As hoteliers, one of our first priorities in the primary stages of the guest journey is being able to offer potential guests an interactive and engaging experience.
Nowadays, the ways to attract guest attention and interest are countless, and being able to capitalize on today’s new technologies and digital transformation is just as important as presenting an unforgettable stay for your guests. With this in mind, we’ve taken interest in a new and innovative trend that hotels have begun adding into their marketing repertoires - gamification.
So, what exactly is gamification? By definition, gamification is the application of quintessential “game playing” used typically as an online technique for marketers to encourage engagement with their respective services or products. In hospitality, the use cases of this concept present a wide array of possibilities based on your hotel’s general demographic, upcoming holidays, special events you have prepared and more.
Why is gamification so effective in hospitality?
One of the important points of gamification is that it serves as a completely interactive digital experience. Being a new concept gives visitors the excitement of being able to engage with something fresh, and the interactive aspects of gamification is what keeps them interested in the program - and ultimately, of course, the property.
Hotels around the world have begun introducing different variations of gamification, from simple point systems to full-fledged casino-like game ideas. Whether it be keeping up with guest loyalty or creating a sense of scarcity and urgency, gamification is a budding trend that’s set to take over the hospitality world.
1. Lopesan Hotel Group
Lopesan Hotel Group’s Halloween memory game
During the time of Halloween last year, Lopesan Hotel Group launched an astoundingly addictive Halloween-themed memory game. With this common, fun, and well-known game around the world, the brand encouraged their visitors to match all the relevant card pairs in a limited time frame of 50 seconds. Those who successfully passed the challenge receive a 15% discount for future stays at any Lopesan hotel. Furthermore, the participant who completed the game in the fastest time received a gift card for a free stay at any one of Lopesan’s properties.
Lopesan Hotel Group’s initiative was wonderfully effective, thanks to the game’s quick yet addicting and interactive nature. By creating this digital experience, the chain was able to attract the attention of their potential guests, then solidify the interest by offering incentives within their interactive game through the discounts and gift cards.
Part of the ingenuity behind Lopesan’s initiative was the time they set it around. Knowing full well the high potential website traffic special dates such as Halloween bring, the brand catered their initiative exactly to that; by theming it to Halloween and presenting it as so via social media, email blasts and more, Lopesan Hotel Group was able to announce their initiative to a wider audience and in turn spark the interest of more potential guests alike.
2. La Quinta Inns & Suites
La Quinta “Play & Stay” initiative
In addition to creating an engaging and interactive first impression for your potential guests, it’s equally important to be able to have something that keeps them constantly wanting more from you; and this is exactly what La Quinta Inns & Suites did.
The brand presented visitors with “Play & Stay”, a tremendously addictive game where users were able to potentially win collectibles or points of the brand with a digital slot machine and wheel of fortune.
Focusing on the fundamental concept of “scarcity leads to desire,” players must possess a number of tokens in order to have access to the La Quinta games. While these tokens are recharged through time, players can find more tokens through the additional wheel of fortune game. The power behind tokens is the idea of “scarcity leads to desire.” Similar to how hotels can instil a sense of urgency through Countdown Clock Layers on their hotel websites, these tokens highlight scarcity and the time users have to wait before being able to once again access the game.
With “Play & Stay’s” digital slot machine, guests can use these tokens to access the game. The more times they play, the more chances they get to receive La Quinta-relevant rewards such as discounts or stays without blackout dates. The game’s addictiveness, in addition to the great potential rewards, adds to the guest's desire of returning back to the La Quinta website, and spinning the wheel again to see what more prizes they can potentially win. This in itself already helps to builds a large loyal base of La Quinta followers, and the gamification strategy’s success only amplifies its potential.
3. Accor Hotels
Accor ALL program status level cards
When creating a point-based gamification strategy, Accor Hotels has hit all the right spots with their Accor Live Limitless (ALL) program. The brand’s ALL program lies solely in a simple yet equally effective point system. Though it seems straightforward, the Accor point system possesses an in-depth array of different aspects in the overall strategy. Five different ALL program levels, depicted with different cards, range from classic to diamond and contain different perks each. Focusing on the actual stays of the guests, the program allows users to accumulate reward points every time they book or stay at one of the participating ALL program hotels, and members can earn additional reward and status points for every 10 Euros spent.
The power behind this initiative is that the concept merges with the live-time hotel experiences of the guest. Its interactivity, and development of the desire for more points, keeps guests coming back to Accor properties and the ALL point system. The more they interact with an Accor hotel, and the more points they accumulate, the more they will want to return to one again.
Additionally, due to the program’s variety and flexibility, guests can choose their own membership levels and see which one fits best. Each membership level is catered to the different “kind” of member the user is; whether they’re beginner-travelers or full-on adventurers, Accor offers different membership options for each. Fitting in personalization with a gamification concept is a brilliant way to keep guest loyalty high, and new visitors interested.
Expanding your gamification initiatives
Gamification has proven to be a widely effective marketing strategy to engage with potential guests. While still a relatively new concept, gamification’s ability to create a strong sense of interactivity along with its naturally addictive nature has turned out to be a powerful tool in raising guest loyalty, boosting website traffic, and increasing interest and engagement with new visitors.
As more and more hotels are starting to embrace this concept, it’s becoming crucial to communicate these initiatives effectively across your website, different platforms, and channels. We’ve seen Accor present its Accor Live Limitless program on a dedicated page, highlighting all the nooks and crannies within the gamification process; Lopesan Hotel Group promoting their game on their Instagram and Facebook accounts; and many more hotels doing the exact same. It all depends on what communication strategy works best for your brand, and the way in which you execute it.
We at THN love exploring and learning about new hotel marketing initiatives, and look forward to creating more content and additional follow-ups to the growing and innovative gamification trend. We can’t wait to see what more exciting gamification strategies you have in store!