Winter Haven man develops real-time events app

WINTER HAVEN – Jon Lane is an early adopter of the PROMO app and has had positive results.

“You can launch the app wherever you are and see what’s going on right away; it’s a way to know what’s going on even if you’re not local,” he said. “It shows live active events in real time and at that time.”

Launched on major Apple and Google app stores in late April, the PROMO app was designed by George O’Neill III, a Polk County native who grew up in Lake Wales.

Lane, 36, opened Haven Coffee Roasters in 2021 and, along with his wife, Lynsey, oversees eight employees. The Lakeland resident said he has used PROMO for a couple of coffee events, such as live music Saturdays, some ‘theme’ days and always works with PROMO staff to help identify them. ways to use it more effectively.

PROMO combines various aspects of social media applications such as Facebook with the websites of ticketing services such as Ticketmaster, O’Neill said from his office in Winter Haven. He said he designed the app with innovative features not found on any other app.

George O'Neill III

O’Neill and his eight employees keep the app up to date and allow users to see what events and entertainment options are happening nearby, in real time.

“We already have people waiting around Winter Haven to start accessing and using the app; we’re ready to rock and roll,” said O’Neill, who grew up working in a sculpting studio with his parents, George and Amy O’Neill.

Among the features that make PROMO unique, O’Neill said, is what he calls “the promotional offer aspect.” This feature allows users to earn rewards based on sharing trends. For example, he said that if someone is going to a movie at a local cinema and the event link is shared via Facebook (if the event uses the promotional event feature and Facebook is used for sharing ), the user can possibly win a discounted ticket or a bag of free popcorn or other benefits.

“It’s an automated infrastructure that facilitates automated social media engagement in exchange for goods and services,” O’Neill said. “It’s basically a way for businesses to save money on social media advertising and provides free social media engagement.”

PROMO also has a map feature that allows users to visually see events taking place. By clicking on the events on a map showing the surroundings, an app user can get more information about the event display, the time the event is taking place, if there are tickets left for the event and their cost or if the event has promotional features.

Andrew Allen, CEO of Z Axis Solutions, a Winter Haven marketing company, said what sets Lane’s app apart is its ability to combine an event experience.

“It’s aimed at small businesses, philanthropic institutions, local governments,” he said. “It gives small businesses back the power to control their marketing and event rather than paying a business to advertise an event without any guarantees.”

O’Neill said another benefit of the PROMO app is that consumers using it won’t have to pay for ticketing fees or other ticketing services. He says the promo-deal feature is another feature of his app. His goal is to see the app become practical and widely used day-to-day.

“I would love to one day walk into an establishment and stand in line and watch someone participate in the promotional offer in front of me without them even knowing that I developed the app,” he said.

The PROMO app can be downloaded for free from the Apple and Android app stores.

Joel C. Hicks