Is Gamification Right for Your Event?

Gamification is basically the practice of imbuing a non-game situation with the hallmarks of game play, including competition, scoring, rules, and of course, a healthy dose of fun.  It’s a way to add an element of interactivity and to enhance engagement and emotional connection that might not otherwise exist.

Consider that a traditional meeting or event is largely a one-way street.  You and your event organizer work to create an attractive platform to deliver information.  That information may come from celebrity speakers or panels, or at least industry-leading experts.  It may be provided through exhibits designed to catch the eye and appeal to consumers on an emotional level.

However, if you want to increase engagement throughout your event, creating situations that encourage interaction are ideal.  This is where gamification comes into the picture.  You’ll want to consult with your convention planner to determine if gamification is actually right for your event.  How can you tell?  Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before making the leap to gamification.


Corporate and Convention Planner Goals

Before you start dreaming up gamification ideas for your event, you need to stop and consider if this strategy will actually improve your odds of reaching set goals.  If your main goal is to deliver information, say for a professional audience seeking ongoing educational credits, gamification can add an element of fun to the proceedings, but it might actually detract from your ability to meet stated goals, especially if attendees get caught up in competitive challenges and forego needed seminars, for example.

That said, there are a variety of ways in which gamification can help you to enhance your event, spice up activities, and create a greater sense of interactivity and inclusion for attendees.  The primary goal of gamification is engagement, so if that’s something you’re interested in adding to your event and you think adding elements of gamification will augment other efforts, you should definitely collaborate with your event organizer to instill gamification.

Audience Characteristics

While you never want to pigeonhole consumers, the truth is that certain demographics are likely to be more receptive to the concept of gamification because of generational exposure and a level of comfort with the elements of gamification.  Whereas Gen Xers are comfortable with gaming and millennials are on board with social technologies, older generations may not be entirely comfortable with either.

This could not only hold them back from fully participating, but also color their perception of the event.  Age and relative tech savviness are two audience characteristics you and your convention planner need to consider before committing to a gamification strategy.


Collaborating with Your Event Organizer on Targeted Gamification

While you can certainly add elements of gamification simply for the sake of gamification, you’re bound to get more traction with event attendees if your strategy makes sense for the type of event you’re hosting, the ways in which you want attendees to engage, and your ultimate goals for behavior and guest perception of the overall experience.

For example, one of your goals may be to create an event community of sorts, one in which attendees are able not only to network, but to share an experience that allows them to build personal relationships with one another (and in the process, create positive associations with your brand).  In this case, you might want to lean toward group, rather than individual challenges.

Maybe you want to increase interest in and interactions with exhibitors.  A scavenger hunt type of scenario could lay the groundwork to accomplish your goals.  Perhaps your goal is to heighten feelings of FOMO for those not attending the event in order to increase attendance at subsequent events.  This could lead you and your convention planner to create areas and activities that encourage attendees to publicly document their experience, sharing pics and personal anecdotes in order to earn points and prizes.

Says Tarique Stanley, AMI’s Technology Specialist, “Gamification is not just about adding ‘games’ to your event.  It’s about creating a cohesive experience where guests can participate and contribute in a way that feels natural.  You don’t want gamification to feel antithetical to the purpose and aesthetic of your event.


Tracking for Future Inclusion

If you’re just starting to experiment with gamification, you really need to track participation and outcomes to determine whether or not this strategy is worthwhile moving forward, as well as how you can improve if you intend to continue.  When you work with a skilled event organizer like American Meetings, Inc. (AMI), you can choose the strategies best suited to your event, your audience, and your goals and track results to see how gamification contributes to your event.

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