• Foursquare helps families to raise tourism-related profits

    17 Jan 2014

    Aijan
    Now people can find Aijan’s guesthouse in Naryn through Foursquare, saving her money and allowing direct communication with potential tourists.

    We wrote about the idea of using Foursquare to attract tourists to Kyrgyzstan several months ago.

    Mostly, we were intrigued by the geo-location service’s potential to allow family businesses to engage directly with tourists about what they have to offer.

    It hasn’t been that long, but we already have incredible stories where Foursquare is helping lift families out of poverty by raising their tourism-related profits.

    This story is about a landlady who offers a guest apartment to tourists in Naryn province. On our first mission to the region, she provided this three-room private apartment, good for eight people.

    I learned from her that she makes her living only through renting her place via travel agencies. She had no idea of the other ways of attracting more guests, and was solely dependent on travel agencies. For this services, travel agencies charge 2.4 dollars or 20 percent from $12 per person-per night.

    I asked the landlady if she was interested in having direct contact with tourists and guests and she said: “of course, but how is that possible?” I said: “just a second” and started adding a new venue to Foursquare. Her name is Aijan, so we named the venue as ‘Guest apartment of Aijan’.

    She was using a modern Android mobile phone with an unlimited internet plan, and on the spot I also helped her to download the application onto her device and subscribed her to Foursquare. This was the first venue we added in Naryn.

    When I arrived to Naryn for the second time for another round of consultations and to launch a contest on “stories from Naryn,” I met Aijan again, and she told me the story of her first guests who came directly, she was really excited of this.

    She was so happy to be able to keep the $2.40 charge (in total saving $48) that she used to pay to the travel agencies for brokering. These tourists found her accommodation from the internet – so this is one of the advantages of promoting any business via Foursquare, because when people search on Google for places and other offers, the ones on Foursquare are on the top of search results.

    If you are doing something similar, we’d love to hear how it’s going for you. Any tips? Or just tell us what you think – feedback always welcome!

    Stay tuned!

    Kumar Kylychev (kumar.kylychev@undp.org)