Will Pokemon Go be the answer to Singapore's tourism and retail woes?

The nation has been all about Pokemon Go in recent times. From private cars being hired out to drive to designated Pokestops to finding bodies in the heartlands of Singapore, news on the app has been churned out non stop.

Just in time for the National Day holidays, retailers who faced hardship too jumped on the bandwagon hoping to drive traffic to their stores with the launch of Pokemon Go.

ION Orchard, which invested in in-game purchases in the form of “Pokemon Lures”, to make its mall more attractive to shoppers told Marketing, the move paid off despite some complaints on its social media. ION Orchard's Chris Chong, chief executive of orchard turn development, said brisk shopper traffic was observed last weekend, with many shoppers seen catching Pokemon in different parts of the mall.

Meanwhile, CapitaLand has rolled out its #PokemonSTAR O2O campaign to cheer on Pokemon Trainers as they fan out across the island in their adventures to catch ‘em all. According to Teresa Teow, head of retail management, Singapore, CapitaLand Mall Asia, the move was warmly received.

Average daily sign-ups for Capitastar increased 43% compared to July. The Group also saw a 33% increase in followers for CapitaLand’s Instagram account, with about 2,000 posts garnered on #PokemonStar.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to keep close tabs on what matters most to our customers by tapping emerging trends to offer the most timely and relevant products and services to them,” Teow said.

Smaller businesses such as local cafes have also benefited from the Pokemon Go frenzy, one being Ollella, who launched a Pokemon Go related promotion on National Day. Marketing reached out to the café’s owner Marcella Tanuwijaya, who confirmed a marked increase in footfalls to her shop.

While she was unsure if it was because of the national holiday or the package, she noticed that more than 80% of people patronising her shop were playing Pokemon Go. When asked how she aims to capitalise on the trend, she said plans are already underway to run the promotion once more over the weekend to see if it works once more. Although she admitted the package was not a sustainable business strategy, she said the marketing exercise helped garner brand awareness and  generate some return customers.

Can it help the tourism industry?

Speaking to Marketing, Terrence Voon, director, Digital & Content, Singapore Tourism Board said the organisation was "thrilled that Pokemon Go is now available in Singapore as both Singaporeans and tourists can enjoy visiting the various landmarks and hidden gems highlighted in the game."

He added that STB has started luring user generated content on its social media channels and are working on content related to Pokestops which will be hatched on YourSingapore.com soon.

Tourist attraction Wildlife Reserves Singapore which operates the likes of Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and the Singapore Zoo also incorporated the games into its premises ahead of the National Day Holiday.

WRS’s Isabel Cheng, chief marketing officer said her team is "optimistic that footfall will be greater as guests now come with an added mission – catching Pokemon." To help guests look for the rare Pokemon critters, the attractions operator even developed a map detailing locations of the Pokemon Gyms and Pokestops in Jurong Bird Park, Night Safari, River Safari and the Singapore Zoo.

Resorts World Sentosa also decided to plant lures and rolling out admission discounts on attractions for Pokemon Go fans on national day.  For instance, fans can enjoy discounted admissions to S.E.A. Aquarium and Universal Studios Singapore with every five Pokémon found at the resort within an hour. Lures were also released outside the two attractions at popular Pokéstops such as Festive Walk, the Lake of Dreams water feature, and the Forum at Basement 1.

According to an RWS spokesperson, the Pokemon Go phenomenon has generated significant footfall and excitement at Resorts World Sentosa, with players drawn to the more than 70 Pokestops found at its premises. An RWS spokesperson said:

Pokemon Go enthusiasts also took advantage of the promotions running until this Sunday, with many prolonging their stay on the resort and patronising our retail outlets and restaurants.

A surge in data usage?

While the telcos Marketing spoke to said that it was too early in the game to have an update on the data usage and if there is infact a surge, they too joined in the fun with various promotions.

M1, Singtel and StarHub dropping “lure modules” in locations close to their retail and service outlets to draw the crowd in.

Diana Chen, vice president of Singtel’s Consumer Singapore, said many of the telco's customers have been "swept up in Pokémon Go fever". As such, the brand was sending promoters at selected locations to hand out Singtel Pokémon Go Survival Kits containing “hunting essentials”: a disposable poncho, customised Singtel water bottle and a snack.

Meanwhile a M1 spokesperson said on top of dropping lures to attract customers, the telco will also be offering discounts on power banks for customers – as the game is notorious for causing battery drain. StarHub too has also put in lure modules in its shops, a spokesperson told Marketing.


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