We Got An Exclusive Look At '90s Icon Citysearch's Mobile Comeback Strategy

cityguide app

Photo: Kevin Smith/Business Insider

The inexorable rise of mobile devices isn’t just a chance for brand-new startups to offer new services—shifting consumer behaviour gives established brands a chance to reinvent themselves, too.Here’s a case study—Citysearch, once synonymous with local reviews in the ’90s, is battling back against the upstarts with its refreshed iPhone app.

The app is chock full of quality recommendations for restaurants, shopping, spas, and what’s hot in big cities.

Citysearch, now part of CityGrid Media, started out as an online city guide written by professional editorial staff. Its modern, mobile incarnation still emphasises tips from its expert “scouts” rather than crowdsourced recommendations from customers, like you’d find on Yelp or Foursquare, though those are also present.

And a key differentiator on the app is the visual guides the scouts have put together—since photos are often a more compelling and immediate way to see what a place is like.

If other local apps’ tips and reviews leave you cold, Citysearch’s offering is worth a try.

The new app is available for iPhone and it’s free.

Guides by Citysearch is meant to provide users with visual recommendations around hot spots and hidden gems in top U.S. cities.

First, allow the app to use your location so it can provide you with the most accurate results.

There are 10 major city guides available: Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Austin, Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Portland.

Request your favourite city by email if it isn't available.

We'll start with New York. Select a category: shopping, restaurants, spa & beauty, or what's hot.

The subcategories are pretty detailed. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, this is a great way to browse around you.

Tapping a subcategory will bring the most relevant results up on a map.

Here's a store that piqued our interest. The shop's telephone number, address, hours, and most importantly tips are easily accessible.

Firsthand recommendations from users who have been to the establishment show right up as tips. These are great because it helps give a better feel for exactly how good a place is.

The What's Hot section lets you browse recently selected top restaurants and shops.

We really liked the visual details—seeing places on a map is much better than seeing it as a list.

If you don't want to rely on the top recommendations, it's simple to search for something you're interested in.

There's even a local option with the ability to find places around you based on what you like and how much you're willing to spend.

Now check out the apps I use every day ...

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