Sometimes You Wanna Go…
Danny Betancourt | August 9, 2010
How do you “check-in?” There was a time when the term referred solely to overnight hotel stays, airline baggage protocols and phone calls back home. Nowadays, you’re probably “checking-in” with your favorite location-based mobile phone app. Whether you’re at a restaurant, coffee shop or retailer, there’s a growing irresistible trend to share our whereabouts with your social networks. Location-based social networking is adding an unprecedented new virtual layer of exploration to the physical locations we visit. Advertisers and marketers are quickly catching on and the benefits are proving both useful and rewarding.
A recent personal conquest of mine is to earn the title of Foursquare Mayor at a nearby Starbucks by having the most check-ins. The recognition comes with more than just the gold crown icon; it also means in-store perks like reduced priced coffee reserved only for the reigning Mayor. With Foursquare now totaling nearly one million check-ins per day, this wealth of information is becoming a significant source of value. There’s no doubt that major search engine service providers such as Google and Microsoft are also taking notice of the rich metrics consumers are sharing about the locations they frequent. Google Places is one such service where Google is rumored to add check-in features, providing the world’s largest search engine with a direct source of real-time check-in data.
As location-based services continue to expand, so too will the incentives and programs offered to those who participate. SCVNGR, another location-based service provider, recently launched a virtual challenge where patrons check-in and take part in scavenger hunts, earning points towards freebies at participating venues. The benefits aren’t only for the consumers; business owners are also taking advantage of the useful statistics offered by services such as Yelp, providing them with valuable check-in data via the Yelp mobile app. With social media and location-based services playing an ever-increasing role in our lives, this new level of interaction brings a whole new meaning to the places we go “where everybody knows your name.”
At the time this blog post was written, I still have not become Foursquare Mayor of a Starbucks, but I do have a nice caffeine buzz from trying!