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A lot of people may feel like most video gamers are 18-year-old boys sitting in their parent’s basement-but in the recent years the face of gaming has changed drastically. The average gamer is not an 18-year-old boy-instead it’s shockingly someone more like his mother. According to Biz Report, females account for more than half of the gaming demographic and the average age is 35-over a quarter is age 50 or over. Out of all these women, 38% say they play multiple times a day, which was found in a recent study by Mashable.

Video games are no longer about the console and the demographic anymore, social and web games are rapidly expanding, harnessing in revenue that few imagined possible. Most social games, for mobile apps or Facebook games, can usually be free to start or may have a small $0.99 cost, but the real money is made within the game.

Gaming travel industry

Take Zynga, a social gaming development company, for example. Zynga was recently valued at upwards of $9 billion. They are the creators of the popular Facebook game, Farmville. Farmville is a game in which the player first creates a customizable avatar and begins with a barren farm and a set starting amount of “farm coins”, the primary currency in the game. As the player acquires more items, they are able to purchase more from the Farmville market like crops and animals. Purchases can be made using farm coins or farm cash-a player receives farm cash by leveling up or completing offers, or purchasing it for real money.

A recent study found, even though fewer than 6% of U.S. social gamers spend money on virtual items, 41% of users have made repeat purchases and those 6% will produce revenues of $653 million in the U.S. alone this year.

You may be thinking, this is great, but how does this help my hotel or destination? One of the first online destinations games was built and used by The Tourist Office of Spain. It was an interactive quiz game that took the gamer around Spain and engaged them in quiz questions about the history and current attractions there. Before the game, visitors were spending less than one minute on Spain’s website. After using the game visitors, on average, started spending 5 minutes on the site. This was also an opportunity for Spain to generate outside revenue from sponsors willing to put their logo in the game. By the time the games launches, a website could not only cover the costs of using the game but also generate revenue in sponsorships.

So, besides the statistics, the revenue incentives, and the site visitation, why do game? For starters, it allows interactions and engagement with your brand. It also creates more fun with your potential customers and guests. It ties perfectly in to viral marketing and social media and can either be used on your Facebook page or easily promoted from it.

We’re in a world of growing engagement and while visitors can chat online about your destination or hotel it is smart to allow them the opportunity to interact with it as well. You can read more about Hotel SEO and travel SEO strategies if you want to improve your website organic rankings.