Gamification Expert &

Behavioral Designer

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Hotel Loyalty Gamification Case Study: LuckyDiem

Hotel Gamification

Gamification of the Retail and Hospitality Industry

When I’m not under confidentiality agreements, I love promoting my clients and the work they are doing. Some of my clients work in marketing and hustle to implement good gamification design to significantly improve key marketing metrics for a variety of businesses.

One example is the New York Based company LuckyDiem. LuckyDiem takes brand promotion marketing to a whole new level by utilizing Unpredictability and Curiosity in concert with other Core Drives.

Using a series of game devices such as slots, trivia questions, and wheels of fortune, LuckyDiem’s mobile platform allows any brand to engage their customers and turn their target market into loyal evangelists.

Sound like a marketing cliché? The numbers below tell a compelling story.

Gamified Loyalty Program for Hotel Chain La Quinta

On one project, LuckyDiem worked with La Quinta Inns and Suites – an international hotel chain consisting of over 700 properties and franchises – to supercharge their loyalty program through a new gamified campaign called Play & Stay.

In a publicly available case study, La Quinta sent out emails to 83,600 potential customers on their email list promoting the Play & Stay game. Out of the 83,600 email recipients, 2000 people signed up to the LuckyDiem promotions program, which is a 2.4% email conversion rate. These are fairly average email marketing numbers. No additional promotional effort was conducted after that.

Strong ROI on the Gamification Campaign

The amazing thing is, within a three-month period, those 2000 users eventually led to 10,700 new referral signups, representing a K Factor of 5.3K  (or a viral coefficient of 530%). 34% of their users returned every single day and spent an average of 3.75 minutes on the game and contributed to 23,000 unique user invites, 10,000 new Facebook Likes and 4,500 new Twitter Followers for La Quinta.

More importantly, these users turned into customers.

14.1% of the users ended up becoming paying customers, with LuckyDiem’s platform generating 1,784 new bookings for La Quinta, leading to a 712% sales lift against the control group. That’s a tremendous win for any established chain or company that is already extremely successful in their own right.

What was in the Hotel Loyalty Gamification Campaign?

LuckyDiem first launched with a general slot machine game that most people are very familiar with. Users click the big Spin Button (remember from Core Drive 2 principles that the button is called a Desert Oasis – a large Win-State action that visually attracts the user to it) and get a chance of winning points or collectables.

To play, users needed virtual tokens, which is a good utilization of Core Drive 6: Scarcity & Impatience. Tokens are recharged regularly, with an additional wheel of fortune game that can generate more tokens once the initial ones run out.

 Hotel Gamification

On top of that, there are “instant grand prizes” as big as “10 Free Nights” that could be won with every spin. The small chance of winning the grand prize did not deter people very much, as the hope of winning a large prize was enough to make the experience fun and addicting.

Because the prize was so enticing, people were more motivated to continue playing, while being content that their general La Quinta points were accumulating as they played (a combination of Core Drive 2 and Core Drive 4). These techniques are called Lotteries and Rolling Rewards.

Hotel Gamification


They utilized other game techniques such as Boosters to double scores whenever the player answered trivia questions regarding the hotel brand or shared the game with their friends. This not only added a shade of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback and Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness,  but also built positive associations between the brand and their users.

 Hotel Gamification Prizes

Finally, the reward was dangled in front of the players, including an image of the reward as well as a large action button to redeem it.

Retail Gamification 

If you have been studying my work, you will know that the much of the above is merely the “shell” of a game, and though a fantastic success story, if you simply copied their game devices and mechanics for your own project, you may not experience the same success. The deep work is embedded within months of planning, hard-gathered research, and many hours of interface design and balance tweaking.

But in the end, thoughtful design and implementation created a wonderful and engaging user experience that drove strong results for La Quinta.

Ariana Arghandewal, a writer for, wrote about La Quinta’s  Play & Stay game in an article:

“Warning: This game is extremely addictive. […] You can win La [Quinta] points, additional spins, tokens that essentially increase your spins, free nights, and more. I initially dismissed this, as I don’t anticipate staying at a La Quinta anytime soon, but this game is highly addictive and I’ve already earned 3,000 points by playing it for the past two days.”

 As you can see, even when a person thinks that she doesn’t necessarily care about the prizes, the Human-Focused Design motivated her to play for a lot longer than she intended. As we see from the numbers above, many users like her ended up becoming paying customers.

Most of my clients like to keep the work I do for them confidential, so when I get an opportunity to obtain a public quote with fantastic metrics that’s aren’t inflated, I quickly jump on that opportunity (remember we talked about Brag Buttons?):

“Yu-kai’s Insights were instrumental in helping LuckyDiem supercharge our client La Quinta’s bookings per user by 206% and incremental revenue per user by $157 (132% Lift) against the control group. Being able to achieve a viral coefficient of 530%, I would recommend any business to work with Yu-kai and learn his Octalysis Framework.” 

-Andrew Landis, Founder & CEO of LuckyDiem

Now it’s your turn

Do you have any case studies with huge ROIs using the Octalysis Framework, or have simply tried to use gamification in the retail/hospitality space? I would love to learn about it. Share your experience in the comments section below!

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4 responses to “Hotel Loyalty Gamification Case Study: LuckyDiem”

  1. Inspiring story. I will be paying more attention to the websites I visit now to see what they do and how effective they are.

  2. Wow! Infelizmente no Brasil um dos grandes problemas é que as empresas ou profissionais que trabalham com gamification não fazem a mensuração dos resultados obtidos. =[

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