January 28, 2009. Brooklyn. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert C. Lieber, NYC & Company Chairman Emily K. Rafferty and CEO George Fertitta, and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin today unveiled the City’s new NYC Information Center in midtown Manhattan and launched NYCGo.com, the new online resource for exploring New York City. The opening of the center fulfills a commitment the Mayor made in the State of the City speech, where he discussed the importance of making investments to promote culture and tourism in New York City. The information center and website are designed for both visitors and residents and will allow people to better navigate and manage their visits to and within the five boroughs.
The new website offers information on hotels, dining, attractions and events, and NYC & Company joined with the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs to include on the website a calendar of New York City’s cultural events. Mayor Bloomberg also announced new corporate partnerships with companies such as Google and Travelocity to provide advanced online capabilities and with content providers such as Time Out New York, Paper magazine, the New York Observer and Greenopia for up-to-date event listings. The Mayor was joined for the announcement by Google Senior Vice President Tim Armstrong and Travelocity Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Glueck at the new Information Center, located at 810 Seventh Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets in Manhattan.
“Our City’s travel and tourism industry is as important today as ever, and we’ve invested in new tools to attract visitors and formed innovative partnerships with brands such as Google and Travelocity to promote the City to people around the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “And by extending these new travel resources to our residents, we are giving New Yorkers the chance to more actively take advantage of the City’s diverse and exciting neighborhoods.”
“Tourism is a cornerstone of our economy,” said Deputy Mayor Lieber. “Despite anticipated economic challenges this year in the hospitality and leisure sectors, New York City continues to be the number one U.S. destination for tourism spending while leading the nation with the highest hotel occupancy rates. It is incumbent on us to continue to offer our visitors and residents the best tools available to stimulate travel to New York City and within the five boroughs.”
The new NYC Information Center, designed by WXY Architecture and Urban Design Local Projects, will feature new interactive capabilities, including personalized itineraries. The center features digital NYC maps and up-to-the-minute event and venue information on attractions throughout the five boroughs. Wall-mounted multi-lingual information kiosks, available in nine foreign languages, offers information on how to navigate New York City with transportation tips and an array of services. Knowledgeable, multilingual information specialists will be on hand to help people develop a comprehensive and easy-to-follow travel itinerary through the use of interactive map tables. The NYC Information Center will also sell MetroCards and tickets to top NYC attractions. The visitor information center, closed in July 2008, was renovated at a cost of $1.8 million.
NYCGo.com features a comprehensive one-stop hub of information for visitors and residents, tailored to the interests of a variety of lifestyle categories, with select information available in nine foreign languages. The website, developed in conjunction with interactive agency Huge, Inc., will also feature user-generated content through a new MyNYC feature, allowing site visitors to create personal profiles, provide input on New York City experiences, rate and review venues and events, and share recommendations among users with similar interests. The site is transactional, with partners such as Travelocity and Open Table powering bookings for hotels, flights, car rentals, vacation packages and restaurants. Additionally, the website for the first time will house a dedicated cultural calendar from the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, featuring more than 300 event and exhibition listings submitted by cultural institutions across the five boroughs.
“A New York City experience is not complete without sampling our museums and cultural attractions,” said Emily K. Rafferty, chairman of NYC & Company and president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “I’m excited that the Department of Cultural Affairs under the leadership of Kate Levin has formed this new partnership with NYC & Company so that visitors and residents can access the latest information on our City’s cultural events and exhibitions. No other City in the world can offer the breadth and depth of culture in one place.”
“Our goal with the new center and NYCGo.com was to curate the best of what the City has to offer while providing unique and effective platforms to help maximize the NYC experience,” said George Fertitta, CEO, NYC & Company. “The synergy between NYCGo.com and our Information Center technologies will expose residents and visitors to new dynamic content and information each day. By ensuring that our content is as robust as possible, we will also strive to develop a loyal following of visitors and residents.”
“Culture is the heart of New York City’s tourism industry,” said Commissioner Levin. “Our partnership with NYC and Company makes it easier than ever for visitors and residents to find interesting ways to explore the five boroughs - from tango in Queens to tigers in the Bronx. NYCgo.com helps audiences and cultural organizations come together through the incredible diversity of exciting performances, exhibitions and programs – many of them free and family friendly – taking place every day in New York City.”
Through a partnership with Google, residents and visitors who stop by the NYC Information Center will be able to take advantage of advanced mapping technology to search and explore specific locations throughout the five boroughs. The information center and NYCGo.com have integrated the Google Maps application programming interface to help visitors plan their trip in New York City or for residents to plan their night out on the town. At the center, interactive tables will allow people to plan a custom tour and then visualize it using Google Earth on the video wall. Venue and tour information can also be transferred to a user’s phone using SMS, and then visitors and residents can use Google Maps for mobile to get to their final destination. This marks the first time an end-to-end experience has been created using Google – from home to mobile device to real world exploration.
“New York City’s innovative implementation of Google tools will improve the experience for both visitors and locals,” said Tim Armstrong of Google. “Whether planning a trip on NYCGo.com using Google Maps, navigating the city using Google Maps for mobile, or watching a Google Earth fly-over of your trip, we hope that this partnership will help visitors and residents take full advantage of all that New York City has to offer.”
Through a partnership with Travelocity, NYC & Company will develop exclusive vacation packages for NYCgo.com. Travelocity will serve as the nycgo.com booking engine for hotel reservations, airline tickets, attractions and more. "Travelocity is honored to be playing such a key role in promoting tourism to New York City, one of the greatest destinations in the world,” said Jeffrey Glueck, chief marketing officer, Travelocity. “We are proud New York City has chosen Travelocity, the pioneer in online travel, for their one-stop online reservations engine.”
In an effort to expand the City’s editorial coverage on NYCGo.com, NYC & Company has partnered with Time Out New York, which will offer extensive daily feeds of venue and event listings, including hotels, restaurants, shops, arts & culture, attractions & nightlife.
“Time Out New York's love for its hometown is evident in the passionate information we produce, in print and online, about the innumerable cultural and entertainment options the city has on offer,” said Time Out New York President Alison Tocci. “So we couldn't be happier to be partnering with the object of our affection, via our relationship with NYC & Company, on this exciting new venture. What's good for New York is definitely good for Time Out New York, so we're very proud to take part.”
Other content partners on NYCGo.com include Greenopia, which will offer a guide to green business and services in New York City; Paper magazine, which will offer select daily event and nightlife listings among other coverage; and The New York Observer, which will provide articles and listings for NYCGo.com.
About Huge: Huge is a digital agency that provides business strategy, design, marketing and technology services to some of the world's largest businesses and best-known brands. The company is known for successfully harmonizing user needs and business goals to create industry-changing digital experiences for its clients. Huge has offices based in the United States, Europe and Latin America, and is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies.