Geosocial Scene: Foursquare 3.0 – 7 Merchant Side Opportunities

The following is a post from Kevin Olivieri, TIG Global Social Media Analyst.

Foursquare just recently released a version upgrade, just in time for the recent SXSW extravaganza, and we have the rundown on what these changes are and how they affect your business.

For starters, Foursquare 3.0 has finally transformed user check-in data into recommendations through a new ‘Explore’ tab. By taking into account a myriad of data, most prominently being where you’ve checked-in, frequency, check-in times, as well as data from friends check-ins (along with a host of other data), Foursquare can now serve recommendations that they feel target users the best and are the most interesting. Foursquare has also tweaked their platform to include more engaging gaming elements in an attempt to drive the competition between friends and users.

Merchant Updates
Foursquare’s biggest changes for businesses are the new merchant side features. Owners will be exposed to a more in-depth analytics platform that provides insight into check-in demographics. This information is important for hotels because you’ll now have a clearer look into who is visiting your hotel and who their connections are. And maybe begin rewarding them with…you guessed it…specials.

Rewarding the Players
Feeling the heat from Facebook Places, and competition in general, Foursquare has expanded their ‘Specials’ offering to now feature seven new options - Check-in specials, Friend Specials, Flash Specials, Swarm Specials, Newbie Specials, Mayor Specials, and Loyalty Specials.

1. Check-in Specials (Original)
What it is: Guests unlock deal when they check-in
Why it’s important: Incentivizes guests to check in and share their location and experience with friends and the network
Example: Check into our hotel bar and get $1.00 your drink

2. Friend Specials (New)
What it is: Similar to Facebook Deals, guests must check in with X number of friends and unlock deal
Why it’s important: The big benefit here is that you’re getting multiple people together for an experience at your hotel that they can share with their friends
Example: Check in with 3 friends and get a available room update

3. Flash Specials (New)
What it is: Limited offer special
Why it’s important: Makes people act quickly on the offer rather than wait and possibly forget it
Example: The first 100 guests to check in get a free night

4. Swarm Specials (New)
What it is: Group specials
Why it’s important: Hotels can set deals to unlock after a certain amount of check ins
Example: When 50+ people check in at one time, drink prices drop 20%

5. Newbie Specials (New)
What it is: Special for first check in
Why it’s important: Entices new guests to experience your business
Example: On your first check in, enjoy complimentary wifi

6. Mayor Specials (Original)
What it is: Special for guest who has checked in the most
Why it’s important: Encourages and rewards guests for their loyalty
Example: Free room upgrade for Mayor
Note: You should also add employees to your employee list on Facebook so the guests actually can get the mayorship

7. Loyalty Specials (Original)
What it is: Special is unlocked after X amount of check ins
Why it’s important: Gives customers a reason to continue to return to your business
Example: Get free appetizer from Hotel X Restaurant after 5 check ins
Note: There still aren’t many options to integrate existing in-house loyalty programs with Foursquare outside of TopGuest.

Additionally, the updated interface now includes a feature for users that shows all ‘Specials’ near their current location in the ‘Places’ tab. This feature is particularly good for consumers, but also for businesses, as it provides a new opportunity to stand-out amongst the competition and perhaps influence customers to visit your establishment at put your business at top-of-mind.

Foursquare 3.0 is certainly a big improvement over the previous versions of the service, but some big questions still linger. Can Foursquare avoid “check in fatigue” or are those users too far gone? And what is Facebook Places next move to beef up the competition? Regardless of those speculations, the fact is that Foursquare has added some very useful business features and should help to usher in greater adoption of this technology, as well as a new wave of users to the geolocation industry.

What do you think of the new Foursquare? Do you think Foursquare can avoid “check in fatigue” this year? Sound off in the comment section below.

Interested in ramping up your social marketing strategy? Learn more about the full suite of interactive services from TIG Global, email us, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK)

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