I must admit I was a little surprised when Facebook canned Facebook Places the other week (obituary here). Sure it seemed like a feature that was a little undernourished, but with a little TLC, and a side of discounts,vouchers etc, it could have been much more compelling and indeed a real Foursquare killer.
And it was rather popular too according to a survey from Visit Britain. The tourist organisation reported that while nearly 1 million (955,437) check-ins originated from Facebook Places just 176,724 came from Foursquare.
The study also shows that Facebook is more popular in larger attractions (eg the UK’s top attraction is The O2 stadium with 72,817 Facebook check-ins and 7,764 check-ins on Foursquare) while Foursquare is leading the way in smaller places like coffee shops and restaurants.
So did Facebook kill Places too early? It looks like it might have done. Powered by quality discounts and vouchers Foursquare seems to be doing brisk business in US cities like New York and San Francisco, but seems to be less visible and popular here in the UK. With a little tweaking I am sure FP could have made a lot of money this side of the pond at least.
The VisitBritain research co-incides with the launch of its new smartphone application.
The UK Top50 app to allow visitors to ‘check in’ to their locations through Facebook to find out what they can see and do nearby and get details of any available deals or promotions.Users can also see a list of the 50 most popular places in the UK, access an up-to-date ‘what’s hot’ guide and browse through an A to Z listing of more than 500 locations to visit.
Justin Reid, head of online at VisitBritain, said: ‘It is clear with the advances in technology and the ever increasing demand for mobile phone usage abroad that there is a demand to get tourists to top attractions across Britain in a creative and fun way – our UK Top50 app does exactly that.