2011 promises to be another big year for check-ins and location-based marketing.  Here are our bold predictions for what we’ll see in 2011.

1. Location-based services begin to cross the chasm as smartphone usage explodes.

A recent survey report claims that 4% of people in the United States use location services like Foursquare or Gowalla.  Expect that number to change in a big way in 2011.  Here’s why:

2. There will be consolidation among location-based services.

As Foursquare and Facebook Places continue to dominate the check-in landscape, other players will need to either innovate beyond focusing on check-ins or join forces with other location-services.  We’ve already seen Gowalla innovate beyond check-ins, and  Brightkite completely eliminated its check-in service.  Expect to see other players follow suit.

3. Foursquare and Facebook Places will introduce a paid marketing offering for businesses.

Location-based services like Facebook Places and Foursquare are at the precipice of revolutionizing the way marketers touch customers.  As businesses continue to reach customers through check-in services, expect Foursquare and Facebook Places to introduce expanded marketing capabilities – at a price.

4. Someone other than Foursquare or Facebook will build the killer recommendation app.

Foursquare has publicly stated that it is thinking about how to incorporate recommendations into its application.  However, an independent developer will beat Foursquare to the punch by leveraging open APIs from Foursquare, Facebook Places and even Yelp to build the killer recommendation engine. Imagine receiving alerts when your favorite venues are trending or being recommended new venues based on where your friends check-in.  It’s not too far away.

5. Analytics plays a larger role in location-based marketing.

Check-ins are chock-full of data that help marketers understand their customers.  Expect marketers to begin leverage check-in data across their marketing programs to provide more timely and relevant communications, moving us closer to the goal of truly-personalized marketing.

What are your predictions for location-based marketing in 2011?  Do you agree or disagree with our predictions?  Let us know in the comments below!