I noticed that Starwood have started to promote the use of FourSquare on their Starwood Preferred Guest website, prompting guests arriving at their hotels to use FourSquare to check-in – with an extra incentive of course! Not only to earn the usual badges and become a mayor as you usually would with the social media channel, but to claim extra SPG points and even the chance to win free resort night rewards. Each check-in will earn you an extra 250 bonus Starpoints as long as you have a confirmed reservation at that property. This is now live at over 1000 Starwood hotels.
I actually can’t think of another major hotel chain that’s worked out it’s strategy with FourSquare, or currently doing something in this way, and wonder how successful this has been to date. I also wonder how else this is being promoted or whether guests are just stumbling across the added bonus when they naturally try to find their hotel on FourSquare, as they would do a restaurant, airport etc. I can’t see the classic FourSquare logo being displayed on the door of a trendy W hotel!
So I’m considering two things here: firstly, will other hotel chains adopt this kind of strategy? Starwood obviously realise that a percentage of their guests (particularly their American members I assume) are using FourSquare, and that they see the potential promotion of their hotels through this channel. Secondly, if the service is well used, I do wonder how manual the process is to credit these check-in members with the free Starpoints. Have Starwood found an automated way to process this in their own systems? Or is this down to someone at property level to match the check-in’s with guests stays and confirmed reservations? You can imagine how big this task could be if adoption grows. Of course, this could also be managed centrally at such a large organisation as Starwood, who I am sure must have a social media team in place, or even let this be managed by the Starwood Preferred Guest team itself perhaps.
Great to see a worldwide hotel group like Starwood trying to use Foursquare more effectively an interact with their guests. I really think that other hotel chains will follow suit. Afterall, FourSquare is another means of interaction with your guest and by adopting an incentive based scheme such as this, it can only be a great way to drive brand loyalty. If your customers are checking in to your property on FourSquare, then why waste the opportunity to truly interact? Understanding the power of such social tools is important and ensuring you have the required strategy in place to manage this, even more so.