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Rob Palmer

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It’s been everywhere in the recent news, articles and memes across the internet but what is PokemonGo and what do you as DMOs need to know about it?

PokemonGo is a GPS based exploration game where players are invited to “Catch em All’ by exploring the world for Pokémon. These brightly coloured critters can pop up anywhere and with 150 different variants all with differing levels of rarity, it’s going to keep players busy for some time. The game itself has been a runaway success since it’s globally staggered launch with reports that the game has had more downloads in a week than the entire lifetime of Tinder and more daily users than twitterSo how can destinations cash in on this amazingly popular trend? Well, there are a number of in-game features both DMOs and businesses can take advantage of to get people to see a different side of your destination.

  • Popular walking routes:

PokémonGo players love to get outside and explore new and exciting routes not only for the potential to catch different types but to hatch their Pokémon eggs too. PokémonGo has a feature where players can find eggs that will hatch after the player has walked either 2km, 5km or 10km. Highlighting great walking routes around your destination along with the distance of that walk will encourage players to take these paths. Also, it’s worth noting that only certain types of Pokémon can be found in certain areas E.G if players are looking for aquatic Pokémon they’ll need to go to large bodies of water such as rivers, lakes or seas.

Pokemon-go

  • Pokéstops:

These are common points of interest for players where they can stock up on the necessary items they need to capture their desired Pokémon. These locations are often based on real world points of interest such as Monuments, Civic Building, Museums, and Bars or Restaurants. Players have the option to place “lures” at Pokéstops to attract Pokémon to these locations. Some businesses such as the Australian chain of hotels Mantra have already been capitalising on this feature by setting up their own lures and over in the states it's been claimed that almost 1 in 10 hotels have been involved in Pokémon related activities.

Screenshot_2016-07-18-09-06-28

  • Charging/Battery Points:

Spending all day tracking down elusive Pokémon is not only tiresome on the feet but also takes a large toll on players phone's battery. Some savvy businesses are already attracting people with the offers of chargers. The image below was spotted outside a Tesco store in the UK, taking advantage to upsell their portable chargers to those keen on the game.

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These are a few ideas to help get your Pokémon community activated but there are many ways player's are already organising themselves. They've already started mapping destinations for the best places to find and catch certain types and as the game continues to grow you can be sure that there will be plenty of new opportunities to come in the future.

Destinations & Pokémon Go

Many destinations have been fast to respond to the Pokémon Go craze featuring guides, helpful information and even organising dedicated events and meetups in the destination. For destinations, this is a great opportunity to engage existing and new audiences, providing relevant information and added value content for Pokémon Go players. Many of the US destinations such as Anaheim, Chicago and Portland were the first DMOs to quickly react to the Pokémon Go buzz, providing guides on the best spots in the destination to play Pokémon Go.

In Europe, many destinations are now thinking about innovative ways of reaching the Pokémon Go audience. In Bristol (UK), the local zoo opened its doors after hours for a special event and invited Pokémon Go players to hunt Pokémon in the zoo. Visit Benidorm is actively promoting Poketourism in the city, providing a wealth of content through their social media channels, targeting Millennial travellers.

The latest destination to jump onto the Pokémon trend is Basel, having taken an innovative and creative step to raise awareness about the city's Pokémon potential. Their Pokémon Go Revenge video went viral with over 4.5 million views within only 12 days of the video originally being shared. For Basel, their Pokémon go content is stimulating conversations about the city and is raising overall awareness of the city as a fun destination.

Although it is difficult to say whether destination's efforts in reaching the Pokémon Go community will result in an increase in visitors, it does help to inspire and engage audiences in a different way, tapping into a shared interest in exploring places in view of hunting Pokémon. There is certainly a lot of potential to reach new audiences if it is done in a creative way and enables the destination to stand out from other businesses and destinations. DMOs need to approach their Pokémon Go activities creatively and think outside the box to be successful.

Here at the #DTTT, we are dedicating a section in our new trends dashboard to demystify Pokémon Go and how destinations are engaging with Pokémon communities. The updated trends dashboard will be launched soon, so stay tuned.

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