What goes online in Vegas…

If ever there’s a travel destination that was going to embrace social media in a unique way it’s Las Vegas. Last year it did just that with a social media scavenger hunt. Run by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority during US National Travel and Tourism Week, the Las Vegas Social Media Scavenger Hunt involved 30 venues including stores, hotels and casinos that provided special deals to participants such as accommodation offers, two-for-one specials, merchandise and discounted show tickets.

Each venue had three-hour window to communicate a clue to participants via Visit Vegas’ Facebook and Twitter accounts. Participants had to be friends or followers of at least one of the accounts. Once they received a clue they had to show up at the venue and become a Facebook/Twitter friend/follower of that business in order to receive their reward – some of the venues offered bigger prizes to the first few people so show up.

This is an excellent way for businesses to use social media to not only build brand awareness, but to get people in store and build a customer database. While it proved successful for a mega tourist destination like Las Vegas (with tourists and residents taking part), I can imagine it working a treat for smaller destinations in Australia such as food and wine precincts. It could also be an effective tool for business associations or councils to attract residents to local shopping strips.

The key for such a scheme to be replicated is planning and promotion well before the event. All the businesses involved would have to be keen partakers and be aware of their obligations.

And it should be tailored to suit the kind of businesses involved. Large hotels have the staff to deal with a couple of hundred people coming through their doors in a three-hour period. If the hunt involves small businesses perhaps provide a longer window of opportunity or choose prizes that require little effort or paperwork to arrange, like show bags.

Finally, be sure the terms and conditions are straight forward so all participants know what is required in order to claim a prize.

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