As the number of smart phones like iPhone, Blackberry and Android explode in the marketplace, more and more consumers are “checking in” with geo-location social games and smart business owners have an opportunity to cash in.

Consumers are directing traffic to your location.

These mobile applications allow consumers (your customers) to share their current location with friends, find popular hotspots, see who is already there and highlight interesting places that are often undiscovered treasures. They have the opportunity to post exactly where they are and what’s happening there on both Facebook and Twitter if they link their account and publish to their stream of friends..

Consumers are competing to see who is the most loyal.

They score points and achievement badges, even becoming “Mayor” (Foursquare) or “Duke” (Yelp) while chronicling their social activities. Smart businesses can offer specials for those checking in, and super specials for customers becoming “Mayor” or “Duke” — which only makes the competition to frequent your establishment greater so they don’t lose that status, while others keep attempting to “oust” them by frequenting your establishment.

Consumers are sharing their experience.

Statistics show that consumers trust recommendations from their peers’ more than traditional paid advertising. By leaving tips and to-do’s on Foursquare or lengthy reviews on Yelp, your customers are your spokespeople. An excellent experience will create a raving fan; a not-so-satisfactory experience might elicit a rant. It’s an opportunity to make changes in how you operate, reward the great reviews and try to fix the bad experiences.

Consumers are creating your venue.

They earn extra points when a new venue is created, so if your venue has been created on all of these platforms (and more are popping up daily), be sure to claim it and be sure that all the information is correct on your venue. You simply go to the website of each venue, search for your location and claim it. It will go through an authorization process and then you can customize it. You can even ask your “Mayor” to help clean up your online profile if she or he is a super-user.

Consumers want special offers.

When I check-in at a location, many times a tip pops up from a friend or even a nearby special – which may change my mind and prompt me stay at that location, or conversely, go to another. Some savvy businesses have generic specials like “show that you checked in and receive 10% off your order” or something special for the Mayor or Duke like “Two drinks on the house for mayor & guest.” The more generous you are with your offer, the more people will talk about it and newcomers will try.

In summary, geo-location based games are redefining what it means to be a “regular” and pioneering a deeper connection between place and patron. Join in the fun and cash-in on check-ins.