Colonial Williamsburg unveils new mobile app

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(Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.)
(Courtesy Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.)

Colonial Williamsburg unveiled a new mobile application Thursday that will allow guests to navigate the Revolutionary City using 21st-century tools.

“Guests visit the Revolutionary City to immerse themselves in the 18th century, yet they still look to their mobile devices to guide them and enrich their experiences,” said Colonial Williamsburg’s Executive Director of Marketing Andrea Sardone in a press release. “We listened to what they want, and we’re confident this new app will add fun and efficiency to an authentic trip back in time.”

The Colonial Williamsburg Explorer Mobile App includes new features when compared to CW’s previous app, which according to Sardone will be replaced when users are prompted to download and update to the app. The new app is also available for free download through Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

Brian Nesslage, Director of Digital Experience at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, detailed some of the new features at a press preview on Thursday. The “Colonial Camera” provides users with colonial-themed photo overlays that can be added to camera phone pictures, and the Foundation intends to release seasonal, event and holiday overlays throughout the year.

“We’re going to have some fun with it,” said Nesslage.  “Hopefully our guests will have fun with it too.”

Additional features include one-tap directions to selected sites or events, location-based character tracking, a downloadable map, event notifications and site locations sorted by category — such as parking, bathrooms, ticketing, bus stops, and “near me.”

“Wayfinding and improving the guest experience are the two big goals of the app,” said Sardone at Thursday’s press preview. “We didn’t want it to replace anything, certainly not replace any kind of experience people would have within the historic area or with the museums. We wanted to be able to enhance it.”

The press releases also announced that guests who display the new app through Nov. 1 will receive a free appetizer with purchase of an entrée at any CW restaurant. They will also qualify for 10 percent off purchases at CW retail stores.

Nesslage said CW will continue to add to its list of features unveiled Thursday.

“The sky is the limit at this point,” said Nesslage.  “Today is a huge milestone for the project and we’re already working on the next phase.  There’s a lot coming on this.”