Pokemon Go meets Airbnb

What happens when the worlds biggest rental platform meets the worlds hottest app?

PokéBnb? AirbnPokémon? Lets be honest, they both sound ridiculous. But the concept? Not so much. Following the release of Pokémon Go, worldwide downloads have been phenomenal, far more so than anyone predicted. The game has been downloaded by more than 130 million people, with daily usage on Android devices in the US on track to overtake Twitter! When combined with Airbnb’s 60 million user base, this makes for a potent mix.

pokemon GO usage set to overtake twitter

Pokemon Go has ushered in a new era of augmented reality (AR) gaming for the masses, and this is only the beginning. App developers everywhere are now examining ways in which this highly successful business model can be tweaked and evolved (pun intended). So we can expect way more mass marketed AR games in the future.

Business owners have been hot on the heels of the hype, taking advantage of this new marketing opportunity by advertising their nearest Pokéstops, gyms and more. Don’t get left in the dust, learn how to Pokémarket your Airbnb listing today, so you can be prepared for the AR games of tomorrow!

But Pokémon Go players are too young to use Airbnb? Think again!

Nintendo analytics found that 25-34 year olds are the predominant player age group, dangerously close to the Airbnb average age of 35! Obviously Pokémarketing will not be an effective method for attracting bookings from some guests, so make sure you identify your target market first. If the main age group renting your place is 50+, you will probably not be able to increase your bookings with this method. However, if its families or younger travellers that make up your bookings, it will likely be beneficial!

What is Pokémon Go?

Chances are you’ve seen it in the news and on social media, but you may not know what it’s all about. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where you use Poké balls to capture virtual creatures, called Pokémon, on your smart phone. The app makes use of the phones GPS, with Pokémon appearing on the map as if they were in the same real world location.

Pokemon go augmented reality and Airbnb

Although Pokémon spawn randomly, they are more likely to appear at fixed locations called Pokéstops. The blue markers on the map below highlight their location. You can also use Pokéstops to stock up on essential items used in the game, as well as to gain experience points. As a result, Pokéstops tend to become hot spots that players gather at.

How to use a Pokestop in AirbnbHow to use a Pokestop in Airbnb

How can you use Pokéstops to benefit your Airbnb listing?

Right now you may be asking yourself, how is any of this is relevant to Airbnb? Well, by using an item called a ‘lure module’ you can encourage higher amounts of Pokémon to appear at a Pokéstop. Lures last for 30 minutes and you can buy them as an in app purchase for $0.99/£0.79. All players in the vicinity have access to the loot, and the appearance also changes as a signal.

Use lure modules to promote AirbnbLure Module Pokemon Go

Businesses are already taking advantage of this by using lures to attract customers to their cafes, bars and restaurants. This is because they draw in foot traffic and stimulate real world purchases. You are essentially paying Niantic for a business promotion! For example, a Chinese restaurant in Sydney, Australia announced over social media that it would be activating a lure every lunch and dinner time. Airbnb hosts on Reddit have also claimed that advertising their nearest Pokéstops has led to increased bookings. Others have even gone as far as to include free lures with every reservation!

Pokemon go advertised on Airbnb

What if you don’t have any Pokéstops near your property?

Some of you will be lucky enough to have several Pokéstops right on your doorstep. If you do not, all is not lost! Niantic have begun taking requests for Pokéstops or Gyms to be placed in specific locations. Unfortunately, the first batch of applications has already expired, but keep checking back for updates!

Our top 3 tips for Pokémarketing your Airbnb listing

So now you know all about Pokémon Go, but what are the best ways to use it with your Airbnb listing?

1) Use your location – Login to the game and take screen shots of the local Pokéstops for your listing photos. If you’re lucky enough to catch a rare Pokémon in your local area you should enter augmented reality mode and get a screen shot! You could even offer tours to guests and show them all the best local spots. Consider including a free incense for the tour.

You can use incense to attract Pokemon whilst on the move.

You can use incense to attract Pokemon whilst on the move.

2) Instead of offering discounts, offer in game coupons! You can buy Google Play Gift cards from the Google Play store and gift them to your guests so they can make in app purchases. This will offer something a bit different and set you aside from the competition.

3) Sponsored Locations. Niantic’s CEO John Hanke recently confirmed that in the near future they will be partnering up with businesses for sponsored locations. This could involve bulk lure packages or free lures to partnered businesses. Keep an eye out for this one in the future!

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