Gamification is catching more attention in conference and expo circles. Typically, conference organizers will create a game within the context of an event to increase attendee exposure to a product or service. Gamification is often used to shine a light on sponsors and exhibitors. Things like “Visit these exhibitors and get your passport stamped for a chance to win a free….”
While gamification might trigger more traffic, eyeballs or clicks, opinions vary on whether it’s generating the right attention. You have to wonder, are purchasing decision makers and influencers motivated by games? Perhaps, but if you’re not attracting the people your exhibitors and sponsors most want to see, there’s no game in the world that will fix that flaw.
Refining Your Gamification Strategy
Let’s assume that you are attracting the right people to your conference. What if you used gamification to crowdsource tips to improve the attendee experience?
Think about those attending your event. They’re stepping away from their busy day-to-day world to spend a few days at your conference. Most are arriving with goals in mind (solve critical problems, meet customers/prospects, learn about industry trends, etc.). They’re also separated from their usual creature comforts. Toss in a few travel snags and the attendee experience could get rather bumpy.
But imagine if you designed a game where…
1. Attendees were encouraged to share tips with others attending the conference.
Tips might address travel comforts: Hotel airport shuttle is free, fast and comfortable – just outside Doorway C.
Or recommend an education session: Mary Brown’s book on innovation is outstanding. Looking forward to her session.
Or spark networking exchanges: Would love to meet up with others using the XYZ inventory management system.
2. Attendees were encouraged to +1 any tips they found to be helpful.
Best case scenario would be to capture this activity in your conference mobile app. Another option would be Twitter, where tips and +1’s could easily be filtered and tracked using a #hashtag. This post identifies eight Twitter hashtag tracking tools.
3. Top +1 vote getters would be recognized and rewarded.
Today’s social world appreciates helpful people. Consider highlighting best tips on slide shows as attendees enter session rooms. Make sure your +1 Leaderboard is highly visible throughout the conference to inspire others to join in on the fun. Give careful consideration to the rewards, as they must be valued by your conference audience. Perhaps an exclusive VIP experience with your general session speaker?
How are you leveraging gamification at your conference or trade show? What other tips can you share that we can +1?
Adapted from Donna’s Meeting Innovation post on Cvent’s Event Planning blog. ©2014.
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