Rand McNally launched an iPhone app, Explore America, which combines travel inspiration, maps, games and referrals to Tripology-affiliated travel agents.
In March 2010, Rand McNally acquired Tripology, which provides consumer leads to travel agents. Tripology has its own Tripology iPhone app.
Rand McNally decided to integrate the coding of the Tripology app into Explore America.
Companies that support a number of brands have to decide whether to integrate multiple brands or functionality into apps or to let them run entirely on a standalone basis.
For different companies, there are varying answers depending on their circumstances.
Expedia Inc. has maintained separate iPhone apps for Expedia.com, hotels.com and TripAdvisor.
Combining apps for Expedia.com and hotels.com -- both transaction sites with hotel bookings -- wouldn't make much sense.
Under a different set of considerations, Bing recently integrated Bing Travel's metasearch functionality into the Bing app.
Rand McNally, which still maintains Tripology as a brand, opted to integrate Tripology into Rand McNally's new Explore America app because it wanted to leverage Tripology's revenue-generation capabilities. The standalone Tripology app still is available, too.
The free Explore America app is heavy on inspiration and travel information.
Users receive a Daily Adventure with a map and up to five photos about an interesting destination in North America. Users also can access additonal Rand McNally content about that destination and share the Daily Adventure with their social networks.
There is also a daily travel quiz, replete with scores and leader boards.
"Our Triplogy app is all functional, but there's no fun to it," says John Peters, Rand McNally's general manager of digital strategy. "Explore America is fun and educational but it needed useful revenue-generating functionality."
"So if you're looking at really neat picture of a wonderful place, you've read all about it, taken the quiz and shared the picture with your social network, why not let a consumer take the next step and get connected to a travel specialist and make the trip happen," Peters says.
Peters acknowledges that "apps like Explore America can cost many tens of thousands of dollars, so adding revenue-generating functionality helps the return-on-investment equation dramatically."
At least that's the hope.
And the Rand McNally communications team is in full swing to get the word out and make that happen.
Rand McNally planned to send nearly 1 million emails about the app to a subset of its mailing lists and to promote Explore America on Rand McNally and Tripology Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, with a new Rand McNally Facebook page slated to be rolled out this evening.