Get Your Game On: Gamification at Your Trade Show

July 5, 2013

Lisa Apolinski

Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company,, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.

I recently attended the HITEC conference in Minneapolis, and I got to participate in the SCANVenger Hunt platform they had for attendees and exhibitors.  This was my first onsite gaming experience and something I really enjoyed and wanted to share with TSNN’s readers. 

In speaking with Frank Wolfe, CAE, CEO of HFTP, this was HITEC’s first use of the game application at the show, and it was introduced after having seen it at another show, and Frank was impressed by the interactions brought on by the platform.  That got me thinking about the game platform and how it could affect the attendee experience. 

This particular gamification provided QR codes at different points on the sho floor, at the educational sessions and in the Digital Den. 

After scanning the QR code on the SCANVenger Hunt sign, the attendee was taken to a website to answer the question.  Attendees could also track their own score on the website against the leaderboard, and there were large screens that also tracked the scores in real time.

The SCANVenger Hunt platform impacted the show interactions in several different ways.  First, it gave the attendees a structured way to gain knowledge about the show, the exhibitors and the show city.  The questions were geared to teach attendees key points about each of these.  Now, some of the exhibitors were strategic in what they asked for their questions to help engage and educate, and that was great to see.

The second cool thing about the SCANVenger Hunt game was it provided a ‘guide’ and ice breaking questions for the attendee and exhibitor to start a conversation.  Since there was not a sequence of points, attendees could still wander the showfloor and when they saw the branded sign at an exhibitor booth, be able to scan the QR code and talk to the exhibitor about their products and services.

They could also see a list of points on the website to see what questions had been answered and which ones were yet to be answered.

And the final observation about the platform, as another attendee shared with me as we scanned the board of QR codes, was it provided a break and some fun while at the show. 

Plus, many of the attendees were quite competitive, seeing where they stood on the leaderboard.  Even I pushed myself to get into the ‘overachiever’ status, just to see myself listed in that category. 

This competitive spirit helped carry the game through the show days and there were prizes at the end of the last day for each category, further continuing that engagement.

So, if you are looking for something to help encourage attendee/exhibitor engagement, provide some knowledge while instilling some fun, and to help attendees stay engaged throughout the show, a gamification platform like SCANVenger Hunt is something to research. 

And, if you are an attendee who has the chance to do a game platform at the show, be sure to try it out.

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