Gotta Catch All the Customers: Pokémon Go Promotions

Pokémon

Pokémon Go has inspired absolute lunacy across the country, not to mention what it’s doing across the globe. While we aren’t shy about warning operators to not jump on every fad that pops up, this location-based augmented reality game has proven that it’s worth your time, energy and money, so hop on and enjoy the ride. Breweries and bars are already starting to get the picture: embracing Pokémon Go can pull droves of customers through the doors.

In Chapel Hill, NC, The Baxter Bar & Arcade realized quickly that their barcade concept is perfect for attracting Pokémon-loving gamers. The Baxter has taken part in pub crawls and hosted Pokémon Go events. These promotions have proven so successful that they’ve listened to their guests and now host a Pokémon Go Party every Thursday, complete with drink specials and lures dropped all night. More on the lures later…

Several bars in Minneapolis have also embraced Pokémon Go. So far, seven bars are participating in a pub crawl called the Gotta Catch ‘Em All Pub Crawl. Not only is the crawl Pokémon Go themed, the organizers are selling special T-shirts that will generate proceeds for charity. An increase in traffic and loyalty, boosted bar sales, happy guests, and giving back to the community? What more could operators want?

Multiple breweries have gotten in on this game’s incredible explosion in popularity. Mad Fox Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, Anchor Brewing, Real Ale Brewing Co., and Carton Brewing have been designated a Pokémon Go gym or Pokéstop, which is basically like winning the lottery. Another brewery, Actual Brewing in Ohio, is hosting a three-hour bus tour called the Pokémon Safari Beer Bus Tour. For less than two Jacksons people will be able to visit Pokéstops, hunt for Pokémon, and drink Actual Brewing beers on the bus.

But what can you as a bar, nightclub, lounge or restaurant operator do if you haven’t lucked out and been designated a gym or Pokéstop? You can sign up for the game and purchase lures, as mentioned above. Lures allow a user to designate an area of their choosing a Pokéstop for a short period of time, attracting Pokémon (and therefore players) to that location. So, invest in lures, let all of your social media followers know when you plan on dropping one, and come up with some Pokémon-inspired drink specials. To borrow a famous bit of movie dialogue, if you drop it, they will come.

You’re probably wondering what it will cost you to buy lures in Pokémon Go. It just so happens that Inc Magazine recently came up with the answer to that question:

  • $100 nets 14,500 Pokecoins and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokecoins:
  • 14,500 Pokécoins / 680 = 21 eight-packs of lures
  • (21 * 8)/2 = 84 hours
  • $100/84 hours = $1.19 per hour

It may just be a fad at the moment but not many investments of just over $1 per hour can fatten your wallet quite like Pokémon Go. So, once you’ve downloaded the game, here’s how you purchase and then use lures:

  • Tap red Pokéball at the bottom of HUD.
  • Tap "Shop."
  • Scroll down. Tap Lures (purple) to purchase.
  • Tap the red Pokéball after purchase is completed.
  • Tap "Items" and then tap the purple Lure to activate.

That’s it! You’re all set to lure more than just Pokémon to your bar. If you like, designate a specific device as your venue’s Pokémon Go device and authorize a manager or other trustworthy employee to use it with your rules and expectations communicated clearly. Encourage your staff to play the game a well in order to build instant rapport with Pokémon Go-playing guests. Just be sure to make it clear the game is not to disrupt customer service or otherwise interfere with their responsibilities. Also, realize that Pokémon Go is not a full-blown multiplayer game as of yet, so many players will have their faces buried in their phones at your bar. That doesn’t exactly encourage socializing, so you’ll that will be one downside with which you may have to contend.

To help you get started, here is some Pokémon Go terminology you need to know:

  • Pokéstop: Physical location in the real world where players in the augmented reality world can stock up on Pokémon Go game supplies
  • Gym: Real world location where players can battle or train and defend the gym. Claimed by one team at a time. Gyms have one leader and multiple trainers, depending on the Prestige level.
  • Pokémon Teams: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (red). A trainer (player) can join a team and visit gyms when they’ve reached level 5 in the game.
  • Lure: Attracts a greater number and variety of Pokémon to the attached Pokéstop, which is a location of your choosing. According to Inc, it costs just $1.19 to drop lures all day to attract customers.

Click here to learn more about Pokémon Go gameplay.