Zach Lyon Creative

Visit Virginia City

Visit Virginia City is a visitor guide app featuring geolocated audio walking tours, Bluetooth beacon deals at local merchants and event RSVPs.

Designed and developed in collaboration with Virginia City Commission on Tourism and RAD Strategies


The team was the executive director of the Virginia City Tourism Commission, the owner and public relations staff from RAD Strategies, two backend developers, and me.


I was contracted to redevelop the original abandoned app and integrate geolocated audio tours. I expanded this feature set to create guided geolocated walking tours to points of interest using Bluetooth beacons and generated redeemable QR code deals at local merchants as well as event RSVPs with Eventbrite.

The goal was to create a pocket guide for visitors to Virginia City and showcase the rich history with audio tours while increasing foot traffic to local merchants. Cell service is spotty in Virginia City, so visitors could download the guide before they “step back in time”.


Rather than simply creating a mobile app that had much of the same content as the destination’s website, I created a solution to promote visitor engagement and become a tool for navigating the destination. This included maps, walking audio tours, QR code deals, and event RSVPs the visitors could save to their travel itinerary.


I created a custom content management system for the stakeholders to manage Deals, Tours, and Events. This enabled the end-user app to download content to the device and create itineraries for visitors to navigate the destination and promote foot traffic to local merchants with incentives.


Midway through development, Google deprecated the Eddystone URL protocol which we used to broadcast event URLs. My developer and I had to pivot and send push notifications and in-app messaging.


Visitors to Virginia City enjoyed Deals, Tours, and Events and the app provided another channel of engagement as well as building an email marketing audience with opt-in app login information through saved itineraries and favorites.


Unfortunately, the app was discontinued during the COVID-19 Pandemic. I moved on to Hive Science and the citizen science apps since everyone was going hiking, not traveling!

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