Digital Check-Ins: Free Marketing for your Tourist Spot

Put yourself in the shoes of your travelling customer for a minute.

Imagine that you just arrived at the gates of Casa Fuster, one of the most impressive modernist buildings in Barcelona, and, while waiting for a drink at the bar, you want to check in from Facebook or Google+, but the place is not available. You try looking for it on Foursquare, but you don’t have more luck.

Your perception about the place would be that it’s of a lower quality than it is; that it’s not an established and popular place. Even though locals would tell you that’s the opposite. You, as a connected, tech-savvy traveller feel a bit left off and your experience of the place will not be as rich as compared to the venue having a great online presence.

Travelers checking in to local venuesNow, let’s get back to your real role, as marketing responsible of a travel attraction or hospitality place, such as Barcelona’s Casa Batlló, or Girona’s Baños Arabes.

You have the opportunity, very cheaply, to create a space online where travelers can use geo-tagging, thus enhancing their experience. As we know, 74% of travelers use their mobiles while on the trips to find information, inspiration and for checking-in. If you don’t choose to use this marketing tactic for your travel attraction or service, you are missing out on a lot of connected mobile travelers, who expect to find your spot online.

Location-Based Marketing in Barcelona

Travel and hospitality companies in this Mediterranean gem are bustling with tourists the greater part of the year. This makes it a tremendous opportunity to use geo-marketing (also called location-based marketing) tactics to enhance the experience of travelers and obtain more positive reviews. However, it seems that many establishments are still lagging behind.

I did a quick study on the top 15 most interesting attractions in the city mentioned on Foursquare, the top geo-marketing platform, with nearly 30 million users. From museums, to memorial homes and parks, none of them is claimed by their owners. None. They show up on the list because travellers themselves signed-up the places so that they can check-in while on vacation. But the marketers for these attractions still do not take the chance to create a geo-social online presence, even when travellers show signs that they want to interact with them.

Today, the best tools to start with geo-marketing activities are: Facebook Places, Foursquare, Yelp and Google+ Visits. If empowered in your favor, they can give the business lots of returns.

What are the Benefits of doing Geo-Marketing?

  • The availability of digital check-ins offers an enhanced perception of your brand, gives it more visibility and makes it look more modern and innovative.
  • Foursquare SpecialsRegistering your place on Google Places will help with the positive brand image and seriousness of the establishment. Don’t forget, travellers are unfamiliar with the places they visit, and the more online presence supported by photos, videos, and informational material, the more trustworthy your venue becomes in their eyes.
  • Empowering travelers to use geo-tagging and talk about your brand while on vacation means actually letting them do the marketing work for you. Because when they check-in and comment on where they eat, sleep and play, they become influencers for their networks and promoters of your brand.
  • By incorporating special offers and widgets available on the geo-marketing platforms you will attract even more visitors. There are many travelers who track specials as they cross cities, so being present online and being active will bring in more customers through the (real) door.

By choosing not to incorporate geo-marketing in your activities or simply by ignoring such powerful platforms for your business, you are shutting down a door of direct communication with your clients.

It can be overwhelming to manage so many social platforms, each with a different purpose and strategy. However, the best bet in the travel industry is to take advantage of travelers’ willingness to check-in wherever they go and give them what they expect to find. They will help your travel business grow its online presence and enthusiastically share the buzz about it with their global networks.

Are you actively including geo-marketing activities for your travel business? If so, what other benefits do you get from it?

Photos sources: TimeOut and Bullfeathersdc.
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