“Check-In" To New Opportunities on Foursquare
With over 20 million users, Foursquare provides businesses with a great opportunity to engage with users on a hyper-local level. Featuring a streamlined interface and growing user base, there’s no reason that your hotel shouldn’t use this social media site. Setup is easy and it there’s very little management needed on a daily or even weekly basis. In December, Blue Magnet's very own Abby Heft described how to create a Foursquare profile for your hotel. Since then, there have been a few updates to the system.
Here’s a quick overview of the redesigned Foursquare dashboard and new features that allow brands to focus on customer acquisition and retention.
New Updates & Useful Foursquare Features
- Local Updates: Foursquare recently added the “Local Updates” feature so that brands can keep in touch with their loyal customers. You can now share new menu items, discounts, etc. and they will show up in your customers’ friends tab when they’re in the area. For example, as a hotel, you could offer a free cup of coffee from your in-house Starbucks to the "mayor" (most loyal customer) of your property. These updates go out to your fans, show up on your business page, appear when someone has checked in and can be found in Explore (Foursquare’s search component).
- Promoted Updates: Looking for more opportunities to acquire customers? Foursquare recently launched “Promoted Updates” that work similarly to Google AdWords, as results are based in part on relevant queries. This is currently rolling out using a “cost per action” model in which local updates (information or specials) are fed out as recommendations based on location and past user/friend activity. Currently if a user is near one of Foursquare’s 23 launch partners they will see these updates labeled "Promoted." The great thing about this is that Promoted Updates only feed out to people in the area, enhancing relevancy. Promoted updates are currently in the beta phase and there isn’t any data available to judge its effectiveness, but you can sign up to learn more.
- Multiple Venue Management: If you’re an agency or hotelier managing several properties’ profiles on Foursquare, the administration process is now more streamlined. For example, you can now create one special and feed it out to all of the properties to which you would like it applied.
- Improved Insights: Foursquare has also made improvements in terms of how you view and monitor engagement with your property. You can view check-ins to your business, check-ins shared via Facebook and Twitter, and unique customer information. This is an easy way to see how venue check-ins are affected if you are running a promoted update, featuring a check-in special or are managing another campaign. These changes also allow business owners or account managers to view the virality of their local or promoted updates.
6 Quick Tips for Managing Your Hotel Foursquare Profile:
- Always have a check-in special running for your hotel. Discounts (like spend $35, get $5 at our restaurant) and Freebies (like complimentary wi-fi with your stay) are an excellent way to attract potential customers performing a search. By rewarding devoted clientele with loyalty specials (like get a free night after 5 stays), you will also encourage engagement with your property and allow them to be an advocate for your hotel. This is also a great way to highlight rewards or points offered upon check in.
- Claim a Foursquare profile for your hotel restaurant. This way you can implement targeted special offers, garner attention of your amazing food and include your menu right in the profile.
- Add a Foursquare button to your website, if possible, so guests will know that you’re actively engaged and will be reminded to check in upon arrival.
- Make sure your profile is up-to-date. Include a good description, profile picture, banner picture (similar to Facebook’s cover photo), include your URL and link to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
- Improve your brand’s “Categories” section. This is a very important part of being found on Foursquare. Simply go to “Tools” in your Foursquare toolbar and then click on "Edit categories." You will now be able to add categories and tags relevant to your hotel. Do you offer free wi-fi? You might want to tag it on here so searching customers can find you for that feature.
- Encourage customers to check in through online and offline social media promotion! Foursquare will even send you a free window decal that should be placed somewhere prominent at the hotel (maybe at the front desk or front door) so that guests are reminded to check in. Foursquare users can now search via “trending places” and check-ins are critical to your visibility, not to mention they always expose your hotel to customers’ friends.
Take these steps and utilize Foursquare’s new features in order to encourage engagement with your property and increase brand awareness…it’s easy!