Businesses using Pokemon Go to get more customers

Posted at 6:39 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 20:39:11-04
Business is booming in downtown Boise and beyond, all thanks to the hit smartphone game Pokemon Go.
Stores and restaurants are using the game to lure costumers.
If you head out the Idaho Botanical Gardens on a Wednesday, you will find some visitors focused on their phones, playing Pokemon Go. 
"It's a good, safe, secure place to have kids -- especially to come and partake in Pokemon Go," said Richard Mussler-Wright of the Idaho Botanical Gardens.  
The botanical gardens are giving Pokemon trainers a $2 discount on Wednesdays. All they have to do is show them the app on their phone.
Coordinators at the gardens say marketing to players is paying off.
"We have 33 acres. There's a lot of Pokemon here," said Mussler-wright. "People are using the discount. They are doing Pokemon Go." 
But it is not just the gardens raking in new visitors. Downtown businesses are also using the game to bring players to the cash register.
"It's had a great impact on us  for the past few weeks," said Brent Jiroux, the general manager of Old Chicago in downtown Boise. "Our happy hour late night sales have been great," 
Brent uses an in-game feature called a "lure." It makes finding the elusive pixelated pocket monsters a little bit easier. While players of the game catch the digital creatures on their phones, Brent  and other businesses are catching new customers. 
"So they'll come in and kind of rest. They'll plug in their phones to kind of recharge," explained Jiroux. "They'll have a little appetizer, maybe a beer, and head on out a look for more Pokemon."
This Pokemom Go marketing is "pay-to-play." Those lures Brent sets up outside his store front cost money --close to $20 for a  set of 30, and they don't last long. But Brent says they are  worth it.
"At any given time you could have 5 groups come in and play Pokemon and sit and eat. Yeah it's priceless," said Jiroux.