Three Tips for Using Gamification To Engage Guests

guest engagement - gamification

A mid-sized hospitality company had a problem—almost no one was liking or clicking on their social media posts. The solution took an out-of-the-box approach: post a series of custom games online that people could play for a chance to win prizes redeemable at the property. Social media posts that normally attracted roughly 20 to 30 likes hit nearly 3,000 likes within the first 48 hours with the new gamified posts. Click-throughs spiked and bookings rose in kind.

This is the world of gamification.

Gamification is the application of typical elements of gameplay, such as point scoring and competition, to encourage engagement with a product or service. Hospitality companies, in particular, are turning to gamification to boost their customer loyalty by creating more enjoyable experiences and offers for their guests, rewarding them for their loyalty to the brand.

When a consumer feels a strong tie to a brand—whether through shared values or positive experiences—it creates a sense of connection. Perceived value can influence a consumer’s choices more than actual value. Incentives can feel more valuable when hotels offer a chance to earn or win a reward. Used properly, it also creates an experience that guests will remember, further increasing their ties to a brand.

When a hotel successfully transforms a marketing offer into a fun experience for guests, the results go beyond the initial uptick in revenue. In-room games, front-desk games, and games associated with an event or conference help to inspire more long-term brand loyalty and more loyalty program sign-ups while unlocking a treasure trove of behavioral data and customer insights.

While gamification can be incredibly effective, it has to be done correctly. Below are three tips for hotels to successfully implement gamification into their marketing strategies.

1The game has to be fun and easy.

An annoying and confusing experience won’t engage guests and encourage them to participate. Making a game too complicated to play will result in frustrated patrons.

2Don’t be creepy.

Consumers increasingly want personalization, but over-personalization without guest buy-in can raise privacy concerns. For instance, a game that showcases the details of a guest’s past hotel stays may make guests feel uncomfortable and prompt them to ask questions about how closely the hotel group is tracking them.

3Every game needs prizes.

A game that is engaging may attract click-throughs, but if it doesn’t come with a reward, guests will likely feel cheated.

When done right, gamification can be a powerful way to build engagement and revenue. By adding gamification to existing loyalty programs, hospitality companies can tap into a rich source of information that will allow them to continue to surprise and delight guests in exciting new ways.


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As Chief Marketing Officer, Aron oversees all marketing initiatives, internal and external communication efforts, and corporate brand strategy for the NRT portfolio. He was previously the founder and CEO of OfferCraft, a software company that was acquired by NRT in 2018.