See the sights, smell the roses… and catch the Pokémon?

pokemon_go

Image: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/news/pokemon-go-gaming-gone-mobile

Trends, fashions and fads come and go, and it is clear which one is here to stay for summer 2016 – Pokémon Go. Yes, unless you have somehow managed to miss the numerous social media postings dedicated to the latest trend (borderline phenomenon) seizing not only a nation, but the whole world, or have been spared the incident of bumping into someone actively engaging in a little Pokémon hunting on the street, it is clear that there is nothing more all the rage this summer. Normally mobile phone apps and games are associated as taking the human population to whole new levels of anti-socialness; however Pokéman Go seems to be having a miracle effect which is counteracting this magnetic force. Yes, we are still besotted with man’s new best friend, the mobile phone, but now it is encouraging us to voluntarily enter into the light and freshness of the great outdoors and explore. Such is the power of the Pokémon Go because with the augmented virtual reality app projecting images of everyone’s favourite childhood anime onto city landmarks so it looks like they are really there on your mobile screen, people are going out in their droves to partake in a nostalgic game of Pokémon hunting because the only way to catch them all, is to actively explore the surrounding environment – sitting on the couch will get you nowhere. Of course you also have the assistance of GPS technology on your smart phone to help lead the way also.  Pokémon Go is a truly global craze with it having captivated the eyes of citizens spanning 35 countries and becoming more addictive than those little known apps of Facebook and Whatsapp.

With the UK basking in the glorious freedom of the summer holidays and even enjoying a little bit of tropical summer sunshine, Pokémon Go has come at the best possible time. It is the optimum season to explore a new city and what better way to see it than with a fun interactive activity which will keep all members of the family, whether it is the young or the young at heart, engaged and excited. Already players have remarked how it has taken them to parts of the city they had never thought they would venture; likewise it is helping them to connect with other players and to forge social bonds. Fortunately, with apartments in four major UK cities, wherever you stay with us you are right in the heart of some of the UK’s best Pokémon hunting grounds. Therefore, discover all about the Pokémon Go hype in some of our favourite UK vacation spots and be inspired to come visit us and explore our new cities from a new perspective.

Aberdeen

A legion of unique Pokémon characters have finally invaded the Silver City with even some rare ones also to be found. Of course, it is irrefutable that Pokémon would be hiding in the most dynamic and buzzing part of the city – the city centre. Therefore, when you are hitting up Union Street, make sure to take an extra few moments outside the prime shopping area of St. Nicholas Centre as three “Pokestops” are rumoured to be found there. Likewise, if you wanting to view some of the amazing talent on stage at the Music Hall or His Majesty’s Theatre, you might be able to see more than real famous faces, but also some virtual Pokémon ones too. The beauty of Pokémon Go is also that you do not necessary know where you will find the Pokémon, this is why you can venture all across the city in the hopes of finding one and engaging in a little bit of sightseeing and social interaction along the way. Therefore, the app has had people exploring the beautiful length of Aberdeen’s stunning sandy beach; various churches and it has even seen them take day trips to Stonehaven because those little Pokémon sure get everywhere! With Pokémon being rumoured to be located at all kinds of Aberdeen attraction hot spots from the beach to the fishing community of Fittie to tranquil public areas like Seaton Park, it is clear that Pokémon Go could be the perfect activity that will allow you to become acquainted with the sparkling silver exterior of the renowned Granite City.

Birmingham

Known as Britain’s “Second City”, it is of little surprise that the exciting metropolis of Birmingham is absolutely teeming with Pokémon waiting to be discovered. Pokémon mania has even swept the citizens of Birmingham so much that an organised mass Pokémon Go walk was devised that was held on Saturday 23rd July, reflecting the comradery that the virtual app is creating – up to 1,000 walkers were expected. Rumoured Pokémon hotspots include the Jewellery Quarter, St. Paul’s Square and of course along the sides of Birmingham’s vast canal system. They can even be hunted down within the walls of iconic Birmingham attractions including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, so it is not just art that can be found and admired! Likewise, if you are hitting up the bargains and the temptation of Grand Central shopping centre, you may find more than just good deals. Therefore, from sightseeing to shopping and even to eating, Pokémon Go may be the perfect addictive activity that will allow you to fully explore one of Britain’s most famous metropolises.

