Thinking outside the box and keeping your audience engaged are two critical keys to any successful event. Now that virtual and hybrid events have become the norm, organizers must work even harder to keep energy high and hold their attendees’ attention.
Integrating games and competitions into events, also called “gamification,” is one of the hottest trends right now. Adding gamification to your event is one of the best ways to increase engagement, heighten brand awareness, and drive attendees to perform desired actions.
What is Gamification? The Basics
Despite its recent rise in popularity, there’s still some confusion about gamification and what it isn’t. It’s important to note that it’s not about turning your event into a big competition or creating something that resembles a fair; instead, event gamification is simply the process of incorporating game mechanics into the overall event experience.
It works because humans, by nature, like to compete; they also feel a strong sense of satisfaction when rewarded for their efforts. Gamification taps into this psychology to drive desired behaviors in a fun and exciting way.
Using Gamification to Drive Action
Defining your desired outcome is the first step to successfully incorporating gamification into your events. Whether you’re trying to build your prospect list, upsell to current customers, or increase brand awareness, it’s essential to know how you’ll measure your success.
While gamification can add a significant amount of entertainment to your event, this shouldn’t be the only purpose. Instead, it should always be linked to a specific goal that directly relates to the success of your event. For example, you may aim for a 30% increase in exhibitor interactions or a 25% increase in attendee referrals.
Once you’re clear on your goals, choosing the best gamification format for your event is much easier. For example, if you want to ensure your sponsors and exhibitors get plenty of traffic, you may offer points for each display they visit.
Some other ways to use gamification to drive action include:
- Awarding points for correctly answering trivia questions during the event
- Checking off boxes on BINGO cards for completing specific tasks
- Hiding secret codes at various locations throughout the event space
- Creating a scavenger hunt and awarding clues for taking particular actions
- Offering the ability to earn titles and “level up” for completing several tasks
- Giving points or rewards for inviting others to attend the event
Using a mobile app with gaming capabilities will help you design and launch your gamification plan. While it’s critical to have the right technology in place, simply providing access to an app isn’t enough. You’ll also need to motivate your attendees to participate in the games and make it worth their while. Do it right, and you’ll create loyal brand advocates who will be talking about your event long after it’s over.
Since most people enjoy a bit of friendly competition, providing visual incentives like leaderboards, notifications, and personal scorecards can help keep your attendees motivated.
For in-person meetings, you may also consider giving out color-coded lanyards or badges for reaching certain levels. This will keep your gamification top-of-mind and encourage a competitive spirit.
Make sure your games are challenging enough to give participants a sense of achievement, but not so difficult or complex that attendees get frustrated or lose interest. It’s also essential to monitor your gamification in real-time. Keep an eye on how close participants are to earning awards and how engaged they are. If enthusiasm seems to be waning, make sure to send notifications reminding them how close they are to receiving a reward.
Choosing Rewards and Prizes
If you want people to get excited about your games, you’ll need prizes or rewards they want. While there are many options, ultimately, you’ll want to make sure the rewards you choose surprise and delight your guests.
For multi-day events, you may consider awarding experiences such as a VIP happy hour, a special dinner, a massage at the hotel spa, or an exclusive outing for those who reach certain levels.
Some organizations offer to donate to a charity of the winner’s choice, while others stick to traditional prizes, like a t-shirt and a coffee mug. As you choose the awards for your event, it’s crucial to think about what the prize says about your organization and the lasting impression you want to make.
Benefits of Gamification
Adding gamification to your event is an excellent way to guide your attendees to the actions you want them to take. It also makes them more comfortable, because they’ll know exactly what’s expected of them. In addition, when attendees are fully engaged, they’re more aware of their surroundings, allowing for deeper interaction with presenters and exhibitors.
Properly implemented, gamification converts “attendees” into “participants.” It helps them become fully immersed in the moment, learn new things, and get more out of the event than they otherwise would.
Gamification can create a fun and relaxed atmosphere and ensure a positive and rewarding experience. It can also significantly increase your return on investment by helping you to reach your predefined goals.
Add Gamification to Your Next Event
While the concept of gamification has created a lot of buzz lately, only a small number of organizers are currently using it to its full potential. By using gamification to upgrade your event experience now, you can ensure your events will stand out from the crowd. It will also allow you to increase both participants and sponsor engagement, encourage deeper connections, increase your session attendance, and improve the overall experience.
To learn more about how eShow can help you add gamification to your next event, request a personal demo. We’re happy to show you exactly how our mobile app works and help you choose the perfect line-up of products to ensure your next event is a stellar success.