According to ReportLinker, the mobile gaming industry is projected to experience explosive growth, reaching a colossal $153.5 billion worldwide by 2027. We get it, because we all know someone (perhaps our kids, our significant others—or even ourselves?) glued to their smartphone looking to advance just…one…more…LEVEL! There’s definite appeal in the challenge of these mobile apps—and the undeniably human thrill of victory. (Go ahead—ask me what chef level I’ve achieved on Word Cookies.) So it’s no surprise that marketers across every industry are leveraging gamification to win big for their brands.
What is gamification in tourism?
At Dana, we define it as harnessing playable activities (think: puzzles, trivia challenges, scavenger hunts, favorite picks, etc.) paired with game design elements (such as established rules, point systems and reward levels) to entice interaction with your tourism brand in a manner that is simultaneously entertaining for your audience and impactful in achieving your goals.
Why should I use it?
Gamification in tourism ticks off the boxes for top marketing objectives—including generating awareness for your destination, building engagement with your target audiences at any (or every!) stage of their trip planning and, ultimately, increasing visitation—the true brass ring for DMOs.
When, where and how can I incorporate it?
There’s a lot to unpack with this question because there are so many factors at play—and multiple when, where and how answers. So we’ll frame our response through a real world effort we executed for a tourism client.
It was spring 2021 and the Covid-19 pandemic was still impacting leisure travel everywhere. To keep wannabe wanderlusters engaged with the New Jersey Travel & Tourism brand, we designed a March Madness–inspired bracket game promoting the state’s unique offerings and attractions through Instagram Stories (see below). This effort boosted audience engagement on the platform by 20% over the previous month as well as racking up an additional 500 followers.
Who (else) is doing it well?
While no destination has enjoyed the global obsession and viral success of a Pokémon GO (yet!), some offer broadly engaging gamified content. Below are winning examples from two tourism boards—one promoting a bustling city and another an entire (albeit small) country:
We love Yo Toronto’s kid-centric visuals and fun, content-rich game collection, which showcases several scavenger hunt-style activities designed to increase visitation to attractions and sites throughout the city.
You don’t have to be a Lord of the Rings fan to appreciate the immersive experience delivered by the Middle Earth quiz on the New Zealand Tourism website, which lands the quiz-taker on a trip itinerary based upon the interests unveiled by their responses to questions.
As more and more DMOs embrace the concept of gamifying their marketing, we’re confident that this list of audience-engaging (and visitation-boosting) examples will continue to grow.
If you’re interested in exploring what gamification in tourism can mean for your destination, Dana is here to help you level up. Contact Lynn Kaniper today at 609.466.9187 ext. 771 or firstname.lastname@example.org to start the conversation.