Glasgow

pokemon glasgow

http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/ultimate-guide-pokemon-go-glasgow-11614786

Priding itself for the warmth and friendliness of its citizens, it is no wonder that Pokémon would feel welcome along the dynamic and effervescent streets of Glasgow. With its renowned reputation for its nature scene and its abundance of parks, it is no surprise that many Pokémon have been rumoured to be hiding among the shrubbery such as at Glasgow Green. However, while hiding in parks or even by the Clydeside, they are also of course hitting up popular city central locations from the likes of the Duke of Wellington statue (the one famous for having an ever-present traffic cone residing on its head), George Square, Kelvingrove Museum and even within the haunting beauty of the Victorian cemetery; the Necropolis. Likewise, other rumoured hotspots include the Finnieston Crane as well as the Armadillo and the Hydro which means you may get a dual batch of entertainment if you are stopping by the check out the latest musical talent on stage.

Edinburgh

pokemon go aberdeen

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1omOow1m09QBs1-UVcJ89wSnRI-g&hl=en_US

Of course there is no city in Scotland that Pokémon could desire to infiltrate more than the cobbled historic streets of Scotland’s stunning and animated capital. With some of the most iconic attractions and streets in the nation, it is irrefutable that a couple of Pokémon would want to pop up at these stops. Therefore, it may be of no surprise that if you want to engage in a little bit of Pokémon hunting, than prime locations such as the Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, Leith Docks, Edinburgh Zoo and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art certainly pave the way for victory. These are attractions that you would want to visit anyway but doing it under the guise of Pokémon hunting, also gives it that added extra bit of fun. Likewise, it may also bring you to attractions you had never considered previously such as Lochend Park or St. Margaret’s Well which is a well that has been in existence since 1362 and therefore possesses its own unique level of historical value. The hype of Pokémon Go mania in Edinburgh has even reached such a level that local taxi drivers are offering Pokémon Go tours, so if you are feeling a little tired and want a crafty (albeit pricy!) way of viewing the city, this could be the alternative as the route set out claims to stop at 50 “Pokestops” in 20 minutes.

So there you have it, if are really getting swept up in the phenomenon that has captured the nation and their phones, how about a Pokémon Go tour with The Spires? With apartments right in the city centre of these 4 active Pokémon spots, you could not be any closer to all the excitement and hype. While we cannot guarantee that the little monsters will be found under the beds in our apartments, you are bound to find some lurking not too far away whether they are in attractions, parks, restaurants or even transport spots. Therefore, let us know how many you catch and share with us any top tips – maybe we will try and engage in some Pokémon hunting of our own!

2015: The Year a Watch May Become Your Favourite Travel Sidekick

AppleWatch1

If I were to ask you what the core function of a watch is, undoubtedly your response would be that it is to keep you informed of the time. Whenever you see someone glance at their watch it is inevitably due to them checking the time or perhaps they are just admiring it if it happens to be a particularly stylish, desired watch brand. However, this may be set to change. As powerful as it is to dictate the time, and therefore people’s schedules, watches are set to become even more influential this year as they too are “smartified”; opening them up to a whole range of new potential functions. Yes, as you may be aware, one of the most hotly anticipated products of the year has to be a certain Apple Watch which is to be released near the end of April (there may be a queue beginning already; sleeping bags and coffee flasks at the ready!) and it is set to revolutionize the travel industry.

You may wonder how the travel industry and a watch fit together? Well unfortunately, technology still has not progressed to a level where time travel has become reality and so the ability of the smart watch to transport you to another time, past or present, is sadly not the case. However, what is true is that even though the Apple Watch has not been released yet, already many an app from major firms has been designed for it. The likes of Uber, Evernote, Expedia, Trip Advisor, KLM and easyJet have all invested in designing an app and consequently, this is where the impact of the watch on the travel industry can begin to be inferred.

