Gamification – The next big thing in the exhibition industry

The concept of gamification is the application of games mechanics to a marketing strategy. This can be used to improve engagement with audiences through competitive elements and incentives. Although gamification may be a relatively new term, history suggests that it may date back to the Ancient Egyptians. To increase productivity amongst slaves they were organised into teams and competed against each other and rewarded with goods. The rewards created by gamification keep users engaged and interacting with each other and build valuable relationships. It has to be Fun, interesting and a challenge.


The first thing to do is to identify your goals and target audience. This way you can create the games based around what the attendees like and the data you’d like from them. A successful game will get people talking at your event and ultimately drive footfall. We have listed some great ways of integrating games into your strategy:


Smartphone apps have proved hugely successful for companies and brands wishing to incentivise loyalty and engagement. It’s probably a safe assumption that nearly everyone will have a smartphone. Brands wishing to reward customers can do this by developing games that customers participate and be engage in.

These simple principals can also be applied when designing apps which therefore encourage interactions between visitors and your brand. A couple of examples of good apps include Goose Chase Adventures, or Mapdash which encourage people to take photos at locations. Attendees can follow the results at the event on streams or leaderboards.

A shooting range sparked a good-natured element of competition among delegates on this stand for Lifescan. Quite often competitive in nature, gamification always proves popular with medical industry audiences.








Social media

Delegates can be encouraged to post fun and creative posts onto social media. These can then be vetted and projected onto a screen and the best can be selected to win prizes. Trivia stations can also utilize rental iPads or touchscreens. Individual attendees or teams on can answer questions on topics related to the event and your industry. Randomizing questions will keep people coming back, and you can change up prizes as the event goes on.


Students are found to be more willing to practice difficult skills if presented in a game-like format. Incentivising learning with prizes or tokens can be a great way of stirring this up. Yet introducing the element of gamification must be done without sacrificing educational elements.

The key to the gamification of education is not to privilege one over the other rather to find a balance between engagement and fun.

Interactive games pods on this stand for BP helped to engage visitors with the brand’s offshore oil services.

Aaron Price comments on this in The Meeting Magazines saying, “In a way, gamifying the event experience can be seen as the proverbial dangling carrot, incentivising engagement and maximising audience participation of the attendees.”

In conclusion, like any worthwhile marketing strategy gamification results should be measurable. Data collected should be interpreted and offer value to sales and marketing most of all. A gamified application must offer a worthwhile experience; otherwise people are not going to use it. But at the same time, its success has to be measured.