Local News

Visitor maps not outdated in app age

Apps don't trump maps, tourism experts say both are needed

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - When it comes to serving tourists this summer you can't just throw all your resources into new technology and ignore the road map that's helped travelers for decades become familiar with Colorado Springs.

In this day and age when many people use their smartphones to find restaurants, bars and businesses they want to visit it seems illogical to spend money on updating paper maps, generally handed out for free.

"I'd never use a map," said Larry Kennard, a traveler from San Diego. "I can't say it's a bad use of money but I would never use it."

Kennard said he feels many people are comfortable with sites like Google or Mapquest and don't necessarily need to visit a city's website or visitor's bureau to get around an unfamiliar city like Colorado Springs.

Kennard traveled to Colorado for a Denver-area concert with his friend Cory Kochiyama. Kochiyama said even though he did a lot of online research on Colorado before visiting the Centennial state, he still likes to rely on a printed map if one is readily available.

"A lot of them have more information than just an app," said Cochiyama.

Both the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Downtown Partnership invest in maps and apps. Chelsy Murphy, with the CVB, said some visitors want variety and others want to stick to one or the other.

Murphy said one reason smartphone users prefer an app is because it uses the information from your phone to give you information on attractions that are close by.

"It's very visual and it targets where you're at," said Murphy. "If you're standing right here and you want know of somewhere to go eat or stay it's totally free."

Murphy said some people come into the CVB when friends are in town and insist on walking out with maps. Murphy said maps of Colorado Springs are also included in the 550,000 visitor guides printed every year.

"We cater to both groups of people the tech savvy and the ones who want to hold something in their hands," said Murphy.

Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership leaders said they find both forms of distributing information vital as well. Later this year the group plans on spending money to upgrade both printed maps for the downtown area and their online information.

Susan Edmondson pointed out that it's not just apps that can help visitors. She said one of the upgrades will focus on mobile-friendly maps that you don't have to download in order to utilize.

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