Could Foursquare be the next local travel guide?

Aug 13, 2014


With the relaunch of its renewed mobile app, Foursquare intends to make use of the vast quantities of data it has compiled during the 5 first years of its existence. It seeks to make the company’s business model profitable focusing on becoming a recommendation service and go head-to-head with Yelp or Google Places by helping users discover new places.

While Foursquare has eliminated the “check-in” from the application, it has developed Swarm, which has been touted as the app for keeping up and meeting up with friends. Unlike with the original Foursquare, gamification-type uses (mayorships, leader boards, badges) have been stripped away in favor of driving people to share their geolocation.
We view this recent update as a forthcoming digital travel guide.  Users are prompted to explore their surroundings using the app as a guide. It is based on Foursquare’s database of 10,000 “tastes”, essentially a taxonomy of foods, characteristics and things to do that have been extrapolated from user comments and restaurant reviews.

The application now offers tailor-made recommendations based on the places one visit (the app passively tracks this information), the people and brands users follows, as well as their “tastes”, a first-of-its-kind functionality that allows a user to manually enter their preferences by adding tags like excellent atmosphere, spicy or chocolate.

According to Noah Weiss, VP of Product Management at Foursquare, the company has historically had a friendship model. Nevertheless, the new Foursquare places emphasis on recommendations, acknowledging its users attribute greater relevance to those people with tastes they can trust. The service now characterizes itself for it “followers” model, positioning itself to simplify the process of following experts and brands in the not-so-distant future.
Because it’s all based on followers and it’s really based on “do you have tips that other people trust” it’s actually perfectly built for brands, and a lot of local publishers, and even celebrities that have tastes you might trust.

Whatever your tastes are, wherever you live, or wherever you’re travelling to, Foursquare has got you covered with the best tips for the occasion. Follow Chefs Feed,Daniel Boulud, or City Grit to see what dishes your favorite chefs eat when they’re not running their own kitchens. Visiting a new city? Feel like an insider by checking out all of the amazing recommendations that Afar, the Food NetworkTravel and Leisure, the Wall Street JournalGoopRefinery 29W Magazine,  or CNN have left around the world. Always looking for a great meal or a place to grab a drink? Check out what EpicuriousSerious EatsFirst We FeastEater, and Tasting Table.

With its novel design and focus, Foursquare is looking for the way of monetizing its business model to become a personalized city guide based upon a user’s tastes and preferences.
It is entirely feasible that in the coming months we could be seeing new changes in the form of new Foursquare advertising formats, widgets or plug-ins that would allow the integration of content found within the app with websites or social media channels.

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