Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Badge of honor. A popular smart phone app has placed Baltimore on a short list of cities with the best destinations.
As Gigi Barnett explains, it all started with a friendly competition.
Foursquare is a popular smart phone app that tracks its users in a unique way.
“When you’re at a restaurant or an apartment building or something, you can check in and your friends see it and you become, like, the mayor if you check in a bunch of times,” said Scott Heyman, Foursquare user.
And if the user checks in often, they rack up points, also called badges, which come with discounts at their favorite spots.
Back in January, the app’s creators launched a contest to boost tourism worldwide. They wanted to know which cities could create the best list of “hot spots” to attract the most Foursquare users. The top four cities would win a badge. Baltimore pulled out all the stops to earn this new badge.
“There’s only four cities right now in the U.S. that have these badges and only 16 in the whole world,” said Tom Rowe.
Rowe is the director of web marketing for Visit Baltimore, the city’s tourist arm. He says social media is so widely used that new visitors who use Foursquare will see a wide range of all Baltimore has to offer.
“I think this is now going to be an even more important tool in telling our story about Baltimore,” Rowe said.
In addition to Baltimore, Richmond, Oklahoma City, Des Moines and Stamford also received city badges.