All independent hospitality owners should be embracing the Pokemon Go craze that has hit the UK. At Boostly HQ, we have been using the app extensively (purely for work-related research reasons, we assure you). Today, we look into how all hotel and guesthouse owners should be tapping into this explosively popular game.
You may not know your Squirtle from your Pikachu, but harnessing the power of Pokemon Go could be key to increasing profits for your hospitality business. With millions of downloads worldwide, the game, which is based on the nineties children’s TV series, is a smash hit phenomenon, with eager fans pounding the pavement and swarming landmarks looking for rare Pokemon to add to their collection.
The premise is simple: Players download the free app on their smartphone, which allows them to become a Pokemon trainer and start searching for the elusive cartoon characters. To find them, they have to physically get out and about, as the Pokémon appear randomly at various locations. Players can see the creatures as part of an “augmented reality” landscape on their smartphones. They then have to “capture” the Pokemon they spot using Pokeballs. This adds Pokemon to their teams.
But this is more than just a game for children. It’s been 20 years since Nintendo launched the original concept. Many of those who grew up with the game are now in their twenties and thirties. These are among the keenest players searching for Drowzees and Jynx. How can this benefit your business? With the game launching in the UK on Thursday, now is the time to get involved and make the most of its growing popularity. Read on for our top tips on how to harness the power of Pokemon Go to boost your business.
Create a Pokemon-friendly business
Let people know that you’re part of the craze. Download the app – it’s free on Apple and Android – and search your premises for Pokemon. Make sure you get a screenshot or two of the elusive creatures you find, then display them prominently at your reception for guests to see. Share them across your social media channels. Players really cannot get enough Pokemon news, so if you find a rare or powerful specimen hiding out and enjoying your hospitality, make sure you shout about it. Devotees will soon be heading your way in a bid to “catch ‘em all”.
Check for PokeStop and Gym locations nearby
As part of the game, keen Pokemon trainers search for PokeStops and Gyms to help them increase their powers and collect vital equipment. These are usually set up around landmarks. Check the app to see if you are lucky enough to have one or two nearby. If you do, then this is brilliant news, as it will almost certainly increase footfall around your business. Players will want to stock up on supplies at PokeStops or train and battle their Pokemon in the Gym. This means they will spend time nearby. If you’re close enough to one of these fixed locations, consider setting up a Pokemon-friendly space where people can sit and play the game or recharge their phone batteries. Hopefully, they will buy refreshments from your café or bar at the same time. Consider offering special discounts as an added incentive.
Lure players to your business
Alternatively, if you are willing to make a small outlay and happen to have a PokeStop nearby, you can buy a ‘lure module’ as part of the game. These relatively-inexpensive in-app purchases will attract Pokemon to your vicinity, and the proximity of the PokeStop will allow players to continue to hunt for hours without running out of supplies. Choose when you will activate your lures modules and then simply advertise. Your Lure Party will ensure that eager players make a beeline for your business. Lures last for around 30 minutes, but you can buy and activate them in quick succession to create a longer event if you want. Then, simply take advantage of the increased footfall. Run special offers on food and drink to keep people refreshed as they hunt for Zubats and Rattatas.
Offer prizes and giveaways
With all these excited Pokemon trainers hunting around your business, now is the perfect time to encourage people to share their screenshots on social media and raise your Pokemon profile. Not only will this increase your exposure and allow potential customers to see pictures of your premises, but if you have rare or exotic Pokemon in your vicinity, it will also bring in even more players and entice them to stay with you. Make sure users tag you in photographs and offer prizes or discounts for your favourites to keep people sharing pictures.
Download the game and PLAY it
Above all, Pokemon Go is fun. Adults who enjoyed the craze as youngsters are now sharing the excitement with their own children. Download the app to your smartphone. Play the game and get used to how it works. Even if you’re not a Pokemon fan, hunting Pokemon is strangely addictive. Augmented reality and virtual reality are going to be a big deal over the next 5 to 10 years. Pokemon is just the start of AR and VR being in the public realm on a readily available basis.
Why not organise family-friendly Pokemon hunts around your property at a set time each day, where families can head out together to look for favourites like Machop and Pidgey? It’s a great chance to show off the best parts of your business. Your staff can join in and offer prizes for the first or best Pokemon captured during the hunt. Make sure and share pictures of any Pokemon that you find at strange or bizarre locations on your site. Showing off Pikachu relaxing in your dining room or Charmander enjoying your en-suite facilities is bound to raise a smile!