There’s no getting around it: gaming is everywhere. From entire communities playing in virtual worlds online, to everyone from grandmothers to toddlers navigating mobile games in their spare moments, the world of gaming commands increased engagement globally, and businesses are sitting up to take notice – including ours.
What is gamification?
Simply put, gamification refers to the use of game design elements in non-game contexts. In our industry that doesn’t mean turning your event into a video game or some kind of competition – rather, it’s just about applying the mechanics, dynamics and design of the world of gaming to your strategy in order to engage your guests. At its core, gamification taps into one of the most basic human drives: a desire to achieve something, and to be recognised and rewarded for it.
If you think about it, gamification is probably already part of your life. If you’re collecting loyalty points and rewards through a store card, if you’re fanatical about only using one airline so that you can keep collecting those frequent flyer miles, if you’re only filling your car at one petrol station because you get points for doing so – all of these things are versions of gamification that encourage us to behave in a certain type of way. And this behaviour, when utilised correctly, can translate perfectly into the eventing space.
The mechanics of gamification were influencing events long before technology came along and changed up the game. Think of classic event engagement tactics like exhibitor passport stamp challenges, business card raffles, or even that slightly-awkward icebreaker that you were made to take part in at your first company event: these are all designed to engage guests in a simple, intrinsically motivational way.
Fast forward to 2018 and, while the business card raffle will always be a winner, technology has meant that event gamification has grown in leaps and bounds because adding gamification to your event is best facilitated by event technology and event apps. Not only does tech allow for easier personalisation, but it’s also a slick, painless way to get your guests to engage.
How can you use gamification in your next event?
Start off by defining your event goals and objectives and breaking down who exactly will be attending, and build the game aspect around that. The great thing about gamification is that, once you’ve established what your goal is, almost all events will offer some opportunity to introduce a gaming element. Hosting a huge exhibition where you’d like guests to make an effort to visit every vendor? Build a mobile check-in system that rewards guests who can prove they’ve visited every stall. Hosting a small team-building day out where you want your employees to have fun and feel motivated? Keep a running tally of scores to encourage engagement using an app for the day. No matter how big or small your event, we’ll find some way to make your guests feel like they’re having the kind of exciting experience that will stay will them long after they leave.
If you’re able to stick to your event gamification goal, keep the concept simple and fairly easy to achieve, and carry it all off through seamless technology, you’ll be championing event gamification in no time. And who knows – you might even have a little fun yourself!