To celebrate nearly 30 years of the iconic VW Santana sedan in China and to publicize the introduction of its new model, international event agency Pico TBA Consulting Group and Shanghai Volkswagen created a 45-day, 12,500-mile "test drive" from Germany to China.

The event team created a "digital guidebook" app for the drive; Darren Lim--general manager of Pico TBA Consulting Group--shares details:

Special Events What made you decide to create the app for your event?
Darren Lim We wanted to create an experiential journey for the participants of the Santana car tour. The application serves as a customized digital roadbook for the 45 days of tour. We feel that a digital application is really apt for this legendary tour as participants spend a lot of time on the road, accessing information from an iPad application offers a much more interactive experience than the usual paper form road book.

SE What were your goals for the app--what did you want it to do?
DL Our goals were to engage the participants with this digital application which encompasses many functions, i.e., information on the cities and route, driving distance, traffic signage, program itinerary, PR materials, travel assistance kit, photo gallery, notification update, and sharing and blogging. We have also produced the application on two languages, to cater for the needs of participants on the tour.

SE What program/process did you use for your app?
DL The processes involved a few stages, including research of content. We produced city guides articles in both English and Chinese for about 40 cities where the tour passed by, designing of all the interface pages with the consideration of enhancing the user experience. This was followed by programming and testing.

SE From start of developing the app to the event, how long did the process take?
DL The process took about 4 weeks, from content collation, design, programming, testing to launch.

SE Did your app do everything you wanted it to do?
DL  It did most of the things we wanted to do. In our initial proposal, we proposed more functions like GPS tracking, live updates, more integration with social media. Some of these were not realized due to time constraints and also practical reasons, i.e., GPS requires data roaming, which may not be available during the tour all the time.

SE If you had it all to do over again, would you do something differently?
DL The team is happy and satisfied with the application we have produced. If we could have more time and less rush, we would want to include more functions than mentioned above to enhance the experience even more.

The team [always] has in mind the aim to enhance the participants’ experience during this whole event. An application like the Santana Legend tour app is definitely the most appropriate digital tool to achieve this.