The Times West Virginian

Local News

February 4, 2014

Marion CVB: Yes, there’s an app for that

FAIRMONT — The mobile app from the Convention & Visitors Bureau of Marion County can be a valuable tool for both visitors and residents.

The free app, which is named “Marion CVB,” was initially launched in December 2012 for iPhone and iPad. In an effort to keep up with new technology, like social media interaction, the organization decided to upgrade this tool and also make it available for Android phones, said Leisha Elliott, executive director of the CVB.

“We’ve had a good success with it, but a lot of people have Androids, so we were missing out on a whole group of people who couldn’t access the app,” she said.

Agile5 Technologies Inc. is the developer of the app, which can be downloaded at no cost for iPhone and iPad through the Apple App Store, and for Android through the Google Play Store. iPhone or iPad users who have the original app will need to download the new version.

This app can be very helpful to people who are guests from out of town or are new to the area, Elliott said.

For instance, they can access maps and directions for restaurants, hotels or attractions in the county, she said. The calendar also provides information on events that will be happening on the days visitors are coming to Marion County.

In addition, the app can assist students of Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community and Technical College in finding their way from campus to different destinations, Elliott said.

Even if people are from Marion County and know their way around the area, they can still use the app to find out if a business is open or learn about any specials, she said. The tool can help people easily find phone numbers and addresses for those sites and discover new attractions.

Elliott said the app has a new look, and also allows users to easily post to social media.

She explained that everything included on the CVB’s website, which is marioncvb.com, also appears on the app. As updates are made to the website, the app also features those same changes.

In the future, the CVB plans to develop a feature in which ad space is available at the bottom of the app, Elliott said.

“I would just encourage people to download it,” she said.

Since December 2012, around 500 people have downloaded the app. The development of this tools shows that the CVB is progressive, Elliott said.

She commented that it’s been great working with Agile5 Technologies.

Agile5 Technologies is based in Morgantown but also has an office in the Alan B. Mollohan Innovation Center in Fairmont’s I-79 Technology Park, said Chet Tobrey, vice president of research and development. It does a lot of federal government contracting, supporting entities like the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division in Clarksburg and the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

But outside of government contracting, the company is involved in efforts to stay current, such as with mobile application development. The Marion CVB app for iPhone and Android is Agile5 Technologies’ first app project, Tobrey said.

He said the added Android app basically doubles the amount of people who can use the tool, and the upgrade integrates a lot of social media. The update, which was created with the help of an intern from West Virginia University, took about three months to develop.

“We really want people to share the things that they like, so we’ve added Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus, as well as emails and text messages,” Tobrey said. “We just wanted this to kind of generate its own feedback. We wanted people to use it and share.”

Agile5 Technologies is also able to gather anonymous statistics for the CVB on how people in general are using the app the most and what listings are popular, he said. Tobrey encouraged people to check out the app.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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