Samantha Wolhuter
Samantha Wolhuter in Industry News
September 20, 2016

The rise of Gamification: challenges of the marketing game

In recent years, approaches that aim to unite, motivate and even retain a community in the digital universe have been constantly increasing. Things like making the experience intuitive, customising services or offering improved monitoring provide companies with plenty of options for winning over customers. The idea of turning certain activities into something playful has also become part of the corporate marketing offensive, and for good reason too. Gamification (riding the wave of the impressive popularity of video games) offers an innovative solution; using the principles (and the mechanics) of games in their business strategy. 

The idea quickly won over companies from all backgrounds. Sephora adopted it in 2013 ago with the creation of a daily game, which aimed at leading to subsequent purchases. Starbucks rewards its coffee consumers with a loyalty scheme that works exactly like a game as it allows you to earn points to reach higher levels.

When travel comes into play

Following the example of these sectors, tourism has also decided to play the game and there are now a multitude of schemes based on gaming. The potential of this system for companies in the travel industry is colossal; it can turn a simple walk into a fun and interactive discovery. Traditional practices are gradually giving way to creativity.

In the aviation sector, several brands have capitalized on gaming for their loyalty schemes. Air Canada has sought to create stronger relationships with customers by providing a simple and fun game, while giving them rewards at the same time.  As for JetBlue Airways, it too opted for gaming in order to enhance loyalty to the airline. The scheme is based on two complementary approaches; offering an account that’s fully personalised with your own journeys and your position in relation to your friends, and that also allows travellers to earn points. Their TrueBlue Badges encourage users to choose JetBlue for their travel.

Gaming and hospitality

Just like air travel, the hotel industry is putting gaming at the heart of its loyalty strategy. The AccorHotels group uses this playful solution with the Places by le Club AccorHotels app. It allows members to earn points by collecting badges during their stays at establishments within the network. Developed in 2012 and based on the concept of geolocation, the app is accessible on Facebook or can be downloaded directly to a mobile or tablet. Users (members of the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty scheme) have 6 months (from the date of arrival at the establishment in question) to record their stay via the app, enabling them to obtain badges.

A total of 36 different badges await travellers according to the destination, the number of stays at the same hotel or the chosen brand (Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, etc.). So, for example, after 10 check-ins via the app the customer is awarded a “Lover” badge, a stay in Thailand gets them a “Siam Smiles” and two check-ins at a MGallery hotel will automatically be rewarded with a “Memorable Traveler” if the traveller logs in via their mobile, tablet or Facebook account. After validation, these will be converted into Le Club AccorHotels points. To best meet the needs of members, checking-in via the Places by Le Club AccorHotels app is simple and requires no internet connection. In short, it is a fun and easy way to earn points.

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Samantha Wolhuter
Samantha Wolhuter
Director, Marketing Content and Creative at Lobster Ink