I think I played and quit Foursquare 4 times by 2010. It’s been a long time since I used it, but it’s still there… and the fan base seems loyal to publicly opt-in to their locations being known, and the businesses they favor (or just currently exist at) being recognized.

We’re still struggling how to best use them, without the normal “don’t be too creepy” side of brands over-interacting and nearly spamming consumers.  Much of the time, consumers want to wear the brand more of a fashion icon, rather than wanting personal relationships with it, online.  However, Foursquare, and those check-ins, are a bit different.  They don’t happen everywhere, but they do at luxury properties, and definitely in Silicon Valley.  That being said, here’s a few ideas of how to find a bit of value in them….

Some of this is just conversation… like whether to reach into Facebook profiles and contact on behalf of the hotel. I think if we do it in the interest of the guest, and true customer service…. and not that self-interested marketing angle that wears out social media users, it will be fine, not odd/intrusive, and almost welcome. One thing to consider is someone who participates in a public-facing check-in is more receptive to social interactions than someone who locks down their profile or doesn’t participate in geo-social games, etc.  And we can pick and choose… those who use geo-social, and *also* add the links to their public twitter or unlocked/not private Facebook accounts are making more of a statement about their proclivities to interact online, than those who do not put those links on the Foursquare profile, etc.  But, the reason I am itching to figure it out is that Foursquare is implicitly opt-in on the public side of social, like Twitter or much of Instagram. These people want to be noticed and engaged with, more than not.




We could start tapping into some concept of loyalty that adds value to these people. You never want to hand them back cash, but if you offer someone that checks in an offer for a value add, loyalty, or some small discount for booking directly next time.




We can offer a value add for a check in at the property at the time it happens. I am not sure we can keep the speed of communication necessary.  But we assume a check in means that someone is already reserved or staying at the hotel.  We could either a) try to mine who the person is, and send an amenity to the room, with a thank you for staying and sharing your experience. I know there isn’t some demonstrable ROI in a check-in, but those users are more likely to share “unique” moments or experiences, and if you had an appropriate amenity, I am sure a snapshot would show up on instagram, twitter, etc.




We can reach out to any check in through their connected social media accounts, and basically say we’re there for them (if still at hotel), and if they have any comments, questions, needs, don’t hesitate to reach out.  We could ask them to review us if they enjoyed their experience, and if they did not, to let us try and repair the issue.  We could offer welcome back, book direct deals, or amenities for next time, etc.  It’s a chance to be incredibly genuine about us wanting to be the best in Silicon Valley, and they should either help us become that, or let other people know we are!


NB:  I have a *WONDERFUL* texting app I could have put into the hotel, that can be routed in a number of ways. If you want to try it, it’s simple, and refreshing. Everyone texts. It’s not an app… not some gimmick. It’s real guest service via the ability of a guest to text. It’s quite intimate, because the hotel nestles inbetween texts from husbands, kids, friends, parents, etc.




By closer auditing check-ins, we can look at these people’s social accounts, and likely catch a post on their social about our hotel, that might not show up in places like revinate because it lacks the appropriate keywords.  When I was managing social, there was always this frustrating bleeding of quality posts and content that weren’t easy to find because they didn’t pop up in searches.  This way, we organically find real content to reshare that isn’t all “keyword” centric, therefore seeming more genuine and less “me, me, me”.  It’s fairly easy, as that content usually appears in their twitter, FB, or instagram around the time of their Foursquare check ins.


What are your ideas, hotel world?

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