By Amy Drew Thompson
Games People Play
You may have scoffed at the Pokémon Go craze. You may have participated in it. Either way, you know it made a stir and there’s a reason: it engages people and makes them feel good – that’s how gamification works, and it can be employed to improve attendee experience while encouraging a desired behavior.
Using an entirely voluntary program (people will want to engage if your idea is good enough; they’ll crave it!) rewards are given for goal achievement. In the case of Pokémon Go, users “caught” each creature and rose in status as they did so.
You don’t have to create a world that immersive for your event, of course, but incorporating elements of gamification into an event-specific app can do much the same thing. Theming the app on something popular (that could be anything from “Dancing with the Stars” to the Oscars or even elements of your association), then adding a points- or badge-based system where attendees are rewarded for things such as checking into sessions or sharing photos engages and delights.
What are your meeting’s goals?
For networking, consider rewarding players for doing things like collecting cards or scanning nametags! Do you want more social media generation? Track participation across the platform(s) of your choice and base your prizes on that. The only factor that’s mandatory is fun.
Actual rewards, of course, should be added, as well – in the form of prizes, but they don’t even need to be tangible – free dues or educational Webinars will be just as appealing. What a way to engage your membership!
The Best Software is Flexible
Is your software doing all it can for your organization? In order to truly aid staff in smooth-running operations, things like financial reporting and tracking and funding and membership management should be optimal features. Above all, however, is adaptability. As new ideas on how to do things spring forth – whether garnered from trend research or the ingenuity of your own staff, your organization will benefit most from a system that can grow as your organization does without a massive infusion of money. When the time comes to invest – or if you’re researching now – make sure the tech you ultimately choose is configurable, allowing the system to expand as needed. And allowing you to do it yourselves, with little-to-no help from outside vendors.
New & Noteworthy
It’s a Riverwalk redux. The oldest hotel on the San Antonio Riverwalk sold for more than $20 million last year and is now slated for a $7 million makeover. The El Tropicano opened more than half a century ago, kickstarting Riverwalk stays, and Phoenix Hospitality Group will be retooling its look and feel. In other news, the Hard Rock Café – also on the Riverwalk – will also be getting upgrades, about $7 million worth, which will include a three-story renovation featuring new private rooms, AV equipment, and other fixtures that will doubtless appeal to group bookings. Space for an additional 100 people is part of the renovation.
In other news, Marriott has plans for renovation and refurbishment of the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in downtown San Antonio. The upgrades will include a hotel-wide redesign of the guest rooms and common areas. Expansions of the retail spaces, restaurant, lounge and lobby are also in the plans. The addition of elite-member features will figure, along with the addition of more than 11,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, much
of which will be marketed directly
Photo credit: iStock.com/andreaobzerova