Written By: Jennifer Jones
When I go to Vegas, I would much rather spin the roulette wheel than play a game of craps — mostly because I do not understand the rules of craps. It is much easier for me to place my chips on lucky number 24 and take my chances, because being a control freak, I like to completely understand how I lose my money.
Have you ever tried to introduce the concept of exciting guests, potential guests or employees into playing a game so you can gather data or educate them on something? Research shows that when people psychologically feel that they have earned their reward, they see it like a prize over marketing. This introduces the concept of gamification, or the art of applying game-playing techniques to motivate and engage people to participate in marketing techniques for your product or service.
Wouldn’t you agree that winning a prize is much more fun than clipping a coupon, especially if the prize is tailored to something you would really love to have? While browsing the aisles at HITEC, I decided to visit a few exhibitors that had nothing to do with the minutia of the systems I am used to dealing with. I wanted to find something that no one else seemed to be doing, but totally made sense. That is when I stumbled upon meeting Aron Ezra and OfferCraft. One booth, two chairs and a tablet. And I was intrigued.
Imagine allowing guests when they check-in to play a simple, quick game to unlock incentives during their stay. You can remind them that their “prize” is soon to expire. Let’s say after a day you notice the incentive was never redeemed. You could instantly send another incentive to them that may suit their persona better. Perhaps they would prefer to share the reward with their friend as a gift? Along this journey of touchpoints, you can gather invaluable data about your guests and what they respond to versus what does not work. This means less guessing about what to do next! Incentives can fail because they are directed towards the wrong people or they are flat out boring and not exciting enough to redeem. OfferCraft takes a lot of the dart throwing out of the process and hits the bulls-eye when trying to really reach guests in an interesting way.
You can introduce gamification via social media and other channels to connect with non-guests to capture e-mail addresses and hopefully entice them to become a loyal customer. So between alluring game-playing and new-age “couponing” your marketing team will have access to a portal to be able to track what campaigns work and the granular data around how individual users respond to the offers.
I have only scratched the surface of this intelligently designed application’s offerings, not to mention that this is a great way to educate employees on certifications like PCI or safety training. Why not take a spin at the wheel and see what your property could benefit from with introducing gamification into your strategy? I bet you have fun doing it!
Jennifer Jones is president at J2 Hospitality Solutions, a technology consulting firm. She is an active member in the HFTP Rocky Mountain chapter, and she has spent her entire career in the hospitality technology space on both vendor and property sides of the spectrum. Jones is a 1997 graduate of Penn State University’s School of Hospitality Management.