By Vanessa Fagard on 10/15/20 9:08 AM
The year 2020 has revolved around many critical themes and brought forth many hard truths in the world of business in leisure. One way or another, if you want your business to survive, there is no way around digitalization. Operational procedures must be modernized, and with it, its business models and public health & security is of the highest value.
When looking at it from a business model perspective, the stake returning customers and advocates take within this became more evident than ever before. Having and retaining die-hard fans and loyal customers were what kept up many venues' reputation and enabled money and guest flow for many leisure businesses. Many strategies are being employed to make this happen - one of them is gamification.
So, what is gamification, and how does it turn your customers into loyal fans?
Have you ever filled out a form online or read an article that showed you a progress bar indicating how far through you are? Then you have encountered gamification at its simplest form! A progress bar involves the user cognitively to increase levels of participation. It motivates him to take action in the desired way and, subsequently, increases the chance to be remembered.
If you are a theme park, think of your themed waiting areas - they are actually not that different from a progress bar as they are supposed to involve your visitors while performing the desired action: waiting in the queue. As you can see, in everyday examples, gamification features are often used to give users guidance and elicit involvement.
However, there is also the more exciting world of true gamefulness, including meaningful interaction elements that create a unique experience based on rewards and continuous engagement. The fun and relatedness bring dynamics between different players through team working, sharing, challenge, and achievements. For leisure venues, this is the perfect chance to take interactivity to the next level and beyond the boundaries of attractions before, during, and after your guests visit.
The benefits of gamification for leisure venues
Overall, depending on how you choose to implement it, gamification can impact social sales, the discovery of your venue, onsite time, shop clicks, and upsells, as well as social sharing and engagement.
Should be more than enough reasons to go for it!
To give you an idea of what I am talking about: Pre-trip games are mainly played to kill time while generating interest and excitement for what is ahead. During the trip, games are usually played to enhance onsite experiences, particularly through location-based games, and post-trip games or interaction help the visitor keep the experience alive. Especially the latter is essential to increasing visitor loyalty.
You might be asking yourself now...
But who is gamification for and how can I use it?
This customer retention strategy is for any venue wanting to implement a customer loyalty scheme more playfully. When thinking of playfulness, that doesn't mean you have to create an elaborate storyline that only suits theme parks and resonates with families. Thinking of wellness venues, you can get your customers engaged with the background of your treatments, for example, and as a reward for their engagement, let them build up points they can use as discounts for their next visit - and so much more.
The point is that the name gamification strategy often scares off leisure businesses that are no attraction park - but that is a narrow way of thinking and leaves a lot of opportunities off the table. Gamification can be applied to almost really any service and experience and if done well, it can become a great asset to delight your guests.
And yes, having die-hard fans and loyal customers should absolutely be in your agenda!
By drafting a few initiatives and a simple action plan you could already start reaping the benefits of gamification strategies in your venue.
Stay tuned Monday next week for the second part of this blog post on discovering more gamification opportunities and how to bring them to life with a well-defined action plan or already take a peek into the real game-changer when it comes to customer loyalty, retention and recurrence.