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Gowalla is suiting up and heading to the Derby. The social geolocation service has partnered with Kentucky’s largest newspaper, the Courier-Journal, to create special tours to help visitors and natives make the most of the two weeks of festivities leading up to the race on May 1.

Gowalla has released two different trips for the event, the Louisville Tour and the Louisville Bar Crawl. Users can collect a special badge for visiting the eight sites on the Louisville Tour, designed to help tourists discover Louisville’s primary points of interest, including Louisville Slugger Field and the Kentucky Derby Museum. A badge is also awarded for completion of the Louisville Bar Crawl, composed of different restaurant, bar and club venues that should prove useful to both visitors and residents (not to mention the owners of those businesses).

Gowalla has also promised that a number of limited edition “special items” will be available during the Festival, available at “key spots” around Louisville.

Although Gowalla has designed special trips for events like the Winter Olympics before, in January the company also made it possible for users to create their own trips. Users can design tours of up to 20 destinations via their Gowalla web accounts and share them with their friends. Gowalla combs through user-created trips and creates unique badges for the best and most popular ones.

The Trips feature is, in my opinion, one of the best parts about Gowalla’s application. It’s an ideal resource for university campuses (both Harvard and the University of Arkansas have created public tours on Gowalla) and any business in the tourism industry. It’s also a feature that rival Foursquare doesn’t (yet) have.

What do you think about Gowalla’s Kentucky Derby promotion? How do you think businesses can best take advantage of Gowalla’s trips feature?

[img credit: Courier-Journal]

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Tags: gowalla, kentucky derby