Eee by gum. Yorkshire's tourist board is the first in Europe to set up a branded Foursquare page, falling right in line with what Foursquare founder, Dennis Crowley, said recently about the future of location-based services lying in tourism.
It is one of only eight tourist authorities in the world to get a branded presence on Foursquare, allowing it to have a full banner, logo, welcome text, etc. Welcome to Yorkshire is doing rather well for itself, inviting people to visit “the United Kingdom’s largest county.” Now you can let all your Twitter buddies know which ginnel you're in.
Getting a branded presence on Foursquare requires jumping through a lot of hoops, unlike a normal Foursquare page, since they are approved on an individual basis by Foursquare staff. But the potential for the tourism industry there makes the effort well worthwhile.
Landmarks can be tagged, allowing users to find their exact location via Google Maps and read comments by other people on how good the attraction is. We counted at least 58 locations of interest posted on the Welcome to Yorkshire Foursquare page, ranging from wildlife centres and museums to cafes and music venues.
In August one of Foursquare's founders, Dennis Crowley, revealed that the future of Foursquare, and location-based services in general, was in tourism by offering a “location-based recommendation engine”, which would allow people to recommend local landmarks and places of interest.
Focusing in this area might be a wise move, as Facebook is still the giant in terms of general social networking, with relatively few people opting for a location-based alternative. Some official bodies may be reluctant to embrace Foursquare because of the limited audience compared to Facebook or Twitter, but the potential for the future might make it worth the investment, particularly if Foursquare aims for a more niche market.
“A number of our team have been using Foursquare for a while and we felt now was the right time to embrace Foursquare and help users find out more about our great county in a fun, interactive way,” said Kristal Ireland, digital media manager for Welcome to Yorkshire.
We wonder if Lancashire's next. As goes the old Lancashire adage: "Yorkshire born, Yorkshire bred, thick in the arm, thick in the head."