A Hotelier’s Guide to Pokémon Go
July 18, 2016 1:59pm
We’re going to assume you’ve heard of Pokémon Go. In the last week, this game has shot to the top of the mobile app sales charts, has been covered by every media company from ABC to Zee News and was even co-opted by the U.S. presidential campaigns. But beyond the hype, what does Pokémon Go mean for your hotel and for the broader travel industry?
What is Pokémon Go?
In case you’ve heard the name but aren’t familiar with the details: Pokémon Go is a smartphone game in which players traverse the real world to hunt and capture Pokémon — pocket monsters. Players then breed and train their Pokémon to engage in battles with other players for control of in-game locations. The game is a very loose form of “augmented reality,” where digital content is layered over the real world. For instance, the fountain of a hotel near Sabre headquarters acts as an in-game landmark where players can pick up items.
The launch of Pokémon Go is a cultural moment anchored in nostalgia, bridging generations and bringing friends, families and strangers together to chase whimsical digital creatures anywhere and everywhere on the globe. As a brand, Pokémon is more than 20 years old, and is one of the world’s most successful video game-based media properties. The Pokémon motto, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” has always encouraged players to scour virtual worlds for countless imaginary creatures. Tens of millions of members of Generation X and the Millennial Generation grew up playing Pokémon; their children continue to play newer iterations of the game.
How is Pokémon Go affecting behavior?
Perhaps you’ve noticed a sharp uptick in people walking around, staring at their phones, their trance punctuated by intermittent shouts of excitement. These people may or may not be guests at your property, but this is to be expected. Pokémon Go is effectively a multi-generational scavenger hunt, and in the digital world of the game, there is no “out of bounds.”
In addition to capturing Pokémon, another key element of the game is visiting in-game landmarks (called “Pokéstops” and “gyms”), each of which is tied to a real-world location, which also encourages people to wander around.
It’s important to note that the correlation between in-game locations and real-world landmarks is not systematic. Pokémon Go landmarks are based in part on user-submitted locations that the game’s publisher, Niantic, used in their previous location-based game, Ingress. Because of this, you may find that, in addition to monuments or landmarks, Pokémon Go locations near your property include seemingly random locations such as lampposts or flights of stairs.
Twitter and Instagram are full of Pokémon Go messages—both from individuals and from brands. The in-game camera makes it fun and easy to share humorous or novel pictures. For instance, @VirginAmerica tweeted “A little preflight #PokemonGo” along with a few pictures. And the Texas Rangers are using twitter to encourage fans to come to the ballpark to catch Pokémon, with pictures of Pokémon in the stands. You can be sure that, if they aren’t already, people will soon be searching your properties and grounds for the elusive Pokémon they seek.
How do I support my guests?
Before any other steps, you or a staff member should join Pokémon Go to determine whether your hotel is — or is near — an in-game landmark. If your hotel is within 40 meters of a landmark, this dramatically increases the chances of Pokémon Go players coming through your space.
Currently, there is no easy way to become a landmark, but Niantic has announced it is working on in-game advertising and sponsored locations, which presumably will create an infrastructure for any location to partner with Pokémon Go.
Regardless of your landmark status:
How do I create a positive experience for potential guests?
It’s important to think of these Pokémon-seeking visitors not as “non-guests,” but as “potential guests.” Generation X is currently the generation with the highest percentage of spending; Millennials are rapidly closing the gap, but they are more focused on purchasing experiences than they are objects, though the objects they do buy trend towards luxury items. These groups — and their children — are the visitors most likely to be playing Pokémon Go, and providing these groups with a positive experience is vital to long-term success for your hotel. With that in mind, here’s what we recommend:
What’s the takeaway?
Pokémon Go players are on foot, moving around the real world – not only living out nostalgia, but actively creating memories. In these early stages, Pokémon Go is reveling in being inclusive and in bringing people together. This is a powerful bandwagon to be on because these players are predisposed to engage, and to do so with a certain sense of whimsy. For anyone who walks onto your property — whether current guest or potential guest — you have a powerful chance to create a positive, welcoming, engaging experience that will help build brand loyalty among a powerful demographic, a connection that will last into the months and years ahead.
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Sabre Corporation is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.
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July 27, 2016 12:57pm
nice read https://www.hotel-online.com/press_releases/release/a-hoteliers-guide-to-pokemon-go