What Ever Became of TopGuest: Points for Social Media Check-ins?

Three years ago a site called TopGuest started offering loyalty points for social media check-ins.

They let you earn points with Hilton, Best Western, Choice Hotels, Priority Club plus Virgin America, Wyndham, plus Kimpton, Voila Rewards, and others. Even United was added.

You would link a TopGuest account to a social media profile such as Foursquare, and then check in on Foursquare when at a qualifying venue to earn points.

The technology wasn’t perfect, and back when I had a Blackberry I could check in on Foursquare at a Doubletree (Hilton points), Holiday Inn (Priority Club), Best Western, and more all from my home. It became a daily ritual of quick points.

One can imagine this didn’t actually generate the buzz that TopGuest pitched travel providers on initially, and one by one programs fell away. Now all that is left is earning Hilton HHonors points for Doubletree check-ins. And I do not expect things to grow. In fact the ‘TopGuest’ brand has gone away.

ezRes Software acquired TopGuest a couple of years ago, raised $15 million, and subsequently the company was rebranded. Now TopGuest has been folded into parent company Switchfly’s larger offerings. Going to the TopGuest website you see:

Looking for Topguest? Topguest’s technology has been integrated into Switchfly’s core platform. Using the Switchfly white-label social platform, brands can create customized location-based experiences that customers want.

Switchfly is a company that provides online services to travel providers and loyalty programs, such as converting loyalty points into paid travel. Unsurprisingly they sponsor the really flawed IdeaWorks study that pushes the idea that revenue-based frequent flyer programs are best at satisfying customer demands. They do SPG Flights ad American’s Dynamic Air Awards, for instance.

I asked someone at Switchfly about the change, and about the future of direct-to-consumer offerings like those of TopGuest.

The Topguest technology was integrated with the Switchfly platform shortly after the acquisition. The functionality is now part of our greater loyalty offering, which includes the ability to earn points on booked travel as well as the ability to redeem points for any of our travel products. We prefer this integrated approach because we believe it benefits both consumers, by providing more options to earn and redeem points, as well as our clients, by providing a single technology platform that allows multiple opportunities to interact with their consumers.

The DoubleTree functionality should work as it did under the Topguest brand, and no end date has been set.

With regard to our other products, we remain focused on our core offering which includes both B2B and B2B2C. Quite a bit of our functionality is consumer-facing, it’s just deployed under our clients’ brands rather than our own. At this point we have no intention of directly entering the consumer space with our own brand.

What this tells me is that ‘TopGuest’ as a brand and an offering is essentially no more. But they’ve got the TopGuest technology, they can link up social media accounts and track activity, and can offer loyalty programs their own branded ability to award points for social media engagement.

You wouldn’t go to one site to sign up for Hilton, Priority Club, and Best Western social media rewards. But an airline or hotel might offer them direct to consumer, powered by the same technology that Switchfly has in TopGuest.

The easy one-stop shopping though, with rapid fire checkins earning thousands of points? By now they probably know better!


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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary,

    Thank you for the post. I’ve been checking into my local Doubletree for the last week with zero points posting on Switchfly (RIP TopGuest). Have your points continued to post?

  2. TopGuest had a system that was easily abused and their answer was mass-suspensions while catching legitimate users in the crossfire. So incompetent from start to finish that I’ll bet approximately zero people are surprised by this.

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