Precious parking spaces are promised to those who follow @MallofAmerica.
The Mall of America is offering a special perk to Twitter followers this holiday shopping season: reserved parking on the busiest shopping day of the year in its Big Secret Parking Party, or #bspp.
In addition, the Mall of America is conducting promotions on Foursquare and Facebook Places for the 37 million people who have not yet started their holiday shopping, according to the National Retail Federation, and who intend to do so at the famous shopping center outside Minnesota's Twin Cities.
On December 18, tomorrow, the Mall of America will close its north surface parking lot, just steps away from the north entrance to the mall, reserving 96 spaces for its Twitter followers. To snag one of the coveted spots, Twitter followers needed to register on Eventbrite.
Registrants can arrive between 8:00 and 11:00 am on Saturday morning for a spot in the lot. In addition to following @MallofAmerica, they must present an Eventbrite registration ticket to park.
The first batch of tickets was released December 15 and was followed by two batches on December 16. As of Friday, all tickets were sold out.
There are a total of 12,550 parking spaces at the Mall of America. Its busiest shopping day to date was Black Friday, when 195,000 shoppers descended on the mall. Representative Lisa Grimm said the mall sees an average of 100,000 to 140,000 shoppers on any given day and that she expected December 18 – the busiest shopping day of the year – to possibly break the mall’s visitor record, making parking spaces all the more precious.
“We want to reward loyal Twitter followers with something extremely coveted during the holiday shopping season – a close parking spot without the hassle of a time-consuming search,” said Dave Haselman, EVP of operations at the Mall of America, in a prepared statement. “We hope this service will be an added value as well as increase our follower base.”
And it seems the initiative has thus far met Haselman’s goal. According to Grimm, @MallofAmerica had 4900 followers prior to the campaign’s launch. As of Friday, the handle had just over 5300.
In addition to its Big Secret Parking Party, the Mall of America will offer a $25 gift card to the first five people who check in on Foursquare each day from December 20 through December 23. And on Facebook Places, the Mall of America Youth Foundation will donate $1 for each check-in through December 24, up to $500 each to VEAP, or Volunteers Enlisted to Assist People, and One Heartland, which operates camps for children impacted by HIV/AIDS.
What’s more, the Mall of America uses the hashtag #moaparking to provide updates specific to parking, like the best options for finding a space or any weather or road conditions that might be of interest to shoppers en route. Grimm says the Mall of America first started using this hashtag last year for the busy holiday season and it is used every weekend now.
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Lisa Lacy is senior staff writer at ClickZ. In addition to ClickZ, her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Luxury Spot, LearnVest, MarthaStewart.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, amNewYork, and The Wall Street Journal. She's a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism.
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