In case you haven’t heard of Pokémon Go already, it is the latest phenomenon in the mobile games sector. Now, why should you as an hotelier care about a mobile game? Well, Pokémon Go is a game that works in real world, with the combination of geolocation (GPS) and augmented reality (displaying virtual images on top of real images) .
The point of the game is to “Catch ‘Em All”. In order to collect Pokémons, players have to go out in the real world and go to places where the Pokémon appears, mostly near virtual landmarks called PokéStops. Other virtual landmarks the Gyms are an in games arena that can be controlled by one of the three teams of the game.
Where this becomes interesting for many businesses is that those virtual landmarks correspond to real-world landmarks, so it is a fantastic way to attract people to a specific location such as a shop, a pub or a restaurant. Hotels can also benefit a lot from the Pokémon Go craze.
In this article, we’ve listed our “5 levels” to becoming a Pokémon-friendly hotel.
Level 1: Decide on a policy and discuss it with your staff
Pokémon Go, being set in the real world, will attract people to your hotel. At the very least, you need to decide how you are going to welcome them and be consistent.
Are you going to completely ban visitors that wander in your hotel on the hunt for a Pokémon, at the risk of losing a potential guest?
Are you going to go all the way to make your establishment a “Pokémon-friendly hotel” (like the Australian group Mantra Group), at the risk of annoying your actual guests in search of privacy and relaxation?
The decision is up to you and depends on every situation. If you target families and a young adult demographic, keep on reading through.
Level 2: Define Pokémon-friendly areas
Obviously, we do not recommend banning Pokémon-seeking visitors from your property. Instead, identify which area in your hotel would benefit the most from an influx of visitors and make sure your staff know to redirect the visitors there. An obvious example is, of course, the bar. While you’re at it, make a special offer for those thirsty Pokémon-seekers, or do like this bar in London and serve Pokemon inspired cocktails!
At the same time, identify the areas that you want to keep clear, or reserve to your actual guests. For example, under no circumstances should you allow access to the bedroom floors of your hotel – Pokémon Go uses GPS coordinates, which do not take elevation into account.
You should also define a policy on reasonable play times for various public areas. For example, just so you know, nocturnal Pokémon will only appear… at night.
Level 3: Communicate on Social Media
Just search Twitter for “Pokemon hotel” and you will realise the Pokémon Go trend is a fantastic opportunity to promote your establishment. You could, for example, organise a little contest and have guests post photos of the Pokemon found in your hotel.
When there's a ton of Pokemon right there in your hotel room😍 pic.twitter.com/z1zYHTyaxX— emmie drake (@_DarlingKay_) July 13, 2016
It doesn’t stop on social media though. With a little imagination, you can also ride the wave to your advantage on other websites, such as TripAdvisor or even Booking.com. Just have a look at this hilarious review and TripAdvisor, and the brilliant response from the hotel staff. Here is the best part of the reply:
We are really glad you, your girlfriend and your Charmander had a pleasant stay. It is really nice to know you could get five levels up at Pokemon Go just sitting in our hotel.
Did you try our breakfast? The breakfast room is full of pokemons, hidden between the croissants, the scrambled eggs and all the delicious dishes we propose to our clients. Also, there is a pokestop in the bathroom just behind the breakfast room! Not to mention the private rooms reserved to the staff, you should have asked to have a look!
We are all looking forward to welcome you again and to help you out catching more pokemons and beating all the other pokemon trainers. Do not hesitate to contact us to enjoy our special promotions for your next Parisian pokemon trip!
Level 4: Have a map ready for your visitors
Alright, now you are getting serious about making your hotel a Pokémon-friendly establishment. The first step is for you or a staff member to join Pokémon Go, and get familiar with the game.
You will need to determine the nearest in-game landmark (PokéStops and Gyms), and create a map. Make sure your front-office staff, especially the concierge, know where to find the map and are able to inform your guests about the hottest spots! If you want to provide the very best service, also provide a daily update about which team control what Gyms.
If you are using Dmbook Pro (if not, you should really give it a try for free now), the intranet module is perfect for that, simply put the list there.
Level 5. Lure Pokémon in
If your property is – or is near – a PokéStop, you have the possibility to place a Lure. A Lure is a virtual item that you can buy in the game, that will make Pokémon appear in your hotel for 30 minutes.
You will need to spend (real) money to buy (virtual) PokéCoins, with which you will be able to buy Lures. One Lure costs 100 PokéCoins which cost $0.99 at the moment.
Define times of the day where you will activate one (or many) Lure, and then communicate about it on your social media accounts!
We set up a Pokemon Go lure module in our grounds and caught a Pidgey, and a Zubat! #SheratonPokeSpot pic.twitter.com/BRn14y5M20 — Sheraton Park Hotel (@Sheratonprkana) July 20, 2016
What if your hotel is not near a PokéStop? Well at the moment there is nothing you can do, but Niantic has confirmed that they will make sponsored PokéStops available soon, so that might be a solution. Keep an eye on it, or even better, signup to our blog below to get the latest hotel industry trends & news.