Carolina Beach, Pleasure Island Chamber launch mobile apps

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Two local organizations have recently launched their own mobile apps.

The Town of Carolina Beach and the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce are now available at your fingertips, or at least parts of them are.

The chamber’s app is geared toward visitors looking to find somewhere to eat or stay or things to do. The free app, which officially launched last week and had more than 30,000 downloads as of Monday, has geotracking, which uses phones’ GPS locations to find and list all the businesses closest to the user.

While all businesses that are members of the chamber are listed, owners can also pay to have more features within the app. For $129 a year, businesses can customize their listing with logos and colors, post unlimited photos and text, offer coupons and deals, and connect to their website and social media sites from within the app, among other things.

“We figure the restaurants will lead the charge with the hotels following right behind,” said Greg Reynolds, executive director of the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce.

Reynolds, who is admittedly a little old-school, said he’s overwhelmed by what modern technology can do.

“The possibilities seem endless with it,” he said.

The chamber app’s business directory is shared with the Carolina Beach app, which offers more features for residents. Access to the town’s calendar of events (including council meetings) and services are available, giving residents the ability to pay their water bill from their phone.

Certain areas of Carolina Beach such as the Boardwalk and Freeman Park are highlighted with their own pages. There are also links to weather reports from The Weather Channel and tide reports from magicseaweed.com, as well as a live beach cam feed from the Tony Silvagni Surf School on Hamlet street. Push notifications that will send traffic and news alerts to phones will be added in the future.

According to Administrative Support Specialist Hannah Dotson, the idea for the apps came about last year after town officials, at the invitation of the Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau, attended a workshop where the company AppyCity was demonstrating their services.

“Both Michael Cramer, our town manager, and the town council have been pushing for more social media tactics and more ways to reach a broader audience both in visitors and locals,” Dotson. “This seemed like a great opportunity to do so.”

AppyCity runs mobile apps for other local institutions and events, including the official apps for the City of Wilmington, Battleship North Carolina, North Carolina Azalea Festival and New Hanover Regional Medical. Both the Plesaure Island Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Carolina Beach apps will be interconnected with these and others in the network.

Both apps are free and can be downloaded through the iTunes Store for iPhones and Google Play for Androids. Businesses that want to be featured can call (910) 458-8434 for more information or can visit the Chamber office at 1211 N. Lake Park Blvd. to fill out an application.