TDC mobile app scores a 'Henry'

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Franklin County has received the state’s highest tourism marketing award for the Florida’s Forgotten Coast mobile app.

Visit Florida, the state’s marketing entity, presented the prestigious first place “Henry” award in the rural marketing category to the Franklin County TDC.

Receiving the award at the annual Governor’s Conference in Hollywood. on Sept. 8, were Franklin County Tourist Development Council Chairman Ricky Jones and TDC Director John Solomon.

The mobile app was the idea of Jones, who wanted an immediate way to convey important information, particularly in emergency situations, to residents and visitors alike. Solomon was tasked with the creation and design of the mobile app which is downloadable from Floridasforgottencoast.com, or in your mobile provider’s App store.

“In this digital world we live in, we needed this as a way to communicate with our visitors, but quickly realized that we could use this as a way to advertise and promote our area as well,” said Jones, who also chairs the county commission. “Although we didn’t do it with an award in mind, it is nice to receive this award for a job well done.

Launched in Nov. 2020, the mobile app includes a push notification feature that notifies users of important weather-related information such as double red flag beach alerts or emergency information within the county.

The app also helps visitors access information about area amenities, events, lodging, restaurants, shopping and outdoor recreation opportunities with just a click on their phone. The app includes an itinerary builder for visitors and a passport game to encourage exploring all aspects of Franklin County.

“The mobile app is a major step forward in the promotion of Franklin County as a tourism destination,” said Solomon, noting that since its launch in Nov. 2020, the app has become a popular tool when planning a trip or visiting the Forgotten Coast.

“We saw a big jump in downloads the day after the award ceremony as well,” he said. “It has been great for our visitors as well as our residents and we’re delighted it has received recognition from Visit Florida.”

This is the Franklin County TDC's first Henry award, though it is the fourth Flagler award it has won in the past two years, winning two bronze and one silver award last year.

The Flagler Awards were established in 2000 by Visit Florida to recognize outstanding tourism marketing in Florida. Annually, the Flagler Awards honor many of the individuals and organizations that help maintain and improve Florida’s position as one of the world’s most popular travel destinations.

The awards are open to all individuals, private businesses and not-for-profit organizations offering a product or service that promotes tourism to or within the state of Florida.

As in previous years, the 2021 Flagler Awards drew entries from Florida’s tourism partners, large and small. Working independently, a panel of judges evaluated the creativity, innovation, production quality, and effectiveness of each entry. Based on the judges’ cumulative scores, awards were presented to the top three entries in each category: the Bronze Award for the third highest scoring entry, the Silver Award for the second highest scoring entry, and for the highest scoring entry in each category, the Henry Award.

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