Topguest’s perks platform for Facebook Places and Foursquare checkins is today launching version 2.0 of its service with some major partners in tow. Virgin America, for instance, is using the platform to offer application users frequent flyer points in exchange for their checkins — a first for any airline.
Topguest, if you recall, allows users to checkin to places via their favorite third-party location service, and connect their hospitality rewards accounts to then tie checkins to points and loyalty programs. With the new launch, Topguest, which was once semi-service agnostic, is now only supporting Facebook Places and Foursquare and has a new mobile application for Android and iPhone.
Virgin America guests can now earn an additional 25 Elevate points per checkin to Facebook Places or Foursquare — at the airline’s airport terminals or baggage claims — for a total potential of 50 extra points per flight.
“Our innovative in-flight amenities have attracted some very tech and social-savvy flyers, so it is only fitting that we are now the first airline to offer its guests frequent flyer points for virtual checkins. Given the rapid growth of location-based checkins, this is something our flyers have actually been asking for — and we think it will give guests a compelling way to earn real world rewards for virtual checkins,” says Brett Billick, Director of CRM for the airline.
Virgin America is just one of many partners signing on to offer rewards through Topguest. The startup, which is also announcing a $2 million Series A this morning and has Peter Thiel (of Facebook fame) as one of its backers, has formed a strategic alliance with Hospitality Marketing Concepts, which means Hilton HHonors, Doubletree Hotels, Wyndham Rewards, Choice Privileges, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Thompson Hotels and Avis Car Rental are now participating as well.
Some other top-notch rewards include 10% off rentals from Avis, 50 bonus points for checkins at Doubletree, Quality Inn, Comfort Suites and Cambria Suites hotels. Hilton HHonors members can also give a Facebook friend 25% off a Doubletree Bed & Breakfast reservation once they check in. The promotion is part of Topguest’s new social gifting program, which, by design, allows the hotel chain to measure loyalty and influence.
Today’s news is quite significant. The quality and types of brands that Topguest has signed on to offer checkin rewards may go a long way towards introducing location-sharing to audiences outside the tech sector. It may also serve as a catalyst for a surge in dummy checkins. We do find, however, that the connection between existing loyalty programs and checkins is smart and reminiscent of what Tasti D-Lite is doing.
Image courtesy of Virgin America
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