Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2023

Cover Story

Pokémon GO Shows Augmented Reality
Can Engage Consumers…But for How Long?

Call it the “Summer of Pokémon GO,” as this augmented reality (AR) mobile exploration game blew in like a seasonal hurricane. While the numbers of daily active users of the app wane, AR has proven it can capture and engage consumers — with the hospitality industry leaping on the bandwagon.

According to Ryan Solutions, a database marketing company for the resort and hotel industry, hotel references to the game first showed up on July 6, peaked a week later on July 13, were already declining by July 17, and steadily dropped since then. Yet even if the initial buzz has faded, the hotel CRM company noted, marketers still getting value are keeping the app in their branded conversations. Example: At the height of interest, Crowne Plaza Northstar in Minneapolis invited people (via Twitter) to explore its Skygarden while playing Pokémon GO. But the property also asked that players respect the space if there is a private event going on, and come back later to play.

Visit Orlando showed how to take the Pokémon craze destination-wide, when it hosted a “Poké-tacular Weekend” August 6-7. This followed a webinar that the destination marketing organization produced to educate local businesses on how they can get in on this AR game. (The game is available as a free app, but participants do pay money to buy elements within the game.)

As of July 25, Pokémon GO was available in 30 countries, according to Sarah Rossio, CAE, Visit Orlando’s director of membership. In the U.S., more than 40% of adults who had downloaded the app were 25 or older, 63% of players were female and 37% male, and those who played it on iOS were averaging 30 minutes a day, she reported. “It took three and a half years for Facebook to reach 50,000 users,” she noted. Comparatively, “Pokémon GO took 90 days” to reach that number.

Visit Orlando conceived the gameplay weekend as a “celebration” of the Pokémon GO phenomenon, with special deals for players, one winner of a $1,000 gift card, and an interactive GPS Pokémap that identified every Pokémon, PokéStop, active Lure and Gym. Lures within the destination were thrown out at specific locations every 30 minutes between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. each day. Many attractions, restaurants, hotels and resorts participated with dining or activity offers and discounts.

“It was all a very interesting learning experience in working with our members to be quick to respond to a trending phenomenon that caught everyone by surprise,” said Kristen Darby, senior vice president of membership and support services, Visit Orlando. “We anticipated it would be very hard to measure success or even track participation.”

Augmented reality is also a prime component (along with artificial intelligence) of Visit Orlando’s new destination mobile app, which is in beta launch. AR “Around Me” adds to the user’s phone camera’s view an overlay of dining and entertainment experiences within the immediate vicinity. AR “Magical Orb” game hunts and captures Orlando deals also on the phone camera; collecting all enters the user in a sweepstakes for prizes.

We’ll watch to see if AR has the legs to extend the terms of engagement. — Maxine Golding

Free Subscription to
MeetingMentor Online


About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

Design by: Loewy Design