Michelle Wohl is the VP of Marketing at Revinate. Based in San Francisco, Michelle has worked in technology marketing since graduating from Cornell University.

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How Hotels are Using Foursquare

In April 2011, foursquare, the addictive location-based service for smart phone users, announced that there had been more than a billion check-ins on the platform. In addition, 500,000 businesses are using foursquare’s Merchant Platform to create “specials,” which are location-based mobile coupons. Many of those businesses are hotels and restaurants looking to drive awareness and increase loyalty with regular customers.

The Distrikt Hotel in New York’s garment district has always been at the forefront of social media. They actively engage with prospects and clients on Facebook, Twitter and now foursquare. Grant Schilling, Sales and Marketing Manager, believes that social media is the best vehicle for providing the little touches that create strong bonds between businesses and customers. He sees foursquare as a great platform to spread the word about the hotel and to drive demand.

The Distrikt Hotel has set up both their hotel and restaurant, Collage Bistro, as “venues” on foursquare. When users check in on foursquare using their smart phones, they have the opportunity to earn 1000 loyalty points at the hotel or receive a free drink (with a minimum spend) at the restaurant.

Even more importantly, whenever guests check in on foursquare, the hotel acknowledges them in a special way. Depending on availability, they will either receive a room upgrade, a special amenity or dessert, or a note thanking them for their loyalty.

Andaz San Diego is another socially active hotel that believes foursquare is a good place to connect with guests and prospects. Andaz’s Marketing Manager, Rachael Giannecchini has created venues for all their public spaces and has created specials geared towards their foodie fans. For example, a recent special at the hotel’s restaurant encouraged customers to check in to sample seasonal Chef’s Choice appetizers. While Rachael cautions that Facebook, given its size and content-rich platform, presents higher-volume opportunities to engage and share information, she thinks that having a presence on all social channels used by guests is important to a hotel’s success on social media.

La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort is another hotel actively using foursquare. The hotel began participating on the platform when the social media manager, Simon Benus, noticed that no businesses in Puerto Rico were offering foursquare specials even though he and his friends were active users of the application. He says, “I saw getting the hotel officially on foursquare as an opportunity to be ahead of the competition and to generate some free word-of-mouth publicity.”

In the beginning, Simon’s goals were modest. He just wanted his properties to stand out, which was easily accomplished since businesses that offered specials on foursquare were listed with a prominent orange label. He also wanted to generate positive awareness, which was easily accomplished because foursquare notifies friends of guests when they check-in to the hotel.  And guests quickly began to notice that the hotel was active on foursquare. Guests routinely tweet when they unlock specials such as free Mojitos at the lobby bar.

Whether you are looking to increase your visibility on social networks or surprise and delight your socially active guests, foursquare is a great platform on which to participate. The cost of entry is free and all you need is a resource to monitor and manage check-ins and engage with guests. And, best of all, Revinate customers can set up specials and monitor tips and check-ins from their Revinate dashboard, making the process seamless.


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