As an event manager, it is often challenging to deliver an amazing onsite experience. And while there may be mobile apps to engage attendees with live Q&A and polling, Event Gamification has become one of the hottest topics in the events industry. I assume by now you have formed an opinion about it. But before you write it off completely, take a moment to think what surprisingly powerful benefits event gamification can deliver for attendees, exhibitors, sponsors and event managers. And if you get it wrong, you’ll have spent your money without enjoying any of the perks — so it’s important to be smart about it.
Here are three basic principles to help you get started:
#1: See Through the Eyes of Your Attendees
You know what you want to achieve when you gamify your event; you want to drive specific behaviours throughout the event lifecycle, while creating a unique and memorable experience for your attendees.
This is likely to include attendance (with check-ins at the venue as well as for individual sessions, meetings and at exhibitor stands), getting social (with sharing, commenting and rating content), networking (with rich user profiles, meetings and messages) and also feedback (about single sessions, speakers or about the event overall).
What you gain for yourself — and for your sponsors and exhibitors — is clear. But to be successful, you need to step into your participants’ shoes. Ask yourself: why should your attendees want to play your game? And why would they want to win?
#2: Consider Your Incentives
The element of competition, while crucial, will only get you so far. Earning points and climbing the leader board are just parts of gaming. Achievements have to be tangible and accessible to all players, not just the winner.
Incentives don’t have to be financial. They could be linked to status and recognition (e.g. being invited to speak or receiving a media pass) or access (e.g. special workshops and a post-event party). Even coupons for lunch, coffee or free chocolates to be collected from an exhibitor stand can prove very popular. Of course, you’ll want to include some big money prizes, too.
#3: It’s All About Value Exchange
Your goal is to build intrinsic value into each game, so that the very act of participating will provide value for the delegate — such as making more or wider-ranging networking connections than they otherwise might, had they not participated.
Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below or read more about gamification here.