Award-winning Roam app extends rollout across Northern Ireland

Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI back Roam Local rollout plans with major Belfast launch after Bangor success

An award-winning smartphone app developed to drive high street footfall and endorsed by leading industry groups Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI has marked the start of a full rollout across Northern Ireland with a new launch in Belfast.

The Roam Local app, which has already been the recipient of a number of major awards including Best Local Travel App 2022 at the UK Enterprise Awards, celebrated its official launch at Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter with a variety of city and industry stakeholders.

It will now be rolled out across Belfast and Northern Ireland following a successful pilot in Bangor earlier this year.

The innovative digital technology, which uses GPS coordinates to directly link consumers to local bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, offers and more, was established in Durham by former professional jump jockey Andrew Bartlett.

Helping users to access information on entertainment options, find new places to go and receive personalised offers and rewards, the app is designed to boost footfall and revenues by up to 30 percent in areas where it operates. It has been backed by Bangor Chamber of Commerce, Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster, Cathedral Quarter BID and Ards and North Down Borough Council among others.

Roam Local app founder Andrew Bartlett said:

“The majority of small and independent retail and hospitality businesses still emerging from the pandemic and facing into a cost-of-living crisis are in a fresh fight for footfall.  Most simply don’t have the big marketing budgets which national or multinational chains enjoy to promote themselves to consumers, which is where Roam app can really make a difference.


“This free-to-download digital solution for consumers puts businesses back in the driving seat, enabling them to showcase the very best of themselves and their destination, keeping visitors regularly and innovatively engaged.”

Andrew Bartlett, from Darlington, launched Roam app in 2017, and it is now used by more than half a million people across the UK, and many more worldwide.

“I established Roam Local to help support and empower businesses to market themselves using a low, cost-effective solution that promotes their offer, attracts customers and delivers a real investment return. As SMEs continue to emerge from the effects of the pandemic, and are faced by rising costs, its need has never been greater,” Andrew added.

Bricks-and-mortar businesses, such as shops, cafes, bars and cultural venues, can tailor their listings with images and other information to show themselves off in the most effective way using the app. Through push notifications, it allows businesses to communicate directly to their customers any news, offers, events or loyalty rewards that they have available.

Four push notifications a month are included for free. However, businesses can purchase affordable bundles of extra notifications if they wish to communicate with their customers more frequently.

Welcoming Roam Local’s rollout across Northern Ireland, Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said:

“Businesses are facing a series of new crises. Rising energy bills and weakening consumer confidence means we need every tool in the box to help stimulate consumer demand and footfall on high streets, to support jobs and livelihoods and safeguard future investment. This new digital solution has proven to be a great local success to date and I hope that its growth in Northern Ireland will provide even more valuable support over the weeks and months ahead.”

Gareth Murphy, CEO of Vertigo Holdings, best known for the We Are Vertigo leisure business, and as a major investor in Belfast city centre’s hospitality sector, said:

“The Roam app is an exciting marketing tool for us to start a conversation with new and existing customers – from sharing our offers, our latest menus or more general news and information directly to their phones. Harnessing digital technology and continually finding new ways to engage our audience, and find new customers is key for our businesses and it will continue to be for many other businesses and organisations in Belfast and across Northern Ireland in the key months ahead.”

Roam Local is hosting a launch party event in Haymarket Belfast on Thursday 15 September. Those who download the app will receive free entry and exclusive deals on food and beverages. For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/roam-local-belfast-launch-tickets-402331132247