Location-based services (LBS) such as Foursquare began as a game for exploring your city through a mobile device. But they also present hoteliers with a new way to monitor guest activity, feedback, and loyalty. Here are five ways to optimize your hotels’ presence on Foursquare:
1) Merge your locations
Discovering multiple profiles on each LBS service is a common issue many hotels encounter when beginning to manage this area of their online presence. Foursquare offers two ways to resolve this:
> Report the duplicate location on Foursquare’s GetSatisfaction support forum. Superusers on that site regularly review these reports and merge locations as needed. (The process may take a few days though.)
> If you created the venue, click Edit Venue along the blue bar and make corrections. You can flag a venue as closed, duplicate, or having an incorrect address.
2) Create your business profile page
As of August 2011, Fourquare profile pages are self-serve. Any hotel brand can now create their page, attract followers, and share tips.
If you have not created your profile page yet, do this now.
3) Offer meaningful benefits for participation
This could be a coupon or location-specific offer. But other hotels are getting creative with the rewards they provide. Tnooz reported about how the Radisson Edwardian chain in the UK offered guests the ability to keep their rooms longer if they checked in on Foursquare or Facebook.
It’s interesting to note that many users of location-based services are looking for more than just discounts or special offers. An April 2011 study by White Horse revealed that 41% of users are looking to connect with other people they know, while 21% of people use these services to identify locations liked by people they trust. Earning financial incentives was the top priority for only 8% of these people.
Many industry professionals are beginning to explore the link between LBS and guest loyalty.Starwood Hotels is working with Foursquare to provide guests at Sheraton, W Hotels, and Westin with loyalty points through the Starwood Preferred Guest program. TopGuest is also building technology to enable this, and counts Best Western, Hilton, Kimpton and Wyndham among its clients.
4) Monitor tips & activity
Reputation management is an important part of optimizing your Foursquare presence. Foursquare and other LBS typically allow people to post tips, highlights or mini reviews of each place they visit. These short-form text reviews can be useful from a customer intelligence standpoint – acting as a “24/7 virtual mystery shopper” for you.
Make sure your team is monitoring these in real time with technology such as ReviewPro.
5) Create tailored city experiences for guests
I’d like to close with a case study of how this could look in action. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Group recently began offering local advice from their concierge team through Foursquare, so as their guests traveled each city, they could live the Ritz-Carlton lifestyle. Given the adoption rate and availability of location-based services, they saw this channel as the perfect way to share their internal knowledge with the world. Travelers would be able to “carry the collective wisdom of The Ritz-Carlton staff in their pockets.”
Travelers have two ways to access this information. The first is to follow The Ritz-Carlton on Foursquare, where it is possible to see every new tip that is published. The other way is through traditional check ins. The program was designed to not be exclusively about The Ritz-Carlton,and you don’t have to be a guest to engage with the brand. For example, if you are at the Red Square in Moscow, you might see tip or something special about the neighborhood. Promotional messages are not the top priority.
Foursquare provides hotels with intriguing new ways to connect with their guests and enable customer evangelism. To capitalize on this trend, make sure you have supporting technology that provides real-time monitoring and analytics for this area of the social web.
ReviewPro offers Foursquare monitoring as part of its complete social media management platform, along with the ability to track reviews from the top 65 online review sites and online travel agencies (OTAs). Request a demo now to learn more.