My daughter, Rachel, and her IPhone visited us last week. Yes, for anyone under 40 these days, the smartphone has become an important member of the family.
It (the IPhone) was constantly busy checking maps, email, dates and times, reviews and occasionally, Foursquare.
Rachel was a lonely Foursquare checker-inner much of the time, but the few recommendations and comments that appeared were relevant and extremely useful for the rural tourism destinations we visited.
When there is only one restaurant in a small town, reading a comment from a local about a favorite menu item was helpful.
This experience got me to thinking about ways that location-based applications could help small towns and rural tourism destinations.
Becky McCray at Small Town Survival wrote an excellent post that nails it. In “How do you make FourSquare relevant for small towns” she talks about how regular small town residents can help their town by checking in!
Locals with smartphones should get busy and check in to their favorite local businesses! My daughter, like everyone else with a smartphone, relies on online reviews and recommendations over advertising every time.
This is something that is quick and easy for a busy small local business owner to implement in three steps.
- Claim your business on location-based applications like Foursquare and Facebook Places.
- Offer some kind of a deal for anyone who “checks in.” – dollar off drinks or dessert or whatever – it’s a game! Be sure to educate your wait staff about handling check-ins.
- Ask your loyal customers to check in and leave recommendations. Post a sign “We’re on Foursquare or Facebook Places!” and watch for the action to take off.
When we were in working in southern Arkansas rural tourism towns this spring, the Pilot mini-mart was the top Foursquare hangout in the region. Students from the local college ended up doing major shopping there, vying for Mayor status.
And guess where we went for gas and snacks. We learned first hand that location-based applications are not just for restaurants and “trendy shops.”
Any good Foursquare stories to share?
Here are several past posts that might help you get started with location based applications.