Gowalla and The Mckinney Holiday Inn & Suites

My Mother and Father-in-law (MIL and FIL) were in town this past weekend.  My FIL is a pastor and officiated a wedding in Mckinney.  We visited them in their hotel, The Holiday Inn & Suites, so they could see the grandkids and so the grandkids could enjoy the indoor pool. I've been messing around with Gowalla for a couple of weeks now.  Naturally, I used my iPhone to check-in when we pulled into the parking lot.  No big deal, really.

Later that day, I got a Facebook friend request from a Helm Hospitality.  I was like, "Oh great, Facebook spam!"  But I went to look.  It turns out that Helm Hotels Group owns the Holiday Inn & Suites in Mckinney, TX, the one I marked in my Gowalla passport earlier that day.

A few minutes later, I got a LinkedIn request from Zach Glenn.  I don't know a Zach Glenn, but here is what his LinkedIn request said,

Zach Glenn has indicated you are a person they've done business with at Helm Hotels Group:

Hi Paul,

My name is Zach Glenn and I'm the E-Commerce Manager for the Holiday Inn & Suites in McKinney, TX. We would like to thank you for "checking in" to our hotel on Gowalla as well as for staying with us! I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

- Zach Glenn

I was blown away!  Someone at Holiday Inn knew about Gowalla!  They cared about who used Gowalla to check into their hotel!  I immediately friended them on Facebook and LinkedIn.

So this morning I did a quick Google of Helm Hotels Group and found their YouTube Channel!

That, my friends, is how social media relationships should begin.  Obviously they need to develop into relationships over time, but this is a great start.  I never thought a Holiday Inn in Mckinney, TX, would even know about social media or understand how to begin an online relationship with social media.  I am very pleasantly surprised.

So, Zach, I'm impressed.  My MIL and FIL liked their rooms.  The location was great for them.  The only complaint I had was that there was so much chlorine in the pool that it burned my eyes and my kids eyes - and I didn't even get into the pool!  Other than that, everything was great.  Thanks.

UPDATE:  I wrote about Gowalla and possible application for the church here.

JournalPaul Watson