Improving City Engagement With Gamification

Improving City Engagement With Gamification

Your city has started making progress to become smarter, but now what? Making the strides to move your city forward is already a large task but once that is done, the next challenge begins — finding ways to engage businesses and your citizens.

Gamification is a relatively new term. Per the always trusted Merriam-Webster dictionary, gamification is “the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.”

Now, everyone from companies running trade-shows to large cities are looking towards gamification to present information in a new way.

Incorporating gamification in your city may seem to be a daunting task, but it can be an easy addition for you and can have benefits for your city’s businesses and citizens as well.

The crawl is for all
One of the benefits of cities growing and changing is that there is always a new business opening. In cities like Cleveland where dining out is a favorite pastime, this means that the main things people look for are the newest dining and drink options. There are always a multitude of choices which can make it somewhat challenging to find a place.

To benefit both local businesses and introduce some gamification, a Cleveland startup company inTouch setup a scavenger crawl throughout downtown Cleveland and the neighboring boroughs. Participants started in the newly renovated Public Square and using the inTouch application with Bluetooth beacons, users were sent clues on where the next stop on the crawl would take place. When the user was near the correct location, and Bluetooth beacon, they would receive a notification through the app letting them know that they found the correct place. That notification also included the next clue.

To encourage users to stay at each location for a while, each participating establishment had drink specials good only for the crawl participants. Each drink that was purchased also resulted in a raffle ticket that could be entered for various items as part of the afterparty at the final location.

Because of the scavenger crawl, users could try different places around the area while the businesses received additional revenue and recognition. And as a bonus, the city of Cleveland had an increase in foot traffic and attention.

Game time
Setting up a large scale city-wide event may have you wondering if is feasible for you to do. It can be! Working with other local companies and media outlets can help you spread the word and get organized.

inTouch partnered with another local startup, Wheedle, to handle portions of the event that inTouch couldn’t, the drink specials and ticketing. Working with many of the local businesses already, Wheedle was able to get drink sponsors for the event. Having a ticketing feature newly added to their application, participates purchased tickets through the app, streamlining the registration process the day of.

And using technology like Bluetooth beacons can be a big help, too.

Not only can they be used for just sending out messages, beacons can help share incentives for frequent customers. Businesses in a certain part of your city can compete to get foot traffic and award users with discounts. Or encourage partnerships by having businesses work together like the scavenger crawl.

The benefits of gamification for your city can be huge if done correctly. Working with local companies you’ll know that your city will already have a group of people willing to participate as those companies will want to improve your city and city’s engagement just as much as you do. And in the end, that’s really winning the game.

About the Author

Erin Walker is an Account Director at inTouch. inTouch is a software development company that connects the physical world with the digital world. Utilizing Bluetooth beacon technology, inTouch develops smartphone apps that can be used for businesses ranging from cities to the local museum. To learn more visit

About the Author

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