Everything You Need to Know About Event Gamification

+8 Event Gamification Ideas to Stand Out

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A person sits in front of a laptop that displays a game of Bingo.

Event planning is truly a labor of love. It’s a work-intensive and stressful project, but you do it all with the potential payback in mind: the revenue, in many cases, but also the satisfaction that comes from seeing people genuinely engaged and benefitting from your event. That’s why it’s so devastating when you watch your event unfold and see minimal participation or mediocre feedback. Here’s when event gamification comes in.

The solution to those underwhelming events could be simpler than you think, and gamification may be the key. To help you make your next event a resounding success, we’re giving you the event gamification guide that will get you started.

What is event gamification?

Event gamification is a simple concept: it involves incorporating game-like principles and elements into something that isn’t normally a game. That could mean setting up ways for participants to earn points, solve puzzles, find hidden items, and more. It can involve giving away prizes to winners, but it doesn’t have to. As a whole, event gamification is a way to engage your participants and lead them to be more involved and interactive within the event.

How event gamification works

Event gamification is a broad term that can be put into practice in many ways. Overall, though, gamification is all about using game-like elements that are woven throughout your event. This is different from putting a game into the event’s schedule, like a team-building game session. True event gamification involves using game practices that are infused into the fabric of the event from start to finish, like a system that awards participants points when they visit vendor booths, attend sessions, answer polls, or otherwise get involved. As simple as these elements are, they pique your participants’ interests and motivate them with a hint of competition and challenge.

The benefits of event gamification

Whether your event is an educational conference, a training seminar, an industry convention, or a large-scale internal meeting, there’s plenty to gain by incorporating gamification into the mix.

Appealing to the competitive drive

Competitiveness is a natural drive for people. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a competition against others – it can be a competition against a challenge. Either way, when people are faced with a challenge, they have a natural drive to win. This is why presenting participants with a quest as part of your gamification can motivate them to get more involved even if you don’t offer prizes.

Driving engagement

Engagement is a major goal for just about any type of event. Even if your end goal is something else, such as sales revenue or data collection, you’re more likely to achieve it if attendees are more engaged. Infusing your event with interactive elements through gamification transforms attendees from passive listeners to more actively engaged participants, making your sessions and discussions more productive for everyone.

Improving event outcomes

Your attendees are the cornerstone of the event, and at the end of the day, for you to achieve your own goals, the attendees need to get something out of the event. Luckily, gamification can help.

For events focusing on education, participants learn more and retain it better when they are more engaged and interact in the sessions. Gamified events also bring higher participant satisfaction because participants enjoy the event more and appreciate that they’ve learned more than they otherwise would.

Examples of event gamification

Event gamification is often easier to understand when you see it in action. Consider these examples that have been used with strong results at small and large events.

Event Bingo

In event Bingo, you’ll create a Bingo card that includes a different task or a way to participate in the event for each square on the grid. Each participant receives a Bingo card at the beginning of the event, and they earn a square on their card every time they complete a task in that square. You can offer prizes or drawing entries for every Bingo that participants complete.

Event gamification: Bingo game on the Canapii platform
Bingo game on the Canapii platform

Running trivia

Try incorporating trivia into your event. At the beginning of each session, the session leader gives attendees a trivia question, and attendees can each submit their answers. You keep a running tally of each attendee’s total score throughout the event and offer prizes for those with the highest scores.

Task completion badges

A common practice in video games is to award players with specific badges or trophies for completing certain tasks, like a badge for completing a quest in a certain amount of time or a badge for finding a set number of hidden objects. For event gamification, you can incorporate a similar concept by awarding attendees with badges for hitting certain milestones like attending a particular number of sessions, visiting a set number of booths, posting on a social wall, answering a specific number of in-session polls or questions, and so on.

In this case, user-generated content (UGC) can serve as an event gamification tool. Reward attendees for sharing your event hashtag on social media, taking selfies in a photo booth, or submitting comments and questions directly to your event social wall. Encourage content creation and offer incentives in the form of badges to keep your audience entertained and make your event truly memorable.  

Use attendee-generated content as a gamification tool!

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8 Event gamification ideas

If event gamification is a new concept, try one of these ideas. Once you experience the magic of game-fying your event, you’ll be able to engage the crowds better and even create your own games!

  1. Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items or clues for attendees to find within the event venue. Offer prizes for those who complete the hunt successfully.
  2. Trivia Quiz: Host a quiz about the event’s theme or content. Attendees can participate individually or in teams, and winners can receive rewards.
  3. Photo Contest: Encourage attendees to take photos during the event and share them on social media with a unique event hashtag — award prizes for the best, most creative, or most shared photos.
  4. Leaderboards: Implement a points system for various event activities. Attendees can earn points for attending sessions, networking, or participating in challenges. 
  5. QR Code Challenges: Create QR codes hidden throughout the venue, each leading to a different challenge. Attendees can scan them to earn points or unlock rewards.
  6. Interactive Polls: Use polls to ask attendees about event content. Display real-time results and offer rewards to those with the most accurate responses.
  7. Augmented Reality (AR) Games: Develop AR games that attendees can play using smartphones or AR glasses. These games can be related to the event theme. 
  8. Escape Room Experience: Set up an escape room within the event venue where attendees must complete challenges to “escape” within a specific time frame.

Unlock more event gamification ideas: Download the Event Professional’s Toolkit

Get more and better event gamification ideas by downloading the toolkit for event profs like you. Elevate your events with ease by accessing a goldmine of resources. This toolkit includes versatile templates, checklists, innovative ideas, best-practice examples, and an AI-powered suite for cutting-edge event planning and marketing.

A promotional flyer titled "The Event Professional's Toolkit" overlays an image of a man resting with a sleep mask. The flyer includes sections like "Time-Saving ChatGPT Prompts for Event Planners" and "User-Generated Content Statistics", suggesting tools for event marketing and management. Text related to event KPIs, social media engagement, and email marketing strategies is also visible, providing a comprehensive overview of event planning resources.

Unlock more gamification ideas!

Apart from gamification ideas, you’ll also get:

  • 🔑 AI Toolkit: ChatGPT prompts and AI tools for event profs.
  • ✅ Checklists: Comprehensive guides for planning and execution.
  • 📊 Event KPIs & Statistics: Measure success accurately.
  • 💻 Event Tech Insights: Discover cutting-edge tools.
  • 📝 Ready-to-Use Templates: Simplify your planning.
  • 📈 Real-World Success Stories: Learn from top events.

Getting started with event gamification

Engaging your participants with event gamification may be easier than you think if you use the right tools. Canapii is here to help. Learn more about Canapii and how we can make your next event a success.

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