Ever since its release date on July 6th, Pokémon Go has not only taken over the world, it is now starting to creep into real estate. Stories of real estate agents including Pokémon Go in their listing descriptions by advertising the location of nearby Pokémon gyms and PokéStops abound. So what’s the big deal?
If you haven’t heard of Pokémon Go by now, Pokémon Go is a game where trainers find and catch Pokémon (imaginary little animals with specific character traits), and can also battle them. Pokemon Go takes advantage of a mobile device’s location tracking to provide an augmented reality (AR). In order to find Pokémon, people actually have to go outside and look for them. Churches and other buildings are designated as gyms, where people can battle and train their Pokémon. Pokémon is by no means a new phenomenon – it first started out as an anime TV show in the late 90’s and quickly expanded into card and video games, books, and apparel. Because of its longevity, Pokémon has quite a large fan base that spans across generations. Pokémon Go is played by young kids for the novelty, and by teens and millennials for the nostalgia.
Pokémon Go is connecting people like never before. Not only does it span generations, it also provides an increasingly common bottom line for people. The question now is how to use it to your advantage.
We see two ways that Pokémon Go is being used in conjunction with real estate. The first is to connect to that bottom line by including Pokémon Go references in your listings. Is every Pokémon Go player looking for a house? Probably not. Is it a tongue in cheek reference to pop culture that everyone can relate to and will help them remember you? Absolutely.
Another way Pokémon Go can be helpful is by generating traffic; both in lead generation and at Open Houses. Lure Modules are features in the game that trainers can place at PokéStops and will “lure” Pokémon to the area for 30 minutes. Not only will that bring the Pokémon, it will bring the people too. By placing a Lure Module at a nearby PokéStop, you are guaranteed some amount of foot traffic in the area. Numerous listings have been popping up across North America on everything from Craigslist posts seeking roommates, to house listings by owners and real estate agents looking for a competitive edge. The listings prominently feature the property’s proximity to Pokémon Gyms and Pokéstops, two critical elements for successfully playing the game.
Inman Ambassador Stacie Staub thinks that Pokémon Go has the potential to spark innovation along the same framework as the game, by targeting real estate consumers as a way to spur interaction, facilitate live real estate events like open houses and neighborhood tours.
How long will the crazed obsession with Pokémon Go last, and what kind of impact will it have? Only time will tell. In the meantime, as the Pokémon trainers would say, gotta catch ‘em all!
Gamers wander on the Peoria Riverfront playing Pokemon Go during a meet up hosted by Team Valor last July 17th
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