Maps and mobile app for Roaming Donkey

Maps and mobile app for Roaming Donkey

Written by Editor

Topics: PreeTECH, Travel & Leisure

The brainchild of web developer Monique Powell, Roaming Donkey is a local online user-based surveyor that monitors and rates nightclubs, beaches, hotels, restaurants and other attractions and activities. The interactive website was officially launched on October 5, 2010, and since that time it has established itself as the ideal forum for users to share reviews and discover the best spots across Jamaica. As far back as 2006, Powell had decided on this quaint name, which she says is representative of an image of “free and easy movement”.

Roaming Donkey, affectionately referred to as “Roamie”, has made considerable strides in its first quarter of operations and is now in upgrade mode. Pree Jamaica recently had the opportunity to chat with Powell about her progress to date and future plans for Roaming Donkey.

Monique Powell

Monique Powell, Founder of Roaming Donkey (Taylor G Photo)

PJ: How did you come up with the concept for Roaming Donkey?
Sometimes I want to go to dinner, or find something really fun to do outside of Kingston. Besides the much talked-about and heavily trafficked places, I really wasn’t sure what was out there. So I thought, “What if I could just plug my location into a website and have it tell me all the places nearby that fits a specific criteria?” I thought it would be even better if I could also see what other people’s thoughts of these places were before spending my time (and money) checking them out. I combined those two things with useful tips for navigating Jamaica and a journal of sorts, and Roaming Donkey was born.

PJ: Do you have a business partner?
MP: No. Lone captain of this ship.

PJ: What do you wish to accomplish with Roaming Donkey?
MP: I would love to see Roaming Donkey develop into a community of explorers, who take great pleasure in travelling and enjoying our island‘s offerings. I want it to be the place people think of when they want to find something to do, somewhere to eat or somewhere to stay in Jamaica.

PJ: Who are your current users?
MP: The website is already proving to be particularly useful to two sets of people. One set comprises of vacationers who have decided to skip the all-inclusive, packaged vacations and embrace the adventure of exploring Jamaica on their own. The other set consists of local “foodies“. There are a number of categories on the website, but the “Restaurants” category is consistently the most popular. What can I say? Jamaicans are serious about their food!

Monique Powell

"I am very satisfied with Roaming Donkey" - Monique Powell (Taylor G Photo)

PJ: How is Roaming Donkey after three months in operation?
MP: I constantly get positive feedback for Roaming Donkey. There is a steady increase of users who like being able to initiate or read a thread speaking to somewhere they’ve been or plan to go. I am very satisfied. I am in the developmental stages of creating new features and this includes the launch of a mobile web application.

PJ: Please elaborate on these new features.
MP: They are, for the most part, in an incubator stage. The Google Maps feature was launched on January 12. This places a roadmap within each listing with markers pointing to the specific locations.

PJ: What prompted the idea for a mobile web app?
MP: It is only natural to incorporate mobile users. We are in the age of technology. Everyone has a smart-phone. The immediacy of mobile web – being able to add new places, post reviews, etc on the go from any location at any time – eliminates delays.

PJ: Roaming Donkey was also on Twitter before your official launch. Why?
MP: It served as a teaser for It was a marketing strategy…trying to pique interests while getting the name Roaming Donkey on the lips of as many as I could. Social media is a fast, easy and efficient means to get a product out to the masses.

PJ: What are your thoughts on social media and business?
MP: Social media is a great way for businesses to build relationships with people and get real feedback. Unlike other marketing channels it gives you the opportunity to interact with, as opposed to speaking at, potential and existing customers. Some businesses shy away from social media because of open, honest and brutal feedback. However, analysing this feedback and using it to improve one’s products and services will make your customers realise that you value their  opinions and this will serve to strengthen relations.

1 Comment For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

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