Discover digital monsters and hatch eggs while exploring new destinations. Sound like something out of Dungeons and Dragons?
Not quite, if you’ve seen the term Pokémon Go pop up on your Facebook feed, you’ll know all about the new augmented reality craze that has hit global cities, even here at home would you believe…?
Pokémon Go is a Smartphone game that forces you to go out into the real world and find the Pokémon. With its Google Maps integration, it’s a fantastic tool to explore a new destination seeking “real-world” checkpoints known in the game as Pokéstops where you’ll earn experience points, collect cartoon-like Pokémon characters and even some loot.
Stay with me… it gets better!
The game uses your GPS location to pin your avatar in the virtual Pokémon world. You are then able to capture Pokémons walking about. Every city has hundreds of Pokéstops and they can range from popular attractions like London’s Leicester Square, or even smaller ones like Truth Coffee Shop in Cape Town. Are you seeing the application for tourist destinations and attractions yet?
And then, of course, there are the Pokémon Go Gyms, usually high-profile venues like Big Ben, where you can train your Pokémon and do battle with others who take the game as seriously as you do (my Pokémon is incredibly peace loving). Even Hillary Clinton held a campaign event recently at a Pokémon Go Gym.
Destinations and tourist attractions will be very interested to learn that Pokémon Go will soon be adding sponsored locations, paying for their hotspot to feature as a Pokéstop or a Pokémon Go Gym.
And locals and tourists are praising the game’s role in helping them explore a destination in a completely different way. Walk past an iconic tourist attraction in Paris, Sydney and San Francisco and you’ll likely see Pokémon Go hunters glued to their smartphones and running in hordes towards an imaginary spot in search of visible treasures.
Granted, while this might be just another Internet fad that will die as quickly as it’s taken the world by storm, travel marketers would do well to note that, in the past week, Pokémon Go has already attracted more daily users than Twitter and more time spent on the app than Facebook.
Ignore those little monsters at your peril…