By now, most hotels have come to understand the importance of social media, but many are missing out on a rapidly growing social media opportunity…Foursquare. Foursquare is a location-based service, which can be linked to a user’s Facebook and Twitter account, and allows visitors to check-in to a place to accumulate points, earn badges and unlock special deals.
For the uninitiated, here is how Foursquare works from the user’s point-of-view:
- Download: Users start by downloading the Foursquare app to their smartphone or other mobile device.
- Open the App: When a user visits a particular location (store, library, train station, airport, park or other point of interest), they open the app on their mobile device to “check in” on Foursquare.
- Let Your GPS Do the Work: In order to “check in,” the Foursquare app relies on the mobile device’s GPS location to determine points of interest in the vicinity that the user might want to check in to.
- Select Your Location: The user scrolls through the list of nearby places and selects the coffee shop they just entered.
- Check In and Leave a Tip: The app asks if the user would like to check in to the selected coffee shop. In addition, it asks if you’d like to share this “check in” with other friends in your network, which might include other friends on Foursquare, Twitter or Facebook. Users can also write tips for those who may consider checking in to the business in the future.
- Get a Discount: Some business offer discounts and freebies to encourage users to “check in” on Foursquare.
- User Benefit: The benefit to the user is that it’s a fun game that awards points for achieving various check-ins. For instance, if you check into 5 coffee shops in one week you might earn the “Coffee Achiever Award,” worth 5 points on Foursquare. While the points themselves don’t necessarily mean much, they do foster a healthy competition among friends.
- Business Benefit: The benefit to the business is the viral sharing of a user’s check-in. Other friends in a Foursquare user’s network will see where the user checked in, as well as any tips or recommendations on that business or point of interest. For such little effort on behalf of the business, the organic spread of the business name can work wonders for your hotel’s social reputation.
How To Get Your Hotel Started On Foursquare
Whether you realize it or not, your hotel is most likely already listed on Foursquare. Whether the business wants to participate or not, users can create their own check in locations, so it’s best to claim your business so you can use it to your advantage. Hotels and other businesses are slowly noticing their presence on Foursquare and are leveraging themselves to engage more customers and guests. Here are a few steps to optimize your hotel’s presence on Foursquare to connect with your guests and grow customer loyalty.
Customize Your Foursquare Page
Foursquare recently allowed for businesses to create pages for free. Hotels can now add customized banner images, create hotel descriptions, add a link to their website and more. Customizing your page will set you apart from other nearby businesses and will provide guests with an access point to your website.
Create Hotel “Check-In” Promotions
Hotels can get creative with their promotions on Foursquare, offering everything from free wi-fi to a complimentary dessert in their restaurant. When a guest checks-in to your hotel through Foursquare, their check-in is shared not only with all of their Foursquare friends, but also to everyone connected to them through Facebook and Twitter. Offering an incentive to your hotel guests is a quick way to get your hotel name across to hundreds of people at the click of a button!
Create a List of Nearby Restaurants and Attractions through Foursquare
A list of nearby attractions to your hotel is an added value to your Foursquare page. This is a great way to engage your guests and give them a reason to return to your Foursquare page while they’re staying with you.
Let Guests Know Your Hotel Is On Foursquare
Remind guests to check in when they enter your hotel by including a “We’re on Foursquare” decal or flyer at your front desk. Most heavy Foursquare users will check anyway, but it helps to have the reminder to encourage participation.
If you follow these tips to optimize your hotel on Foursquare, you’ll have your guests checking in while they’re checking in at your front desk in no time!