Club and resort properties are encouraged to educate staff about the wildly popular smartphone game, and implement consistent policies for on-site game play. Properties located within 40 meters of an in-game landmark are likely to see the most foot traffic, and those interested in permitting play can encourage use by creating a map of nearby Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms, and offering a contest or perk to members and guests.
In light of the tremendous popularity of Pokémon Go, a smartphone game in which players traverse the real world to hunt and capture Pokémon, 4Hoteliers published a guide for hospitality properties looking to reap the benefits of the game.
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, 4Hoteliers reported.
Pokémon Go landmarks are based in part on user-submitted locations that the game’s publisher used in a previous location-based game. Because of this, in addition to monuments or landmarks, Pokémon Go locations near your property include seemingly random locations such as lampposts or flights of stairs. Before any other steps, a staff member should join Pokémon Go to determine whether your property is—or is near—an in-game landmark. If your property is within 40 meters of a landmark, this dramatically increases the chances of Pokémon Go players coming through your space, 4Hoteliers reported.
Currently, there is no easy way to become a landmark, but Niantic, the game’s publisher, 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, 4Hoteliers reported.
Regardless of your landmark status:
- Educate your staff about Pokémon Go and have a consistent stance about the game. We recommend that you encourage play, but have consistent policies on reasonable playtimes for various public areas and require parental supervision; after all you don’t want young children sneaking into the pool area alone after midnight in hopes of capturing a nocturnal water Pokémon.
- Create a map and/or educate your concierge on the locations of Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms in nearby areas, and advertise this information to members guests. Concurrently, make sure guests know of areas to avoid; thieves are already targeting Pokémon Go users because they are wandering off the beaten path while focused on their phones.
- If you are near a landmark, consider setting up a Pokémon “lure,” an in-game object that costs a little over a dollar per hour, to attract extra Pokémon to a particular location. Many businesses—particularly restaurants—have reported significant upticks in sales by using Pokémon lures to attract real world customers who are chasing Pokémon.
- Offer a contest or small perk to guests who use your hashtag when sharing out pictures of Pokémon caught at your hotel—and keep an eye on social media so you can re-share great pictures, particularly of rare Pokémon. A rare Pokémon sighting at your hotel will likely bring a flood of people.
Of course, not all properties are interested in opening up for Pokemon Go traffic. Last week, Apopka (Fla.) Golf & Tennis at Errol Estate reported damage to its fairways after Pokemon seekers drove on the golf course. Establishing rules and boundaries with clear signage can help prevent unwanted trespassing.