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Is Pokemon Go a fad?

Pokemon Go is a game based on augmented reality (by Niantic) where players use their smartphone camera to walk around the street finding and catching Pokemon. Since its launch, the game already has more daily active users than Twitter.

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For the past 4 days since Pokemon Go was launched in Singapore, this has been the scene that I saw at my neighbourhood:

  • Small groups of teenagers go around catching Pokemon
  • A few couples (like me and my husband) get excited when seeing a new Pokemon appearing on the smart phone’s screen
  • 2 aunties show each other how to play Pokemon Go
  • Boys and gals, men and women, in different age range, keep looking at their screen while walking, sometimes stop to collect PokeBalls at nearby Poker Stops or throw PokeBalls to those creatures to catch them
  • Many people get around a nearby ‘gym’, not to exercise, but to get in the fight with other players to win the ‘gym owner’ spot

I saw the similar scenes on the street, on the train, on the bus, at the shopping centers, literally everywhere. This is the first time that a game has attracted so many people, at the same place and the same time. I look around and I see people focus on the same thing as I do. You can say that social media such as Facebook doesn’t interest elderly people. But I can say that Pokemon Go fascinates the old aunties and uncles near my house, who normally just sit idly at the public bench. They now walk around and try catching Pokemon, with a beam of excitement in their eyes, instead of the boredom of nothing to do. To them, Pokemon Go is a hobby, like gardening (since they have to catch worms – aka Weedle, play with plants – aka Bellsprout, Weepinbell and Oddish, catch bugs – aka Pinsir), or like bird watching (since they can watch birds – aka Pidgey, Pidgeotto, Spearow, and Dodrio), or like fishing (since they can catch or watch fish – aka Goldeen, or crabs – aka Paras and Krabby, or seahorses – aka Horsea, Seadra, or turtles – aka Squirtle).

I guess, moving forward, I could add a few other hobbies, such as gardening, bird watching, or fishing, into my resume. We all will become interesting individuals.

Since I saw this game change the life style of these aunties and uncles so much, making them more active and stay away from the sedentary lifestyle, I make a bet that Pokemon Go isn’t a fad. It will be a norm. And more of Pokemon Go-like activities will enter our life. Good or bad for us, let’s time answer. But I’m sure it’s definitely good for business owners, who know how to take advantage of this new phenomenon.

As travel industry is my passion, let’s talk about how Pokemon Go influence the way we travel and how travel industry players could take advantage of Pokemon Go.

Travel industry in a Pokemon Go world

There are 3 recent examples which showcase that the travel industry players react very fast to tap on the Pokemon Go trend, with many more to follow.

1.Hotel groups launch Pokemon Go friendly hotels to attract more guests (Australia)

Mantra Group launched the world’s first Pokemon Go-friendly hotels in Sydney and Melbourne, encouraging fans to ‘Pokestop By Our Bar’ with free Pokemon Go Lures to increase their chances of catching one of the virtual pocket monsters. The hotel rooms are also decorated with different Pokemon Go creatures.

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2.Tourism Boards launch Pokemon Go movie to boost tourism (Switzerland)

Basel is the third largest city in Switzerland. Basel Tourism teamed up with marketing agency Fadeout to present a “reverse” Pokemon Go video, which has become viral with nearly 65m views on Facebook. Now people are the ones being hunted in a twist on the global gaming craze.

Targeting young people, Basel Tourism told the BBC the video was showing off the city’s attractions, such as “the beautiful Old Town, the river Rhine and its bridges”. Watch the fun video here

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3.Shopping Malls turn on Pokemon Go Lures to lure in tourists and shoppers (Singapore)

ION Orchard, one of the most prominent shopping malls in Singapore is set to turn into a Pokemon hot spot. Lures in the game are designed to attract a large number of Pokemon to a said location. ION Orchard said it will release ‘hundreds’ of Pokemon Go Lures at the mall from Aug 6-21. Players can also participate in photo contest on social media (Facebook and Instagram) to win shopping vouchers.

The below is the hundreds of Lures appearing on my screen when I’m at Ion Orchard this morning:

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To the travel industry players, I encourage you to jump in fast and tap on this new phenomenon because it will benefit you. My suggestion to business owners: Follow your audience.

How to become a Pokemon Go master

After 4 days, here is my Pokemon Go collection so far (Caught 40 in Pokedex):

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Here is my advice to Pokemon Go players :

  • Do not play Pokemon Go during office hours, or else you might risk losing your job
  • Beware of your surroundings (cars, traffic, holes, abyss) when playing the game
  • Do not play the game when you need to take care of a small baby or toddles (all your attention need to be on the baby)
  • Go to places where there are free Pokemon Lures (such as Ion Orchard)
  • Watch Pokemon Go tips before playing the game, they will help you play your games better. Here are some tips

Now, walk around and enjoy the game. Remember to bring your power bank as this game will take a lot of your phone juice.

Last but not least, today 9 August is Singapore’s 51st birthday. Happy birthday Singapore!

Check out my LinkedIn post here.

National Day Fireworks

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