Frederic Gonzalo’s Blog

A travel destination that makes good use of Foursquare

In the summer of 2010, I had the great pleasure of discovering the wonderful city of Boston and I recall using social media for one of my very first times as a crowd-sourcing tool. I got  many good ideas, recommendations and suggestions on things to see and do from friends on Facebook, and was able to access a few perks through Foursquare, for example 15% off ice-cream at Quincy Market – useful stuff when traveling with 3 kids! For the summer of 2011 though, I was lucky enough to discover a beautiful area within my native province of Quebec: Saguenay Lac St-Jean. (On Twitter @TourismeSagLac)

Now, besides the breathtaking views from the lakeside roads, the numerous fun-filled activities such as a day at the Zoo of St-Felicien, a visit at the historic village of Val-Jalbert or a day at the beaches of regional parc of Pointe-Taillon, there is lots of positive that can be said about this destination. But the thing that caught my attention was how the local destination management office makes use of Foursquare as a tool to provide valuable information for travelers on the move.

Information posted on the Zoo of St-Felicien Foursquare venue, by Tourisme Saguenay Lac-St-Jean
Message from the tourism bureau at the Fromagerie Perron venue of Foursquare, in St-Prime.

Travel information through Foursquare

Upon our return from a day at the beaches of Pointe-Taillon, we were going through the city of Alma, and had some time to kill before dinner time. When we stopped by the tourism bureau in Alma, this was the message I read on my iPhone:

Not knowing what the “Parc thématique l’Odyssée des Bâtisseurs” was, we walked inside the bureau and asked, and were delighted to find out there was a path behind that lead to a (free) ferry, that then lead us to a beautiful path in a pine tree forest, nearby a water dam. Great, and unexpected!

A similar thing had happened two evenings prior, when we were sightseeing and driving in Roberval, looking for a place to eat. We had stopped by in a park with the kids so they could burn off some steam, so while checking in on Foursquare I noticed there were tips about a nearby Marina where food was being served, and apparently at decent value for money.

Customer experience through messaging

What I also found out, once we went there, was that this Marina also had an awesome playground for kids as well as a lakeside walkway with bridges that makes for a great place to run and digest after some fish & chips!

So while Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean Tourism is on Twitter and Facebook, like most travel destination brands nowadays, I found their use of Foursquare to be useful in that it provided value when needed, as a serious travel marketing plan should. It also sets them apart from many, if not most, tourism bureaus who are slow to adopt location-based applications. Kudos to them, and here’s to hoping this trend will pick-up among other DMOs!

Have you experienced a recent similar positive Foursquare travel tip? Please share and let me know, I would love to hear about it.