Only a few years ago, turning a business or a brand into a game experience was considered an oxymoron. But above all the tourism industry has come a long way since. Trends such as an increase in adoption of smart mobile devices, consumers becoming more tech savvy and travellers seeking more interactive and digitally enhanced experiences have paved the way for gamification in the tourism industry.
GAMIFIED EXPERIENCES THROUGHOUT ALL STAGES
In the tourism and travel industry, we can see the inclusion of gamification elements at all stages of the travel cycle. The Holmenkollen Ski Jump by Visit Norway is one of the most prominent examples of how gamified experiences can help raising awareness. Geneva’s gamified campaign is one of the most recent travel and tourism campaigns that make use of gamified elements for brand development purposes. The award winning app of Stockholm Sounds on the other hand, provides a best practice case study of how the adoption of gamified elements creates truly immersive and digitally enhanced tourist experiences.
PITFALLS OF GAMIFICATION
While gamification can be an effective tool for increasing engagement, it also comes with a range of challenges. One of the biggest pitfalls is offering a gamified experience that is used purely for gamings sake. While this might lead to high exposure and engagement with the game, it bears the risk that the gamified campaign does not fulfil its objectives. Tourism brands have to be careful to clearly define their objectives in advance and identify wether a gamified element is the most effective way to reach these goals.
REACHING THE USERS' GOALS
Another common pitfall is to neglect the importance of your customers’ goals. Gamification is about motivating people to achieve their own goals, not the organisation's goals. At best gamification is centred around a set of goals that the organisation shares with its users.
The recently launched app Epiclist is a great example of such shared goals. The app makes use of social gaming elements to encourage users to plan trips, carry them out and share visual content afterwards. In essence it uses gamified elements throughout all stages of the travel process, in order to encourage travellers to follow their dreams, experience tourist products and share those experiences with the community. The company behind Epiclist features the best trips and makes them bookable through their application. Thus high quality content creation as well as experiencing and sharing those experiences is the common goal between users and the organisation, which drives the usage of this app.
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