Foursquare and Tourism: Another New Social Media Tool

Foursquare for tourismFoursquare, the latest new and free location-based social media tool based on mobile device use that is taking off.

What is it?

Using a mobile device with GPS, it’s a way to explore a city and find people, places and things to do.  The users “check-in” to their current locations and can earn rewards in doing so.   
It’s got much more of a “game” approach to it than other social media tools where users can “unlock badges and discover new things” for rewards, but the interesting bit is that these things are in the real world so businesses can use it to influence behaviour and actions, turning Foursquare users into paying customers.

Is It Useful for Tourism Businesses and Destination Marketing?

You bet ya it is, well eventually anyway – once more people start to understand it, and provided it’s content continues to grow throughout New Zealand then it could become quite a powerful tool for travellers to decide what do to and where to go while visiting, plus you can incentivise your regular customers.

Here is a link to find out how businesses can use Foursquare to reward their customers with special offers and incentives.  You can either “claim your venue” as the business owner if someone has already added your business on Foursquare, or you can add your venue yourself.  Once you have claimed it you can monitor the stats, add special offers and award prizes etc.

Claim or create your business as a Foursquare Venue

This article “VisitPA uses Foursquare to it’s Full Potential” on the Project Wander blog is perhaps the first example of a Destination Marketing Organisation getting onboard with Foursquare to market it.

The limiting factor right now in New Zealand is the quality and lack of mobile internet access nationwide so it’s use is mainly in the cities….that may take some time to fix, but if your coverage is good then give it a go for your tourism business or organisation.  Would be great to hear about any businesses using it already.

4 Comments

  1. Tim Hayward May 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    Foursquare requires a lot of users to make it worthwhile, it gets better with more users, i.e. the “Network effect”.

    I was using it around Auckland recently but it became a bit lonely, being the ‘Mayor’ of many places but really getting nothing back for it.

    It needs a critical mass of users and of establishments providing rewards. It has this in the U.S. but not yet elsewhere. And I think we will see similar functionality coming in other applications like Facebook and Google places, which arguably already have better scale.

    Certainly a hot area to keep an eye on.

    Tim

  2. Josh June 1, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Yeah good call Tim. Also, not as many kiwis have compatable phones yet and those that do, pay ridiculous tarrifs for data from the thieiving phone Networks.

    I would like to see it hit this critical mass and take off but Im not sure this will happen. It could quite easily just be a fad and fade away when users realize they are not getting anything useful from the service. Hope not though

    Josh

  3. Dawn November 24, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

    Critical mass is the part that is needed for it to take off in New Zealand. As Tim pointed out, when you’re the “mayor” of everywhere, it’s a bit lonely. Like being the first and only guest at a party.

    However, look at both Twitter and FaceBook within the New Zealand tourism industry. Everybody is on board.

    Foursquare will be like that in a few years. I think tourism operators need to be getting their heads around what it is and joining in. It will be a bleak and lonely place for awhile but our American guests will utilize it and eventually even the average kiwi family on a day’s outing will be signing in.

    I don’t think Foursquare is a fad. I believe it is the next Twitter.

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