When done right, an Event Game feature massively increases engagement and fun for attendees and drastically increases ROI. The game can be a versatile tool to drive session attendance, foster networking, and highlight sponsors. This article offers tips for creating a game that's easy to create and maintain, enjoyable for attendees and sponsors alike, and that helps you achieve your goals!
Keep your goals in mind...
Do you want to increase attendee interactions with sponsors and exhibitors? Encourage exploration of the venue and Event App? Maximize social networking impact? Teach attendees something? All of these? That's fine! Simply be sure to focus most on what you want attendees to remember and what drives the results you most need.
When deciding what challenges to create, keep your goals in mind and weight points accordingly. You can create challenges that drive sponsor engagement, survey participation, session attendance, and other ROI-positive behaviors, such as:
Booth visits to obtain secret codes. This is a great way to reward attendees for engaging with your sponsors/exhibitors.
Scavenger hunts to find hidden items. This is a great way to encourage attendees to explore your venue.
Social challenges to drive connections. Use badge ID numbers, personal trivia answers, or names as the challenge code. This is a great way to reward attendees for meeting with particular people.
Session codes to keep people's attention through live streams or keep people coming to Video Room hangouts.
...but don't forget your attendees' goals
When designing your game challenges, look for ways to align value between attendees, sponsor/exhibitors, speakers, and your event or community planning team. Always make sure you reward attendees for participating in the event!
If sponsors/exhibitors want to meet with certain types of attendees, book meetings, or encourage social activity, then create challenges that support this. If attendees want to meet with your team or speakers, consider rewarding them for meeting up with important people.
⭐️ Keep in mind, it's important not to create "pointless" challenges as filler. Make every challenge code makes sense for the event, even if they're only for silly fun. The value should align for everyone who's a part of your event or community.
Define the framework
Some events incorporate the game into their entire event across multiple days and fully integrate the game with the event experience. For other events, the game is a smaller component and may only take place during one day or even a few hours of the event. The game may take the form of a live or digital scavenger hunt, an exhibitor show-only game, or something structured around the event Agenda.
Choose what's right for your event, attendees, and support team, and make sure there are enough challenges to keep the people who are in love with the game busy. Organizers have made games with well over a hundred challenges, and attendees were still maxing out points and clamoring for more!
Challenges that are worth more points should be more intensive, or the people involved should be receiving more value from them. Make sure that no one runs out of challenges. While we don't want you to go overboard, we recommend leaning towards more challenges than less.
Start publicizing the game (and prize, if applicable) in marketing emails and announcements to get people excited to join in.
Allow participation even before the event officially starts! Start by rewarding attendees for what they already do, such as checking in, downloading the app, or reading your marketing email. Once they start playing, they'll be hooked. Use those early challenges to get attendees familiar with the Event App, the venue, and your Agenda. When it's showtime, your attendees will be set up for a smooth experience.
Consider adding challenges in phases at a certain time each day of the event or after certain activities. This creates a cycle of excitement and anticipation that keeps the competitive spirit burning.
Clear and concise instructions
Make sure attendees are confident in completing the challenges and empowered with all necessary information — keep it simple! This is important for the game instructions and individual challenge instructions.
For the game instructions, be sure to clearly mention prizes, limits, and goals. You can even create a challenge to prompt users to read the game instructions — simply put the challenge code in the instructions. 🧠 For more info on making game instructions, check this out.
For the challenge instructions, be sure to tell attendees what the challenge is and where or how to get the code. This will decrease confusion. It's ok to have mystery codes, too. These "easter eggs" can add a level of intrigue and excitement. You won't believe how people suddenly turn into sleuths when there are mystery points to be had!
Put your leaderboard on the big screen with our Live Display product. Live Display is a great way to drive attendee awareness, competition, and engagement. For more info on Live Display, check this out.
Structure challenges with your team in mind
Make sure that any challenges you create are sustainable. Try to keep most challenges as maintenance-free as possible for sponsors, speakers, and staff. For example:
Post a flyer with the challenge code at a location you want attendees to visit, such as a Sponsor booth.
Present a code on the closing slide of a session presentation.
Print sponsor or speaker codes out on a piece of paper so they don't have to remember them.
Have check-in staff provide a code when attendees check in.
Include a one-word trivia question in the keynote presentation.
Provide a challenge code on the closing page of an event/session survey.
⭐️ Keep in mind, if you do have codes that will be given out by your team, exhibitors, etc., be sure to brief them on the challenges, codes, and game so they know what to do and when to give the codes to attendees.
Incentivize the right way
Rewards don't have to be expensive — a small prize can go a long way. We recommend that you consider what kind of prize your specific audience would want. The game often takes off organically, because folks love to compete — and it gives introverts an excuse to interact. While we've seen folks give away $10,000 (no, really), we've also seen folks simply use recognition as a motivator.
⚠️ Caution! If you're using a Branded App, make sure to specify in your Game rules that Apple is not a sponsor of or involved with the game or any related prizes or rewards.
Here are some ideas to consider for incentives:
Consider a raffle or "swag bucks" in exchange for game points, to encourage participation at every level. This will keep folks motivated and make sure that everyone has a chance to win something.
Ask your top sponsors if they want to give away a prize. You can even name the game "Game sponsored by '"Sponsor"', and use this in your promotional materials for even more sponsor visibility.
If your event is internal, offer a paid vacation day for your prize.
Consider offering more than one prize, to encourage attendees to reach for the top five or top ten spots.
Remember that human nature can sometimes get in the way. If the prize is very juicy, healthy competition can devolve into bickering if the game and challenge rules aren't spelled out in very clear terms.
No matter how much work went into making the game, you'll want to make sure everyone attending knows about it. If the game is a big part of your event or community, mention it on your event website, social media, and event emails. Mention it during the keynote and in promotional materials around the event. Post reminders on the wall and in announcements. Get it out there!
Pro tips! 😎
Make your game your own! While there are several ideas in this article, don't forget that your event changes from year to year, and so should your game. No two events are alike, so don't be afraid to get creative and crowdsource ideas from your team.
Once you have a "rough draft" of your game, share it with your team. Share it with your top exhibitor/sponsor, or even your speakers. See what they think. They'll probably have some awesome ideas. 👍
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