Anatomy of a Successful Foursquare Deal: Hotel Los Gatos

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With the avalanche and proliferation of smartphones, applications for smartphones, and the adoption rates for the iPad on the rise, why are people under utilizing geosocial (“Check-in”) services like Foursquare? According to the latest Pew Research survey “5% of cell owners, equaling 4% of all adults use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla.”  Before attempting to answer the question why more people are not utilizing geosocial services, the following findings provide an interesting snapshot.

Pew Research Mobile Statistics

  • 28% of American adults use mobile and location-based services
  • 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location
  • 9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services
  • 10% of smartphone users have used a geosocial service
  • Smartphone owners ages 18-49 are more likely than those over 50 to use either geosocial or location-based services on their phones

The Anatomy of a Foursquare Deal Done Right: Hotel Los Gatos

Our best experience with a Foursquare deal was during a recent local weekend trip. The Hotel Los Gatos, in beautiful Los Gatos, CA, created a smart check-in special for their guests. Guests that check-in on Foursquare to the the Hotel Los Gatos receive a $10 credit for their in-room mini bar. That’s it? Here is what the deal delivered to us and to the Hotel:

  • Mini Bar: the Hotel priced their alcohol and food items very reasonably. Due to there price structure, we were able to enjoy two premium beers (Heineken) and a food item- jar of almonds.
  • Goodwill: the moment we confirmed our “free” Foursquare deal at the front desk, we felt a sense of goodwill. We felt the establishment would take care of us, provide us great customer service, and that they cared about our perception of them
  • Economic Impact: Because the hotel invested in us, we invested in two more food items and a split of wine. Net result: we spent $18 on mini bar items we would have never touched
  • Onsite Sales: materials in the mini bar, branded with the Hotel Los Gatos’s in house restaurant Dio Deka, led us to investigate the restaurant. Although we did not stay for dinner, we will return to the restaurant for a future night out

How Can Businesses Attract More Foursquare “Check-Ins”?

  • Simplicity: create a simple, valuable offer that people will enjoy. Give your product, service, or expertise in a manner that is generous enough to make a visitor feel special yet economical enough to make sense for your business
  • Top Down: ensure that everyone in your business, and most importantly those people coming in contact with the public, understand the Foursquare offer
  • Give It Away: do not create an offer that requires consumers to spend triple digits before receiving something in return. Instead give away your product, service, or expertise first. Give first before asking for something in return
  • Ensure They Return: create an offer that provides an incentive for consumers to return to your establishment
  • Rewards Card: in step with keeping your consumers coming back, create a geolocation check-in rewards card. Allow consumers to accumulate points. Brand the points with your name and logo. Give them something to keep in their wallet or purse, something they will show friends, and something that is elegant enough to inspire them to continue to carry it with them

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