Using Foursquare to Boost Tourism A Business Proposal for the Arizona Office of Tourism
Foursquare is a part of a growing base of services that rely on real-time locations via GPS location. This is part of a growing movement that is called “Geo-Tagging” Geo-Tagging is directly defined as: The process of adding geographical information to meta data. For example, one could “tag” a picture or a video with a specific location (latitude and longitude being the must geographically accurate). Once tagged with a specific location, this metadata becomes easier to group. Geo-tagging offers a sort of “augmented reality.” Users can overly data into real-world locations. It is a merging of the digital and physical worlds.
Foursquare uses the GPS locator within a smartphone to determine the user's location. Then a list of venues that have been tagged in this era are displayed. A user can choose which one they are at and “check-in”. Upon “checking-in” a user receives points, can ping their friends there location, see who else has checked in recently and read user-generated tips about the location.
Badges are awarded to the user for specific achievements Some examples: Adventurer - Check in to 10 different venues. Local - Check in at the same place 3x in a week. School Night - Check in after 3am on a school night. Far Far Away - Checking in outside the city “boundaries”.
Foursquare has started to partner with various corporation to create brand pages. Some of the brand pages currently in existence are: Bravo, MTV, the History Channel, VH1, Explore Chicago . . . These pages allow users to “follow” the brand. The brand leaves specific tips on locations relevant to the brand. Users can even unlock brand-specific badges. The Bravo Foursquare Page is an example: Bravo Badge
This proposal is based on a similar plan authored by the Chicago Office of Tourism in which Foursquare users can check in at various places in Chicago that have been featured in movies and obtain certain badges. The first step is creating a brand presence on Foursquare. An Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) page will be created. With this brand page the AOT will being to leave tips relevant to tourist attractions within Arizona. This will create a sort of electronic travel guide by identifying tourist attractions that a user may not be familiar with and providing information on certain activities one could try while at these locations. A sample of what the AOT Foursquare page would look like:
The next step will be tagging these various locations with relevant Arizona tags. Most of the venues that will be featured will already be tagged, but additional tagging can lead to creation of some Arizona-specific badges. For example: A bar on Mill Avenue could be tagged “Mill Ave” in addition to its existing tags (which would be: bar, nightlife, drinks, etc). Other tags could include “AZ Parks, Sports Venue, AZ History, etc” With custom specific tags, tourism-related badges can be created for those traveling through Arizona and using Foursquare. Sample proposed badges include: Spring Fling – Visit five or more Spring Training venues Brewer – Visit two or more of Arizona's famous breweries (ie Santan Brewery or Four Peaks Brewery) Sports Nut – Visit all four major pro sports venues. US Airways Center, University of Phoenix Stadium, Jobing.com Arena and Chase Field. The Gambler – Visit three or more Indian Casinos in Arizona. Arizona Adventurer – Check into locations in five or more Arizona cities.
Those that rack up the most badges and most points in Arizona Tourism would be eligible for prizes. For example: Someone who has unlocked the official AOT Badge could enter the AOT offices, display the badge and receive an Arizona Tourism Guidebook, amongst other things. Users that accrue the most points during their ventures to Arizona tourism spots will get featured on an Arizona Office of Tourism website dedicated to the electronic travelers across the Arizona and those visiting from other states. Being featured on the AOT website or receiving badges would incite people to visit more places throughout Arizona.
Budget and Staffing Working with Foursquare Part-time or full time help may be needed to monitor all Foursquare activities. Additional web and graphic development will be needed to create the companion website and design the badges. The cost of the project is variable. Partnering with Foursquare is a variable cost that is most likely decided upon negotiation with the company itself. There will also be a cost of maintaining the companion website as well as developing the special guide book given to the Foursquare participants. Additional funding will go towards hiring full or part time help with the project.