Earlier this week there was a discussion on SmokeStack Radio about what makes a great cigar event (and what should be listed as an Event on CigarPlaces.com).

The short answer is that you don’t have to be hosting Rocky Patel himself (or throwing a huge, epic event) in order for you to list it on Cigar Places and get the word out.

Throughout the discussion, Smoke and I talked about how whether we’re on the road for business, or we’re in our home town, if there’s anything going on at our local cigar lounge or cigar shop, we want to know about it!  Smoke may have put it best when he said,  “If you’re ordering some pizzas and putting them out in the shop and turning on the game on Sunday, I want to know about it!

If you have any of the following coming up, list them!

  • Happy hour deals or drink discounts on certain nights.
  • Football on Sundays (list each game!)
  • College Football Saturday
  • Ladies’ Night
  • Hosting a Band or Singer

 

Right now the Add Cigar Event page has five fields that you need to fill out to add an event; it’s pretty easy.  If you can think of a way to change it to make it easier, I’m all for hearing ideas.

Events will likely be hitting the iPhone App soon, so cigar smokers who pull out there iPhone and look for a place to smoke a cigar will be able to see events that are currently going on, and that are upcoming.

Chris on August 23rd, 2012

Earlier this week we released v2.0 of the Cigar Places iPhone App which empowers cigar smokers to add tips and photos to CigarPlaces.com right from their iPhone. In order to keep cigar store and cigar lounge managers and owners on top of all of this new activity, we’ve also added Alerts to the Manager Platform (if you haven’t claimed your location yet, now is a great time to do it; it’s easy and free).

When you enable alerts in the Manager Platform for each of the locations that you manage, we’ll send you a quick email whenever a cigar smoker adds a tip or a photo at your location.

Why Setup Alerts?

If you look at the content of many of the tips that are left on CigarPlaces.com, you see that many of them contain:

  • Questions (hours of operation, where smoking is allowed, whether alcohol or food is served).
  • Compliments or complaints about the service.
  • Comments or questions about upcoming events.

Each of these comments are extremely well-suited for an official response from a manager, and the best response is a timely one!

Pick whether you want to receive alerts for tips, photos, or both in the Manager Platform, and you’ll receive an email like the one below whenever a tip or photo is added.

Setting Up Alerts

To setup alerts visit the Manager Platform and select Alerts from the right toolbar. Check the alerts that you want to receive.  Your alerts will automatically be saved and you’ll start receiving alerts the next time someone adds a tip or a photo.

Chris on August 22nd, 2012

Add a Photo & Leave a Tip

Finally users of the Cigar Places iPhone App can do more than just look at photos and tips.  With the release of v2.0 it’s now possible to be a more active participant in the Cigar Places Community, right from your phone.

Cigar Photos

Snapping a picture and adding it is now just a couple of touches away.  Grab your iPhone and take pictures of your favorite cigar lounge, you holding the cigar that you’re currently smoking, or whatever comes to mind.  All of these photos are helpful to other cigar smokers who are using the app to find a place to have a cigar, and want to see what a cigar place looks like before they head over.

 

Tips

The same goes for tips.  Things are always changing when it comes to cigar lounges and bars.  They hold events, the run special deals, they remodel, they offer great service (and sometimes terrible service).

Seeing tips from other users makes it easy to know what to expect when you’re walking into a cigar shop or cigar lounge, so the next time you sit down at a cigar friendly place to enjoy a smoke, leave a tip for the rest of us!

 

 

We Also Improved the Map

If you conduct a search or you’re looking at cigar friendly places nearby, and you need to zoom the map out slightly or drag it to a new location, clicking Redo Search in This Area will display cigar friendly locations in the new area.

We think this took a lot of the clunkiness out of the old way of searching (having to put in a new city every time).

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

 

 

And the Way You Search

We introduced a new way to handle ambiguous city names by displaying a selector that allows you to choose (are you searching for London England, or London, Ontario?).

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, You Can Manage Your Account Right in the App

If you’re an existing CigarPlaces.com user, you can log right into the app using your email address and password.  If you don’t have an account, you can create one and manage it right from the app (it’s only 4 fields).

 

 

 

Stay Tuned for More

This version is barely a week old, but we’re already working on the next version of the app.  Let us know what features you want to see, or if you find anything that needs to be fixed/tweaked.

Chris on August 14th, 2012

If you haven’t Claimed Your Location and gotten access to the Cigar Places Manager Platform yet, here is a great reason to do so.

You can now add your location’s hours to your page on CigarPlaces.com.  We’re always out to find new ways to provide cigar smokers with the most accurate and up-to-date information about cigar friendly places, and with the introduction of the Manager Platform, we now have a way of getting accurate hours of business info.

To add hours to your location, login to the Manager Platform and click “Location Info” in the right menu.  You’ll see the Hours: entry right below your location’s description.

Your location’s hours will be displayed right under the categories on your location’s page.

