Mastercard collaborates with London on smart city app for visitors
Mastercard and London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, have announced a new strategic partnership which will see the organisations combine their expertise to deliver smart solutions for the city. As part of the partnership, London & Partners and Mastercard have launched a mobile application to improve the visitor experience in London. The Visit London Official City Guide app will deliver personalised experiences, offers and uses real-time data to help visitors get around the city more efficiently and explore less busy areas of the city. It also brings payment capabilities with Masterpass to securely buy tickets to major attractions within the app.
According to recent research published in the Mayor of London’s tourism vision for London, there is a growing opportunity to increase visitor satisfaction through easier access to relevant tourist information. As an example, the survey of recent visitors to London revealed that their satisfaction improved when they were able to plan their dining experiences, with 57 per cent of respondents saying they were more satisfied when they undertook research, compared with 36 per cent satisfied when they hadn’t.
Additional findings from the London Visitor Survey showed that historic landmarks and architecture, attractions, parks and waterways, and museums and galleries all feature in the top five drivers for visiting the capital. The app provides timely and relevant content across culture, events, food, attractions, shopping and neighbourhoods, with ‘must see’, ‘nearby’ and ‘near me’ functionality enabling easy planning and booking.
Visitors to London also have a strong desire to explore areas outside of central London (zone 1) with almost three-quarters of visitors ventured outside the centre to get off the beaten track. The app will highlight some of London’s ‘hidden gems’ and allows visitors to create personalised maps and itineraries right across London, with the map available off-line.
The full version of the app is live, and now features the latest Mastercard digital payments technology to buy advance tickets and avoid queues. Masterpass has been embedded into the app, which simplifies shopping because users can store all of their card details in one secure place, and make their purchase in-app.
Drawing upon content from the official visitor guide to London, visitlondon.com, and Mastercard’s Priceless Cities programme, the app will help users explore everything that’s happening in London; browse hand-selected lists of the best things to do; find hidden gems and receive offers and discounts at attractions and restaurants.
Working with Transport for London (TfL), the Visit London app will also allow visitors find the most efficient, scenic and cost efficient route of getting across London.
“We’re working with more than 70 cities around the world to introduce better transport payment systems, removing tickets to ease congestion. London leads the way here, but it still has an opportunity to make its 19.1 million visitors’ lives even easier. Why should so many people have to visit so many websites to plan their schedule when they can do it with one app that even allows them to book and pay for everything they need? This is what we want to solve with London & Partners,” said Jason Lane, executive vice president – European market development, Mastercard.
Andrew Cooke, acting CEO, London & Partners and VisitLondon, said, “London is one of the world’s leading tourist destinations and remains open to visitors from all over the globe. We see a fantastic opportunity to use technology to improve the visitor experience and our partnership with Mastercard will help visitors access VisitLondon with the click of a button on their smartphone. Whether you are looking for the capital’s hidden gems or visiting its world-leading exhibitions and shows, the VisitLondon app will help visitors make the most of their time in London.”
Tourism plays a vital role for London with the sector employing 700,000 people. Overseas visitor numbers have increased steadily, growing 25 per cent since 2011. In 2016 visitor numbers hit record levels, at 19.1 million overseas arrivals.