The Baraboo Chamber of Commerce has launched an app to give visitors a guide to restaurants, stores and attractions in the area.
The Visit Baraboo! app, which is available on both Android and iPhone platforms, features a map and list of attractions, hotels, stores, restaurants and events in the area, which can be viewed in full or searched by categories.
The app has a trip-planning feature that allows users to add places or events to a list or an itinerary for their trip. The app can be used as a GPS, and will give directional and distance information for users who are in Baraboo when using the app, said Ben Bromley, marketing and tourism coordinator for the Baraboo Chamber of Commerce.
“It has all the info for you there. You can say ‘OK, what’s a good restaurant nearby or where’s a good place to shop?’ You can see it all right there,” Bromley said. “You can plan your visit out.”
Users can share their trip plans via social media, email or text message from the app.
Lacey Steppes, vice president of Downtown Baraboo Inc and owner of Spa Serenity, said she was excited to have an additional opportunity to spread the word about small businesses in the area.
“Any time we launch a new platform that assists with tourism, it’s always helpful,” Steppes said.
Along with the app, the chamber launched a newly designed website, which aims to be more user friendly for visitors.
The website features a virtual tour of the city, which can also be accessed through the app, along with the usual resources for residents and business owners that are members of the chamber.
“We wanted to keep all the functionalities that are geared toward members, but we also want to make sure that the website was showing things for visitors, making sure they could find the things they wanted,” Bromley said. “We wanted to make sure right on that home page you see where to stay, where to shop, what to do, where to eat, all that good stuff. The idea is the website should be a driver of tourism.”
Bromley said the chamber is expecting the app to be widely used despite various cancellations and adjustments due to COVID-19, and is confident Baraboo and its businesses are doing what they can to keep visitors safe.
“One of our challenges is that we are in a position where we of course want to encourage tourism, but we also want to do so safely. We want people to come visit but we realize we cancelled our big events because that’s not safe right now,” Bromley said. “We’re trying to strike that balance, saying this is a safe place to visit. It’s a challenging time to roll out something like this.”
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