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Follow Pokémon Go to More Sales for your Hotel

Not Just A Game

Within 5 days of its launch Pokémon Go was downloaded more than 7.5 million times, making it more popular than the dating app Tinder and nearly more popular than Twitter. More average time is spent on Pokémon Go than is spent on several other leading mobile apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook, according to USA Today. It also shows unusually strong user retention with more than 60 percent of people who have downloaded it using it daily. Not only is the game fun to play, but has created a new way for people to get out, explore places they never would have, and meet new people.

What is it?

Pokémon GO is essentially the world’s biggest scavenger hunt, where players roam the real world looking to capture and collect little virtual creatures called Pokémon. Players go to PokeStops, which are often local landmarks, to receive rewards. Some locations are seeing so much traffic as a result that warning signs are popping up all over the world. The game works by using a Smartphone’s GPS of your real-world location and augmented reality to bring up cool-looking Pokémon on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you.

The ultimate goal of the game is to “catch’em all”. There are currently 151 Pokémon to collect – some more difficult to find than others – and once captured players “train” Pokémon at virtual Gyms to become more powerful. Pokémon Go is a free-to-play mobile app but you have the option to use real money to buy in-game currency called PokéCoins, which you use to purchase Pokéballs, the in-game item you need to be able to catch Pokémon. PokéCoins can be purchased or earned by playing the game.

Why should you care?

Pokémon Go generates a huge amount of foot traffic for brick and mortar businesses which of course includes hotels, restaurants, attractions and activities. As Pokémon Go players hunt for their prey, local businesses are capitalizing. A simple in-app purchase and a creative marketing campaign can draw in large amounts of new customers and increase in sales.

And YES, they are in the Caribbean. Not all Caribbean destinations have the game as of yet, but they will be making the game accessible to more and more locations over time. Currently Pokémon can be played in Aruba, USVI, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Barbados, Antigua, Bonaire, Dominica and Anguilla.

Strategies to Increase Sales Using Pokémon Go

  • article-2-thumbFind Stops or Gyms: Find out if there is a Pokémon Gym or PokeStop near you. Download the game to your Smartphone and look around your neighborhood.
  • Purchase Lures: They are an in-app purchase. Lures increase the rate of Pokémon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for a half hour. They can draw in an incredible amount of foot traffic. You can buy 84 hours worth of lures for $100 ($1.19 per hour).
  • Advertise: if you are or near a PokeStop or a Gym let people know about it. Put a signup on your store window and promote it on your social media.
  • Giveaways: offer Pokémon related giveaways. Give players a Pokéball shaped cookie if they buy a coffee. Something that will draw the players in, let them know they are welcome and incentivize them to spend money. Offers discounts for customers that have captured certain Pokémon, guaranteeing they spend money rather than just hanging around. Offer free WiFi!
  • Charge them Up: sell players extra battery packs or set up charging stations at your location. The app doesn’t use much data, but it chews through a smartphone’s battery power.
  • Keep Score: if you are a Gym or near one keep score of which team is in control of the Gym, and then offer an upgrade or discount to members of that team.
  • Get Social: take in-game screenshots and post them on the social-media with the hashtags #pokemongo and #pokemon. You can then place a Facebook ad targeted only inside the geographical radius of your choice, to spread the word only to those people liable to actually stop into your store.
  • Capture Cruise Ship Players! Pokémon Go does not work on cruise ships. It can be run on Wi-Fi but you would need a hefty data package to run the game at sea. Also cruise ships aren’t mapped with PokeStops and gyms — at least not yet. This is great news for cruise ship destinations that can lure.
  • Explore with Pokémon: Plan entire “Discover Anguilla” (for example) package for your guests using Pokémon Go as your travel guide.
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