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Downtown Summerlin expands mobile app

Downtown Summerlin can instantly send visitors exclusive deals as they stroll through the outdoor shopping center thanks to this month’s official launch of its mobile app titled Summerlin.

The Summerlin app first soft-launched in April for Las Vegas Ballpark. Aviators fans could buy tickets through the app and receive offers such as free popcorn during the game. But next year, the app will become a one-stop source for anything about Las Vegas’ largest master-planned community.

Developer Howard Hughes Corp. also plans to integrate details on the residential community for potential homebuyers and residents in the coming months.

Danielle Bisterfeldt, vice president of marketing for Summerlin, said the residential component will make up the third and final piece of the company’s new app, but it’s still working out the details.

“We’re still very much in the development process, but with over 30 neighborhoods selling in Summerlin right now, that’s definitely a focus for us to figure out,” she said.

Forrester analyst Sucharita Kodali said a mobile app can be helpful for visitors, especially if it’s offering special promotions in real-time, but the challenge will be getting users to download it.

“Generally, people prefer mobile websites over apps because they don’t like to download them and you forget to use them,” Kodali said. “Apps that are very specific like for Starbucks, Disney or an event can be very popular … but it’s kind of 2015 — this attitude of, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to have an app,’ because a lot of time you can access the same functionality on the mobile web.”

Kodali also noted research showing that the average smartphone has between 60 and 90 apps installed, but more than two-thirds of those apps don’t get used every month. App users spend 77 percent of their time using three apps, according to research from Statista.

“It has to be reliable,” Kodali said. “It has to be a good user experience.”

Digital delivery

Bisterfeldt said ensuring a good user experience is why her team chose to roll out the app’s feature in three stages, starting with Las Vegas Ballpark.

“We’ve been taking it progressively throughout the year of how we can expand this functionality and have a really strong engagement with users,” Bisterfeldt said.

After visitors download the app, they can choose to have their homepage feature either details on Downtown Summerlin or Las Vegas Ballpark. A tab for the Summerlin community shows “coming soon.”

The app also connects to a visitors Experience Pass, a Downtown Summerlin and Las Vegas Ballpark rewards program.

Howard Hughes partnered with software platform LAVA on the service, which also gives the master-planned community real-time data on visitors to the area. At Las Vegas Ballpark, the app pulls transaction data from ticket scans to concession sales so operators can better manage visitor engagement.

LAVA was founded by Sacramento Kings Chairman, CEO and Governor Vivek Ranadivé and Wen Miao, former senior vice president and general manager of TIBCO Software. The company uses real-time data to help clients quickly market to their consumers and works with L.A. Live, AEG Presents, Hard Rock Hotel Lake Tahoe, Paragon Gaming and the Denver Broncos, among others.

LAVA General Manager of Gaming and Hospitality Solutions Alisa Mirabal said most destinations connect with customers after they already have visited the store or event center.

“LAVA is telling them right now while the customer is actually shopping that this could be somebody they’d like to engage with,” Mirabal said. “Most systems send you an email three days later, when you were just at Macy’s two days ago. … Now you’re annoyed.”

Bisterfeldt described the Summerlin app as a “knowledge-building” tool.

“When you really only have social media and email, you don’t really have an intimate relationship with anybody,” she said. “So, we’re hoping to gain that new go-to tool (where customers) feel like VIP and get offers that make sense.”

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter.

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