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Foursquare for Hotels - The How and Why Guide.
By Jakki Temple Govan ~ Exclusive Views On The Latest Social
Wednesday, 11th June 2014
 
Exclusive Feature: With so many social media platforms available in the online space you may be thinking, is adding another one really going to give my brand an online boost that will convert to sales?

When it comes to your hotel and Foursquare the answer is yes.

Launched in 2009, Foursquare tracks the movements of its users through GPS and prompts social engagement by following friend’s whereabouts providing more incentives with more activity. Having already surpassed 10 million users who are creating more than 3 million check-ins a day, Foursquare is a prime platform for driving hotel’s online marketing strategies.

With various ways to attract new customers and engage current customers, these Foursquare guidelines will point you in the direction of location-based social success.

Claim Your Listing & Create a Brand Page

Head to your Foursquare app and search the name of your business. If your venue doesn’t pop up proceed to scroll to the bottom of the page and click “add this place” to establish your brand on Foursquare. From there you’ll be guided through a few steps including listing the name, address and categories of your business.

One important note worth mentioning at this point is to not skip any steps. Putting in the exact address and choosing all of the appropriate categories your business falls in to will help users find you when they are searching for venues in your general area. For example, you will want to list categories relating to travel, recreation and food (if your hotel has a restaurant) to make sure your hotel pops up even if someone is looking for places to eat and socialize while their vacationing in your city.

If you go to search your business and you find it’s already there, don’t fret; you can still claim ownership even if someone else was more Foursquare-savvy than you. Begin the process of claiming ownership by clicking the “Do you manage this venue?” button.

Then follow the steps for verification of ownership. Whether your hotel is previously established on Foursquare or not, as with any social network make sure your profile is complete with all vital information a customer would need to reach you.

Offer Foursquare Specials

Foursquare makes it easy to see the marketing value of their app. They now have a variety of specials you can choose from as a business to help encourage check-ins and drive more traffic your way. A couple specials Foursquare suggests are the Newbie Special and the Friends Special, which you can completely customize to hit your specific marketing goals.

For example, if you’re looking to boost your room service orders revenue create a special stating if three people in your room check in you receive one complimentary item from the room service menu during their stay. Another example might be someone who checks in for the first time receives 20 percent off one of your spa services or next stay in the hotel.

Train Your Staff

Now that your marketing wheels are churning, take a second to take a step back and think about the logistics of carrying out a Foursquare-based marketing campaign. Your employees have to be informed and trained to handle customers redeeming special offers to make your efforts even remotely successful.

Make sure you communicate to all departments affected by your campaign so customers aren’t left feeling disappointed and frustrated when an employee appears to have no clue what they’re talking about when going to redeem their prize. Additionally, make sure you have the proper provisions to handle your special. Keep specials more general and broad to avoid the risk of running out of a giveaway product or service.

Reward Your Mayors

A mayor is someone who has the most check-ins at your business over the course of two months, which means this is someone who has frequently invested in your business in way or another.

Give them a reward for their loyalty by offering something on a larger scale than your typical specials, for example a room upgrade or voucher for free drinks during their stay. Foursquare-users who know there’s a reward for being the mayor of your business (more than just bragging rights) will compete for the title, which just means a boost in traffic and better rankings on Foursquare.

Measure Your Efforts

Keep track of analytics to see what resonated with Foursquare users and what flopped. Measured values are pretty simple on the dashboard of the app and include measurements of daily check-in activity, your top users check ins and how many specials have been redeemed.

While these measurements don’t get very detailed, it’s a starting point for figuring out how to establish your brand presence and weave in your marketing strategy on Foursquare over time. 

Beyond extending your brand’s online and social presence, fully participating and engaging with Foursquare users sends out the message that you’re focused on your customer’s experience while they stay with you. You’re not just looking for a way to get them to book at your hotel; you’re also providing opportunities and ideas for them to have a great time while they’re your guests.

For minimal time and money put in when compared to other social networks, Foursquare will definitely be showing you a high ROI. 

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Jakki Temple Govan is the Commercial Director at the InterContinental Adelaide.  With an extensive career spanning over 25 years in the hotel industry Temple Govan has worked within many major Australian Hospitality brands from The Star to Sofitel Sydney to the Accor group. Specializing in sales and marketing she has her finger on the pulse when it comes to digital marketing. You can connect with Jakki here at LinkedIn.



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