong Kong with extensive experience in developing and managing global integrated communications campaigns.

Augmented realist: a window onto Hong Kong

The app has two functions: to showcase the beauty and variety of Hong Kong and to make sure visitors can navigate their way through the city easily, finding the best sights, spots, museums, bars and restaurants.

What’s more, all the content is held within the device, which means no expensive data roaming charges. The augmented reality function satisfies both of these requirements.

Sander Munsterman, CEO of XS2Theworld, explains: “With augmented reality you get a beautiful, high resolution image of the area or hotspot you want to reach, to wet your appetite and help you decide whether you really want to make a visit. You can also walk through the city using augmented reality mode, so everything you encounter is revealed to you with a narrative, almost as if you have a guide right there with you.”

In collaboration with McCann Erickson who were responsible for the overall design for the app, as well as user experience enhancement, and taking in content relating to the city delivered by Cathay Pacific and HKTB, XS2Theworld created an interface that would make sense of 7,000 points of interest and their related data.

The developers were able to create filters that help visitors flick through irrelevant data easily, such as filtering by distance or what’s around them, and searching restaurants by cuisine. The app is also available three languages, traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese and English. In conjunction with an extensive set of maps, which can be accessed off line, tourists need never be short of somewhere fascinating to visit.

The appetite for city guide apps seems to be healthy. XS2Theworld’s Amsterdam city app has achieved 150,000 downloads in two years, and the company is expecting even greater popularity for the Hong Kong city app.