Tuscany First Italian Region to Check In with Foursquare

Tuscany Tourism Checks In With FourSquare

Tuscany Tourism Checks In With FourSquare

If you follow this site or my personal website MissAdventures.com, you know that I am gaga for gadgets, social media, and the latest technology. So, I was delighted when Visit Tuscany, the tourism board of the famous Italian region, contacted me to get the word out about its partnership with FourSquare, the social media check-in application. I see this as a great opportunity for such a solid, well-known travel brand like Tuscany to embrace the future of travel marketing. (Just think – you could be the Mayor of the Uffizi Gallery!) But instead of listening to my opinion on the matter, let’s take a look at the announcement by Visit Tuscany on its new venture. Below is the press release in its entirety.

Visit Tuscany opens Foursquare branded page

Visit Tuscany is the first Italian tourism board to have a branded presence on Foursquare on which members of the region’s social media team provide tips to help travelers discover the best of Tuscany’s places, food, and art.

Foursquare is a location-based service and game that allows individual users to “check in” to places via a mobile application and receive tips – and sometimes special offers – for that location. Foursquare offers select institutions (from the History Channel to the New York Times) a customized branded page that users can “follow” to get tips and sometimes win badges.

The potential of branded pages for tourism was recognized early on by Explore Chicago, the first DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) to partner with Foursquare back in February 2010. They were followed by Visit PA in May of the same year; the first in Europe was Welcome to Yorkshire (September 1 2010).

Visit Tuscany launched its Foursquare page on October 1 2010, making it the first DMO in Italy to have one, and one of the first 10 in the world. Says Michela Simoncini, one of the channel’s administrators and a member of the social media team:

“We are constantly looking for new ways to interact with our visitors. Foursquare is pretty new in Italy but we’re all “tech geeks” here in the office and we see a lot of potential in the app. We hope that the tips we’re adding on Foursquare can help steer tourists towards the artistic and gastronomic excellencies of our region.”

Foursquare has a captive audience with the growing worldwide market of smartphone users – 29.7% in the USA and 28% in Italy according to recent Nielsen data; 4.5 million of these are already on Foursquare, and the Visit Tuscany team expects to see numbers in Italy (where it is still very much a niche market) grow quickly.

As of December 2010, Visit Tuscany has 1600 followers on its branded page and people have “done” 300 of the tips, from sampling street food in Florence to looking at Renaissance frescoes in Arezzo.

In fact, when it comes to tourism, the Region of Tuscany is full of firsts. Florence, in Tuscany, was recently voted by Tripadvisor as the number one culture and sightseeing destination in the world. Wanting to help travelers discover all that the region has to offer, in 2009 Tuscany was the first DMO in Italy to form a full-time “social media team” with official facebook fan page, vertical blogs, an iphone app and much more in its network. So being “first” also on Foursquare was a logical step within a larger digital strategy.

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Photo © FourSquare

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5 Responses to Tuscany First Italian Region to Check In with Foursquare

  1. Alexandra December 14, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    Love the idea of becoming mayor of the Uffizi. Why haven’t I thought of that?! I’m shooting for mayor of palazzo vecchio – I think Renzi is not on foursquare yet. There is not much competition yet here in Italy so it’s open territory for badge/mayorship hunters. Thanks for publishing the press release!!

    • Melanie December 14, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      Alexandra…I know that Jason (FlipFlorence) was mayor of the Ponte Vecchio a while back (if not still) and that made me extremely jealous!

  2. Alexandra December 17, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    Jason is mayor of half the city ;-)

  3. Alexandra April 28, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    Hey Melanie – Visit Tuscany is still going strong but did you know that for The Florentine I’ve started another branded page? There are only 11 branded pages in all of Italy though Foursquare is catching on a lot more now. Proof is in the numbers – our page http://foursquare.com/theflorentine has about 1800 followers despite not doing much to promote it!

    I look forward to the rebirth of this blog thanks to our secret project…
    ciao
    Alexandra

    • Melanie April 28, 2011 at 11:58 am #

      Alexandra,

      Thanks for the sweet words! It hasn’t been for lack of wanting to write about Italy, but the time and some other obligations. Now some things have cleared up and I hope to resurrect this blog, hopefully back to its most robust state in the coming months.

      Looking forward to collaborating with you!

      -M

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