Case Study: How Gamification boosted Tourism Training
This is a guest article by Bruce Martin, Operations Director at OTT
Product eLearning has experienced huge growth in the travel and tourism sector in the last few years. In the UK alone there are over 300 free training courses available to travel agents. Organisations such as SeaWorld, Avis and British Airways have used eLearning as an advertising medium with transparent results and measurable ROI. However, eLearning didn’t just come out of the blue; we created it as a way to solve some problems specific to our problems in training within the travel industry.
OTT, a leading eLearning provider, had experienced high growth and was offering over 100 courses to agents. As an Operations Director, I had noticed that although more courses were being completed in total, the average number of passes per course was falling. If this trend was to continue, then clients would be less happy to renew with us. I had also noticed an issue with our eMarketing. With each new client we were committed to provide eMarketing promotion. We found orselves sending out 1 – 2 email blasts a day. Unsurprisngly, unsubscribe rates were on the rise and click-throughs were on the way down.
Gamification to the rescue?
I’d been getting into Foursquare (pubs & parks – that’s where you’ll find me according to Foursquare) and one day I had realised we could apply Gamification to our eLearning business to try to solve our issues.
- Could Gamification reduce the reliance on eMarketing? (90% of all course engagement was generated by proactive eMarketing)
- Could Gamification boost course pass numbers? (More course passes = happier clients = more client renewals)
- Could we get members to do more without asking them to?
We launched a new version of our website in November 2012 which included Gamification for the first time. We invested in some great design work for the badges. Members were encouraged to earn virtual badges by completing eLearning courses. Examples include the ‘OTT Newbie’ badge (for passing 1 course), ‘OTT Guru’ (for passing 100 courses) & ‘Pilot” badge for completing 5 airline training courses. We even had a ‘housekeeping’ badge for those members who bothered to fill out ALL registration fields, not just that mandatory ones.
After five months we reviewed the results and found that the new website with Gamification was producing an average increase of 65% in user engagement with some clients benefiting from an uplift of over 300%. The 65% figure was reached by comparing how many course passes each client received before and after the re-launch (excluding months where proactive eMarketing had taken place) i.e. how many courses did people complete without being prompted to via eMarketing.
Detailed results available via my blog here.
Here’s an example:
One client had a live course on the website but did not actively promote it over 12 months. Gamification had a big effect on their results. Pre-gamification their course was getting around 10 course passes a month. Post-gamification launch they were averaging around 50 passes a month.
Things to note about our findings
The 65% figure was taken by looking at the results of 22 courses, pre & post Gamification. There were several ‘outlier’ results which we chose to not include.
It also proved difficult to make sure we only counted month of ‘dormant’ activity. For example, we might not have delivered any marketing for the client’s course but the client might of without us knowing. We were also comparing the average of 10 months pre-Gamification to 5 months of post-gamification. However, all things considered, there was certainly a marked increase in the number of courses passed and more importantly, clients were happier with the results and users loved it.
I was really pleased with the results as it showed that good design and innovation can deliver a significant uplift in online activity. The results of the project received significant press coverage and I was invited to curate and moderate a special seminar on Gamification at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai in May 2013 which included a presentation from the Exclusive Partners of Badgeville. A huge omission from the project was the ability of users to post their achievements into social media (yes I know, a tragic omission!).
This, as they say, is Phase 2.
Flickr Image by katerha