By Jennifer Rodrigues Q: I've been using Facebook and Twitter to promote my hotel over the past months and have seen great success in developing relationships with my potential customers. Do you have any other suggestions on new social media sites to check out?
What is it? foursquare allows you to share your physical location with your friends by "checking in". It gives friends a way to keep in touch and follow what their friends are doing, what businesses they enjoy frequenting and lets them know when they are close by so that they can meet up. There is another aspect to foursquare: customers earn points and "badges" for visiting certain establishments or for checking in multiple times. When you've visited the establishment more than any other foursquare user, you become "mayor" of a particular establishment/location/etc. and there are bonuses that you can earn as long as you remain reigning mayor - i.e. free drinks, free food, discounts, etc.
How many people are using it? foursquare has just surpassed 500,000 registered users and is growing quickly.
How can hotels/hospitality companies use foursquare to promote their business? foursquare can be used indirectly by hotels and hospitality companies to promote their product. Because it is a location-based site, it tells customers about hotels/business that are nearby to their physical location. It also allows the business to provide incentives for customers to choose to frequent their property over another close-by using the "mayor" bonus. As you know, repeat customers earn hotels the most amount of money so why not leverage the foursquare mayor bonus to get your customers to keep coming back for more. A mayor bonus like a free night at your hotel would be a great incentive for guests to continue staying with you over the competition.
ASMALLWORLD is based off of the premise of six degrees of separation and allows members to meet others within an international network of people who share common interests and similar ideas and backgrounds. Unlike other social networking sites, the only way to become a member is to be invited by a current member.
How many people are using it? ASMALLWORLD has approximately 550,000 members from more than 200 countries internationally. ASMALLWORLD calls their members "culturally influential people", which in layman's terms, we can safely translate to mean an upper income, jetsetting crowd.
How can hotels/hospitality companies use foursquare to promote their business? This site cannot be used for self-promotion like Facebook or LinkedIn; however, it does offer many advertising opportunities for companies looking to reach their target audience. Because of the typical member's interests and income, this site would most likely be most appropriate for four or five star properties who are looking for a place to advertise to a luxury-seeking clientele. Note - ASMALLWORLD sells ad space based on impressions.
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About Jennifer Rodrigues
Jennifer Rodrigues, Visibility Specialist with ThinkInk and TravelInk'd, is a seasoned public relations professional with a passion for the hospitality industry, which is expressed in her role at ThinkInk's travel division, TravelInk'd. At TravelInk'd, she is responsible for developing cost-effective and creative public relations and marketing strategies for clients in the travel and tourism, airline, lodging, cruise and meeting/event sectors. For more information on TravelInk'd, please visit www.travelinkd.com or contact Jennifer at email@example.com.