Pokémon Go is luring in new guests

Pokémon Go is luring in new guests

Pokémon Go is luring in new guests

The international release of the biggest mobile app game since Candy Crush has stunned the UK, with thousands of users taking to the streets to find and catch Pokémon. It’s already proven a lucrative opportunity for hospitality operators to give their sales a boost… after all, chasing those cartoon characters is hungry and thirsty work.

Big Hospitality reported that Costa saw a 30% rise in footfall across its Pokéstop adjacent stores and L'inzio Pizza Bar in New York saw sales rise by 75% after a forward-thinking employee spent $10 on a lure, attracting an influx of wild Pokémon to the area – with Pokémon “trainers” hot on their heels.

Other restaurants are going further in their attempts to catch ‘em all: Maxwell ’s is hosting a Pokémon party, and has begun selling Pokémon-themed freakshakes; a Pokémon pub crawl will be trawling the streets of Glasgow at the end of the month.

These events underline the aspects of the game that are making it such a hit. Pokémon Go isn’t successful because people want to catch every Pokémon – the previous video games have allowed players to do that from the comfort of their own homes for years. What makes Pokémon Go enjoyable is the social, exploratory aspect of the game, encouraging players to travel around their neighbourhoods, visit new locations, and connect with others over a shared interest.

It’s this characteristic of Pokémon that hospitality operators should be seeking to maximise in their businesses. Keeping on top of your guest experience management and creating a dynamic, friendly, and sociable environment for your guests will inspire them to keep returning, even after the craze has died down and the lure of a Pokéstop is a little less shiny.

For example, it’s very easy to use your existing social media to connect with your guests, and share in their #PokémonGo discussions. Encourage them to tweet or comment on their in-store Pokémon adventures on your business’s social pages, or post to their own social media pages while tagging your brand. TGI Fridays is developing a user-generated gallery of monsters found in their restaurants with the chance to win prizes if you upload an image. Make sure your Wi-Fi information is posted clearly for guests to see, enticing those who don’t want to use all their data chasing Pokémon, and encouraging guests to linger longer. After all, the appeal of Pokémon Go is that it’s not just a game, it’s an experience – one that your business could become a part of.

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