Using Gowalla check in service to Market Accommodation in Australia

Well, the market for Check in Apps is still open with Gowalla and Foursquare leading the charge. Certainly, Google and FaceBook have eyes on this genre of social media and one of them may well become the dominant player. For the moment, it makes sense to use them all. If nothing else, you may get inbound links and validation of your business that improves your ranking in Google Places.

Briefly, a Check in App is a way for people with smart phones, or iPhones, to register their physical presence at a business or point of interest. The reasoning behind doing it varies from just being silly to getting ideas about where to go and what to do when in strange locations. By looking to see where your friends check in, or seeing a general trend of check ins – you may be able to see that some businesses are more popular than others. You may also see reviews that would help you pick a business. And, some proactive businesses may have incentives that would encourage you to cross the street and try their business.

Getting Started with Gowalla

Gowalla.comFoursquare allows you to set up a business listing, but Gowalla requires the initial listing be created by ‘someone’ visiting the business and establishing a first check-in. I know because I asked and got the following reply.

Hi Mark,
All spots are created by users out and about on their favorite smartphone. While standing at the location that you would like to add, open Gowalla on your phone and go to the Spots tab. Click the “+” sign to add the Spot. Fill out the name of the location, a description, and choose from the category list to help people know what kind of spot it is. After finishing that, click “create spot.” Then, make sure that you check-in and go online and claim your Spot.

To claim your spot, make sure you are logged in on Find your Spot by clicking on the Spots tab at the top and searching for it. On the right hand side of the screen underneath the map, there will be a “claim my Spot” button. Follow the instructions there and you should be good to go. After you have claimed your spot, make sure you let others know about it, and add a custom welcome message or tell people about a discount they get for checking in. And, if you’re feeling especially fun, have our creative team design your Spot its own custom Gowalla Passport Stamp.


Andrew Waldrup
Gowalla – Culture Evangelist
Austin, Texas

Based on that, it makes sense for all business owners to get someone (perhaps themselves) with a smart phone to check in to Gowalla at their business.  That initiates the listing, from which point the business owner can take ownership and start optimizing their listing.

About Mark

Founder of Web Reservation Systems, focused on helping businesses in the Australian Accommodation travel sector get more value from Internet Marketing. Originally, we opened up in 2001 as a supplier of Front Office Software linked to Online Booking facilities. That allowed motels and hotels to add booking buttons to their websites as well as sell through Global Distribution Systems. You could say this was an early 'Channel Manager' because it allowed the property manager to simply control price and availability for a diverse array of wholesale and retails websites. Next, we started building websites to profile our customers (Australian Holiday Guide). That lead to building websites for customers as a favour. Now do about 80 websites a year using BurgundySky and Joomla. For small businesses I recommend using BurgundySky as it is very easy to start and manage. Joomla is also great, but harder to install and maintain for a small business. Our web design business is based in Byron Bay, NSW. Byron Bay is a great place to live and work. I have 2 kids (15 and 17) who are both born here and my wife, Shobhan Oliver) is a successful artist.
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