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Gamification in Travel

Jun 11, 2015

Gamification is one of those buzz words that is being heard more and more in the world of hospitality and travel. But what does it really mean, and how can it be applied to travel policy?

All gamification really means is to ‘make a game out of a non-game setting’ in order to keep the attention of your consumers and encourage a certain type of positive behaviour. This could well be the future of travel management, as it is an interactive and engaging way to ensure your staff are committed to their travel programme and drive compliance.

Whilst this modern method of applying game-techniques is still in its infancy, it’s important to note at this point that gamification in the travel and hospitality industry is not a particularly new concept – it’s been used as a marketing tool for quite some time. Loyalty programmes are a form of gamification in itself. Every time we purchase a coffee, we hand over the club card and wait for the day that we can claim our free hot drink. We’ve all been using our frequent flyer points for years – encouraging us to stay with a certain supplier in order to achieve the rewards. Hoteliers advertising preferred guest promotions are applying game play mechanics and incentives too, again, encouraging a desired consumer behaviour.

But incentivised loyalty in the travel industry (or the retail industry for that matter) has not changed much in the last decade, and customer engagement has started to change form – it now leans more towards what is in it for the individual, rather than the good of the company. This behaviour has had a huge effect on travel management over the years, with Concur stating that in the US, between 40-50% of travel is now booked outside of corporate travel systems. In today’s age of technology and information where everyone can be connected to a much wider range of external parties, remaining loyal to company policy (or even knowing what the company travel policy is) is actually becoming harder to achieve for the individual. What bookers want is the quickest, rewarding – and not often the most cost effective – methods of arranging their travel. So, the travel industry has evolved to respond to this new consumer market and operating behaviours, and modern travel gamification is now beneficial for both the company, and most importantly, for the booker.

By applying a little bit of healthy competition and rewards, employees can now source their travel suppliers using a host of online booking tools – often outside the realms of traditional methods – to find the most cost-effective means within policy, and in return, they are compensated with a wide range of recognition – perhaps a bottle of champagne, a flight class upgrade, a feature in the company newsletter. What’s great about gamification is that it can be entirely personalised to suit the company brand and ethics.

Essentially, gamification is just a modern method of promoting good travelling behaviour amongst your staff, without having to overload them with a 200 page policy document located somewhere in the dark depths of the company intranet. It’s a remarkably clever way to ensure that your employees drive cost-savings and stick inside the realms of your travel policy in a fun, appealing manner that is personalised to them.

If you’d like to know a little more about gamification and how it might benefit your organisation, then just speak to your account manager or contact us at and we’ll be happy to discuss it further with you.