Theme Parks: Alton Towers harnesses the Wisdom of Friends – Facebook Places Deals launch in UK

Facebook has launched Places Deals in the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Canada.

Related:   Alton Towers Resort to participate in Facebook® Deals   /   Theme Parks – From E commerce to M commerce  / All the Disneyland Paris magic at your fingertips on your iPhone / Interview with Mark Fisher, MD Theme Parks, Merlin Entertainments

 While Facebook say they won’t share user details, if user settings allow then Deals the user has facebook logo on windowclaimed will be included on a newsfeed that their friends follow. 

Emily White, Facebook’s director of local is reported to have said,

"The wisdom of friends has taken over from the wisdom of crowds, through a highly personal experience in the real world, and Facebook local enables users to take that Facebook identity out and about with them as they experience the real world – likewise using that to inform that Facebook identity.  Places is the ‘where’ to ‘what am I doing’ and ‘who am I with’. And it allows businesses to start joining the conversation."

Of the 500 million Facebook users, around half use Facebook everyday and of this more than one third of those access the site through mobile.  Brand pages on Facebook attract far higher traffic than official brand websites.  Coca-Cola saw around 270, 000 monthly unique users on its own sites but 22.5 alton towers logomillion on Facebook.com.   The Places app is already the most popular app at the Apple iTunes Store. 

Facebook is keen to differentiate it’s offering from that of daily deals site Groupon,   which rejected a $5.3bn acquisition offer from Google in December, however, Deals is set to challenge not just local advertising but potentially Yahoo and Google which get the majority of their revenue from web advertising. 

In the UK, Alton Towers has already marked the launch of Deals with an exclusive offer for visitors who check in on their mobile phone.  With the trend towards organising leisure time at the last minute and on the move, the ability to reach potential customers via their phones has obvious benefits for theme parks and visitor attractions.  In addition, being able to channel marketing through existing customers’ social networks, and provide location based advertising direct to mobile phones will allow attractions to engage with individuals and their “friends”.  This increasing sophistication is set to transform communication with customers, generating opportunities to enhance the visitor experience and brand loyalty.