By Katharine Williams, Director of Marketing & Communications
A few years ago, gamification was the big buzzword in managed travel. There was hardly an industry conference to be found that didn’t feature several sessions on the topic. Recently, however, our team has noticed that what used to be considered the next big game changer in the managed travel space has gone a little… quiet. So where does gamification stand today, what should travel managers consider when exploring whether gamification is right for their program, and where is it headed in the future? Let’s explore:
We consider RocketTrip, Upside, and TripActions to be the three main competitors in the gamification space today. There are, of course, proprietary travel management company tools available as well; however, for the purposes of this article we focused on independent tools available on the market. While there are variations between all three, the basic premise is that travelers are given a “budget to beat” for each trip. If they come in under budget, they are rewarded, either monetarily (via cash or gift cards, for example) or with rewards that can be redeemed for use on future trips.
The concept sounds great, but in informal polls our partners and consultants have done during recent speaking engagements, adoption tends to be low – typically less than 10% of those in attendance. These gamification tools can benefit the travel manager, travelers, and larger organization, so why the hesitation?
What to Consider
Where is Gamification Going?
We see the gamification space continuing to grow, largely within the unmanaged or smaller travel program space – at least in the near future. As to why, we have seen that, in general, this space has been ripe for innovation. Smaller or unmanaged programs may have more flexibility, allowing them to quickly adopt the “latest and greatest” in travel technology. While gamification provides many benefits such as driving travel policy compliance, capturing invisible spend, and rewarding travelers/reducing traveler friction, it’s important to consider the items above before diving in.
That being said, gamification offers one way for travel programs to strategically partner with travelers to reduce spend – an increasingly crucial point of focus as, apart from cutting travel, demand management has the largest impact on overall travel costs and therefore provides the largest area of opportunity. Perhaps with the recent focus on reducing friction, paired with more companies moving travel under HR, the gamification space will be poised for a resurgence in the next several years. In any case, it will be an interesting area to watch develop, particularly as these companies mature and address the challenges outlined above.Back to all news