So, what changes can we expect? There is the potential that room key cards are set to become old-school as giant hotel brands like Starwood design apps that allow guests to use their watches to check-in and to even let them into their room. Similarly, if you happen to be following a person who may be radiating tourist signals and who is happening to be glancing down at their watch every other street, it is quite likely that they are using a navigation feature on their watch to help them find their way.  Likewise, you may walk into an airport to see everyone looking down, not at their phone, but at their watch as they look at flight apps which will be reflecting live-time departure and arrival times; delays and the length of the line in security. Inevitably, watches will even become the new form of boarding passes and checking-in to flights as apps are already in progress regarding this. The watch could even become a real gift for business travellers as apps like Evernote will allow them to dictate all their notes, thoughts and plans into the watch so it can be transferred to that renowned Cloud and then be accessed later on a different device.

Above all, the watch could revolutionise the industry due to the way it will totally transform the customer experience and how travel companies deliver their service. As was reported by TNOOZ, Air New Zealand has already designed an app which allows guests in their airport lounges to order drinks, just reflecting the potential the watch could have in keeping companies in touch with consumer’s movements and needs.

It is crazy already to think of the potential power that a mere watch could hold over our lives although it has been reported by the Telegraph that only 25% of British citizens think that wearable technology will enhance the quality of their life. It will definitely be an exciting development to watch unfold (no pun intended) and to see the impact it will have on the serviced apartment industry. Even though I am really intrigued to see just how far the watch’s power could stretch, it is a little sad to see another piece of technology that will be added to people’s digital portfolios alongside Kindles, Phones, Laptops, Tablets etc. It feels like everything is getting “smartified” and that there is already an abundance of devices that consumers are hooked into without adding a classic staple like a watch in the mix; particularly as watches tend to be bought for significant relations on special occasions or are passed on as heirlooms-they can have sentimental value.

Consequently, being one of those classed as a technology “laggard” when it comes to product innovation, I am sure it will take a few years for me to be persuaded otherwise to invest in a smart watch. Personally, my regular average watch seems to be doing a pretty good job at getting me on time to places as it is, and at a mere fraction of the price. Conversely, my manager is eagerly awaiting the great unveil of the Apple Watch; reflecting the diverse range of opinions regarding technology’s latest baby. Therefore, we are intrigued to hear what all our followers and readers think; will you be fighting your way towards the front of that queue on Apple Watch launch day?

Sources

http://clapway.com/2015/03/27/travel-apps-apple-watch123/

http://www.tnooz.com/article/Apple-Watch-travel-personalised/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11483729/Apple-Watch-Britons-still-not-convinced-by-wearable-tech.html

http://www.travolution.co.uk/articles/2014/12/18/9540/wearable-tech-set-to-take-travel-to-the-next-level.html

 Image: http://blog.worldmate.com/2015/03/what-do-you-need-to-know-before-developing-apple-watch-app.html?utm_content=buffer724c2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Leaving Behind a Legacy

website design

As fast as time is flying, my Spires expiration date has not been reached yet and so yes the title is a bit dramatically deceptive. Recently, I have been engaging more in the website content side of the business and that is why I am talking about leaving a legacy; all the content I am putting out there, be it on the website or in the form of my blogs, should outlive my Spires shelf-life so everyone will know I was here. This is all dependent on management being pleased with what I am doing so if I leave and everything changes, I can take that as a subtle hint…

In terms of the website, apart from uploading all my blogs, I am also helping to write and design for the special offers page and the brand new Edinburgh section. This includes choosing what photographs to display and writing about all the attractions and restaurants that should be headlining an Edinburgh “Must Do” travel list. I am really enjoying having the chance to engage in such activities as it is positive to have somewhat tangible evidence of the work I am doing and to know I am doing work that is of benefit to The Spires and will hopefully last for a considerable amount of time. It is also useful to have evidence to show my university that I have indeed been working and not been getting up to too much trouble!

One thing I did not expect was the use of coding that sometimes comes in handy with embedding social media content. Although it is by no means complex coding, it is still quite satisfying to see if I can manage to input a new widget onto the website or on the WordPress blog. Looks like my Higher Computing has proven to be a bit handy!

Having reached my two month mark, I am really happy The Spires chose me to be an intern. Although it is a challenging time for the North-East, there are so many important developments happening here that it is really exciting to be even playing a minor part in facilitating that. It is always beneficial experience to be working in such a dynamic environment and with such a lovely, enthusiastic team as well. Even though I am a Sales Administrator intern, I swear I am not trying a selling plug here!

Till next time,

Alex