Chris on March 14th, 2012

We’re excited to announce the first revision to the Cigar Places iPhone App!  This update includes the ability to remove locations from the map, and fixes some small bugs that we found in the search functionality and the Places Nearby feature (read below for news about the next big update!).

Easily Remove Locations From the Map

Earlier this year we re-vamped the way that locations are removed from the map on CigarPlaces.com by allowing unregistered users to easily flag a location a not-cigar-friendly.  This update led to a big jump in the number of places that are removed from the map, and increased the overall accuracy of the site.

With version 1.4 of the app, we brought this same functionality to the iPhone!

If you’re browsing the map, and you see a location that you know is not cigar friendly, is out of business, or is listed more than once (a duplicate), just click Remove Location at the bottom of the location’s screen, and let us know why you’re removing it.  The location will be removed from the map within 24 hours.

Improved Search and “Places Nearby” Features

Hate bugs?  So do we.

In this version we fixed two bugs that were impacting the search features and the function that allows you to find cigar friendly places near you (using the phone’s GPS).

In the past version, a user searching for a city such as London, who would expect to get London, England, would frequently get a smaller city named London that was close to their current location.  This felt counter-intuitive, so we fixed it.

Give it a shot.  Search for London, Paris, Munich, Tokyo, or Miami, and feel confident that you’re not going be taken to a map that shows cigar friendly places in the 3,000 person township of London, Michigan.

If you happen to be spending a weekend in London, Michigan, just search for “London, Michigan”, and you’ll be taken to that section of the map. Anyone know of any cigar friendly places in London, Michigan?

In the Next Update

We’re working hard at developing the next round of features that we think will make a big splash.  Most noteworthy, the ability to snap a photo on your iPhone, and easily add it to the app.  We’re also adding a Tips feature that will let you write a quick tip or review of a location.  Stay tuned for this version coming up soon!

Chris on February 13th, 2012

It’s not uncommon that when we can’t find a reasonable solution to a problem, we set out to create a good solution.  That’s exactly what happened in the recent weeks at CigarPlaces.com.

Last week we launched the new Events section of the site.  Events will act as a central place on the web for cigar lovers to find great cigar events going on near them.

Cigar Event AreaAlso, like the rest of the site, it’s all user-generated, so it’s super easy to add a cigar event that you’re planning or coordinating.

Each location page on the site now includes a section in the right column that lists upcoming cigar events for that location, and the events are also publicized widely across various pages of the site.

See Upcoming Cigar Events in Your City

Clicking a city or state link on the homepage of the site will now take you to a page that lists upcoming events in that city or state (in addition to the cigar friendly places in that area).  This is probably the most powerful aspect of the Events section.  When we first set out to develop the new section, we wanted to make it easy for cigar lovers to quickly see all of the cigar events that are coming up in their area in the coming weeks and months.

In the very near future we’ll be building out this section to include more robust search/sort features, but for now we think this does a hell of a job.

Spreading The Word

Clicking on the title of an event anywhere on the site will take you to a page that shows the full details of the event.  From this page you can also easily share it to your network of friends on Twitter and Facebook, or email the event to friends.  People who are planning on attending can also discuss the event on this page and easily add images of the venue or event.

cigar event

Adding An Event

You can get to the Add Event page a number of different ways.

From a Location’s Page
If you’re on the location’s page on CigarPlaces.com, you’ll see a section that lists upcoming events for that location in the right column.  Below the list of upcoming events, you can click the “Add a New Event” to add a new event for that location.

From a City or State Page
On each city and state page, you’ll see a list of upcoming cigar events in that city or state.  Below the listing of events, click the “Add It” link to add a new event.

Adding The Cigar Event
If you click through from a location’s page, then adding the event is a simple matter of setting the start and end time (if there is an end time), putting in a title and description, and setting the price.

If you arrive from a city or state page, you need to specify where the event is going to be held.  When you start typing the name of the location, the page will show you the places on CigarPlaces.com that match the name that you’ve entered.  If the place isn’t on the map yet, click over to the homepage and add it, then return and add your event.

Add Cigar Event

We know that on some occasions events may be held at locations that don’t necessarily belong on CigarPlaces.com (parks, event halls, etc).  We’re currently working on a work-around solution for this.  Check back soon.

I Already List My Events on Facebook

I’m not going to try to make the point that not everyone uses Facebook.  The fact of the matter is, most people do, and that makes it a great place to publicize cigar events. Unfortunately Facebook makes it pretty difficult for people to find cigar events that are going on near them.

You can easily see what events you’ve been invited to, and you can search for a keyword like “cigar” to see a bigger list, but it’s pretty difficult to find something that shows you cigar events coming up this month in Atlanta.

Aside from being a mechanism to easily publicize your events to people that aren’t on Facebook, we’ve created a place that cigar smokers in a city can visit frequently to see upcoming events around them.

Take It For a Test Drive!

Like everything else on the site, this will be a continually-evolving section.  Test it out and tell us what you like and don’t like about it!