City Walker

Hill Entrepreneurs Create a Hyper-Local Tourist App

Hubert Schoemaker using his app navigate Capitol Hill. Courtesy of City Walker.

If you have a smart phone or tablet, you know the multitude of applications or ‘apps’ to help you with every facet of your life.  Travel and tourism apps with GPS-like functionality are no exception.  Undaunted, an entrepreneurial Capital Hill couple are intent on elbowing their way into the crowded market as they introduce City Walker, DC’s first hyper-local tourism app

“When you stay at a hotel you have the concierge desk in the front lobby to ask for recommendations,” said Hubert Schoemaker, City Walker CEO. “But the trends in travel show that people are embracing alternative forms of lodgings such as Airbnb. City Walker is not just a concierge desk in your pocket, it’s basically the guy down the street who has lived in this neighborhood his whole life. Now you can spend less time finding where to go and more time actually being there.”

Apps like City Walker allow you to skip pricey bus or walking tours.  But equally important says Schoemaker, who along with his wife Jeni designed the app, City Walker users will find themselves within 15 minutes walking distance of most of the recommended destinations.  The app encourages users to walk because that is both healthy and the best way to take in a new location. Unlike other travel apps, City Walker sorts its listings based on the recommendations of locals.

City Walker is available for both Android and iOS phones. The free app began beta testing in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. on July 6th and the designers expect to launch the final version by mid-to-late September.  In the meantime residents and District business owners are invited to try the app and submit reviews.

“City Walker isn’t just a tool for tourists,” says Schoemaker. “It is also an opportunity for individuals or small businesses to showcase pride in their own neighborhoods and local establishments.”

While City Walker completes its testing period, Schoemaker is developing his local and national marketing plans and anticipates partnering with local firms as the app takes off.  Likewise, he anticipates local hiring.

“I'm building out street teams in each city I launch,” says Schoemaker.  “DC will be the first and it’s imperative the street teams are locals. Next is development - I want to hire a CTO by the end of the year. We’re also going to launch a college campus ambassador program and we are reaching out to universities at the moment. We are also exploring bringing on staff to help authenticate the City Walker experience in each city.”

“I list my home on Airbnb because I love meeting new people and sharing my little world here in D.C.,” said resident Steve Brogan. “Now I am going to use City Walker to create an itinerary for all of my guests so that they can have a truly authentic experience. I know when I travel I am always afraid that I’m missing out. This is my chance to help others avoid that. Hopefully they start using City Walker in their city too.”

The Shoemakers reside not far from Eastern Market with their two children and keep a running blog about Capitol Hill on the City Walker website as a way to further engage potential users.

“We know there is stiff competition, but we’re confident that City Walker is unique in the travel app market place,” says Schoemaker.  “We hope the app truly provides users a backstage pass to local life.”

The app is available for download at www.CityWalkerapp.com.


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