The Pokémon Go craze and tourism businesses

Keep hearing about Pokemon Go and wondered how tourism businesses can use this technology, then read on!
First published on July 25, 2016
Last updated on December 20, 2019

A game where people look for virtual creatures in public spaces and businesses can be a cost-effective marketing tools to ‘lure’ people to your business. The game uses an augmented reality app on your mobile phone.  Niantic, the game-maker in response to the craze is in the stages of confirming sponsored locations and giving businesses the opportunity to submit a request form to be featured as new Pokéstops and Pokégyms. Businesses can attract more Pokémon and the visitors looking for them using a ‘lure module’. This costs 100 Pokécoins, or $US1 ($1.30). An even cheaper options, purchasing ‘incense’ which lures wild Pokémon to your location costs 80 Pokécoins for 30 minutes.

According to Tnooz, Australia-based hotels group Mantra, has already jumped on board. Their properties in Sydney and Melbourne offers free ‘Pokémon lures’ to increase gamers’ chances of catching one of the virtual critters, as well as a bowl of free chips with any drink purchase on Fridays. The Sydney Opera House is also offering up free Pokémon Go lures on Wednesday 20 July, for two hours to draw people to their attraction. Museums such as the British Museum that have Pokéstops in their publicly accessible areas are hoping to cash in by converting gamers into paying visitors. 

image2Smaller museums such as McNay Art Museum in San Antonio and Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Boca Raton, Florida have become visitor magnets. McNay Art Museum, according to a Skift article, shared an image on Instagram of the coiled purple snake Pokemon, and in two days the museum’s Instagram account has seen a 125 percent increase in engagement, and security estimates that the social media buzz has translated to a 50 percent bump in visitation. Similar success stories are being told by other tourist attractions, events, bars, restaurants and on a larger scale with destination management companies (DMOs) such as Visit Anaheim, Travel Portland and Visit Orlando. Yelp, which offers crowd-sourced reviews and online booking services, shows businesses with Pokéstops nearby to help Pokémon Go adventure seekers find the best hot spots.

Pokémon Go craze is a fad but it’s cheap and can be leveraged to your advantage. 

Credit – Research and original draft by Afiya Holder.  

Afiya has just completed a Masters at University of Queensland and has been an intern for the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation)

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