DET adds a Where’s Waldo-style game to its marketing mix

Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) delved into the world of gamification to engage and educate visitors.

By Jalaja Ramanunni

DET created a ‘Where is Waldo’-style game for participants to discover the various cultural and entertaining attractions across the emirate.

The game installation called Dubai Landmarks challenge, was showcased at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2023.

The challenge for participants was to find Dubai’s hidden attractions on the screen. After locating a landmark, participants were given information about it.

Aida Mohammad Al Busaidy, AVP, Consumer Advocacy, emphasises that game-based techniques offer engagement, excitement, motivation, and rewards, effectively substituting traditional learning methods.

To measure the success of its gamification strategy, DET used specific metrics such as registered participants, average attempts, total time spent on the page, percentage of locations found, and average response rate. During ATM, these metrics were tracked daily to assess engagement with the game.

“DET employs a 360-degree marketing approach that adapts to seasonal trends, activities, and target audiences,” Al Busaidy explains. “With the evolving trends in communications and marketing, we added a slight twist to how we market the city in an engaging manner. Embedding gamification initiatives in our plan helps attract a wider audience group, makes visitors more curious in exploring the game, as well as plays a key role in educating participants on the city itself, as well as the campaign.”

DET created the first gamification marketing campaign in 2022 for the CIS market, and the effort was quite successful. Al Busaidy says, “Nearly 150,000 people visited the landing page, and each player spent an average of 12 minutes playing”. Consumers found the idea to be straightforward and entertaining, and it included important information about each attraction. Participants had to visit the landing page, play the game, and locate as many places or attractions as they could on a customised Dubai map that had been illustrated especially for this project.

Reflecting on past experiences, Aida mentions that gamification was previously used in the CIS summer program. Looking ahead, DET plans to continually explore creative ways to keep Dubai top of mind and position it as the destination of choice. They will remain open to incorporating gamification in future campaigns and events to ensure a memorable and interactive experience for visitors.

ATM served as the perfect venue to showcase DET’s gamification concept. Al Busaidy explains, “ATM brings together industry leaders, experts, and decision-makers from around the world, making it an ideal platform to share ideas, network, and explore new opportunities.”