Event planners face serious problems with disengaged guests. It’s very likely that your guests will not pay attention to the event and find it memorable and valuable. Gamification can be a powerful tool to get your guests involved in the event and to return for the next.
Although event gamification is not a new concept in itself, it has seen a lot of growth over the past ten years. This is largely due to the increasing acceptance of games by the younger generations and their desire for personal connection with their work.
We’ll be explaining event gamification in this article and why it is important for your events. We will also share some tips on how to successfully gamify your event.
What is Event Gamification?
Event gamification refers to the practice of adding game mechanics into an event experience. This is when you introduce competition, goals and points to your event to help implement the fundamental principles of gaming.
Why would organizers want to gamify events?
- This is a great way for your attendees to connect with the event and engage them.
- This creates an experience of high quality that guests will feel like they are getting their money’s worth.
- It helps to relax the atmosphere and break the ice between people.
- It provides everyone with a common purpose and common ground.
- This will boost your guests’ confidence as they will have something to discuss.
- It helps keep everyone happy throughout the event.
- It builds deeper loyalty, satisfaction, and generates more social buzz.
- It engages your audience actively, rather than waiting for them.
Play and competition can increase attendees’ engagement and make an impact on the event experience. Because everyone loves games, it’s a great way to market your event.
How event gamification works
Gamification is based upon the dopamine effects principle, which is the principle that rewards are given. We get a shot of dopamine when we complete game tasks.
Jane McGonigal, a game designer and researcher, explains that the pleasure from playing games can be divided into four different feelings.
- Productivity bliss – A player who is focused on a specific purpose and loses sight of time.
- Trust and cooperation – Players enjoy positive interactions with each other.
- Urgent optimism – Players feel positive even when they fail.
- Epic meaning – The player is inspired by an extraordinary story/plot/event.
You’d love to instill those emotions in your guests at your event! Guests will be more inclined to do the same behavior if they are rewarded with positive experiences. Your guests will be more likely to repeat the behavior you desire if you tie your event’s game elements with actions that provide value to them (more about this later).
Gamification can be a powerful tool but it can be difficult to incorporate into an event. It should feel natural. Your guests will see it as a trick.
It is important to think about the game mechanics when planning your event. It should be part of your budget discussion. It should have an influence on your other variables, such as food, music and signage.
Different types of event gamification
The use of digital tools (websites and apps, screens, etc.) is a growing trend. Gamification is a part of it, but this is not always the case. You don’t necessarily need the most cutting-edge technology.
You don’t need any tools or props to add games-like features into your event. Event gamification is best when people interact in person with each other, their event staff, speakers/presenters, and even their vendors.
Don’t be tempted to make a digital-only gaming experience. You can make your attendees feel disconnected from your event by creating digital-only games. Instead of connecting people, digital-only games make it difficult for your attendees to interact with each other. Your games should encourage interaction between your guests and other attendees.
To make learning more engaging and fun, Volvo Pride included a scavenger hunt in their company training events. Social Media Marketing World used bingo to connect guests that would otherwise never meet.
Gamification isn’t for everyone
Dr. Based on his research into gamers, Richard Bartle published a paper. He identified four types of gamers in his research.
- Gamers who are able to master difficult tasks or earn points.
- Explorators who love to deconstruct a game in order to understand its workings.
- Socializers who see games as a way to interact with others.
- Killers who enjoy power games over others are known as “killers”.
Different gamers have different goals and needs when it comes to gaming. You can’t please everyone by offering the same game. A scavenger hunter may not like the competitive, points-based game. Puzzle-solving may not appeal to the socializer who enjoys meeting new people.
By getting to know your guest, you can create a game that is most popular. What are they most interested in? What are their ways of behaving? What are their goals? This information can be used to help you design the perfect game for your audience.
It’s okay to know that not everyone will enjoy your game. That’s fine. This is another reason your gamification should not be expected to carry your event. Make sure that your guests don’t feel compelled to take part.
Warning: Winning is not easy
Gamified events often offer tangible rewards for winners. After completing the puzzle or reaching the goal of the game, guests are given prizes or swag. Some events offer VIP access or free passes to other events.
However, prizes can be a detriment to your event if guests are focused on winning and not engaging with other aspects of the event. A guest who skips a presentation to spend more time on the scavenger hunt will not understand the true value of the event. He’ll be left wondering why he came to the event in the first place.
Gamification should be tied to the higher goal in order to maximize its value. The game should contain information that will help guests learn if your event goal is to impart knowledge. Your game should include people if your event goal is to bring people together. This is how you link pleasurable gaming behaviors to valuable actions that your attendees will enjoy.
Don’t also use games to push your agenda. It would be bad to give prizes to guests who have filled out contact forms for your vendors. These leads would be useless because guests will only fill out the forms in order to earn points and not because they want products. Your guests would also be annoyed by the gimmick.
Balance event gamification and other features
Gamification is a way to make your event more interesting, but it’s not the answer to all your problems. Gamification is a tool that allows your guests to connect with other features such as your comfortable venue and engaging speakers. It also helps them interact with powerful demonstrations and displays, as well as savory food.
Your guests may find your event silly and boring if you rely on gamification only. You’ll make your guests feel as though you’re using gimmicks instead of real value-adding features.
Gamification can be a powerful tool but you must do it right. This advice will help you create high-quality game elements for your event that encourage attendance.