Gone Hunting: Add Scavenger Hunts to Your Meetings

Associations are hosting scavenger hunts for attendees during their conferences. Not only are they fun for attendees, but they can also help you market future conferences and secure extra revenue.

Come Sunday many kids will be gearing up to go hunting—for Easter eggs, that is.

But scavenger hunts—whether eggs are involved or not—don’t have to be limited only to kids. Adults get as much of a thrill from the competition, which is why associations have been holding various types of scavenger hunts at their conferences for years. Here are a just a few recent examples I came across:

During the American Meteorological Society’s 16th Annual Student Conference in January, the group held a social media scavenger hunt [PDF]. Students had to complete 10 tasks on Twitter using the hashtag #AMS2017. Among the to-dos: Find someone who shares your interest in a subfield of atmospheric science and take a picture together, and take a selfie with three or more new friends from the conference.

The Sports Turf Managers Association used the Scavify app to host its first-ever scavenger hunt at its 2017 conference. Participants earned points by completing challenges that involved answering questions, taking photos, or scanning QR codes. The winner received two airline tickets valued at $500 each.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Qualitative Research Consultants Association’s 2017 Annual Conference in Los Angeles. As part of its wellness initiative, QRCA held a scavenger hunt in downtown LA that featured famous filming locations.

Then there’s the National Automobile Dealers Association, which, in my opinion, gets the award for best prize. At its January convention, attendees who scanned QR codes at all of the hunt’s 20 locations had the chance to win two tickets to the Super Bowl.

While offering scavenger hunts for attendees definitely injects an element of fun into conferences, it also has a number of other benefits.

The first is that they allow people to connect as they are competing. If you’re hosting a team-based hunt, randomly assigning people to a team could also serve as an impromptu networking opportunity. Plus, the small-group activity could make it more comfortable for your introverts in attendance.

Second, a scavenger hunt can help draw traffic to different parts of your meeting. For example, if you noticed that one area of your tradeshow floor isn’t particularly well visited, you could set up a task or challenge in that location. Same goes for something new that’s making its debut onsite.

In addition, a hunt could be a new stream of revenue for your meeting. You could have sponsors or exhibitors pay to be one of the stops on the hunt.

Finally, a scavenger hunt can serve as a content marketing tool for your association. By having attendees complete tasks and share them via social tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, those not in attendance can see the fun they are missing out on and could help you promote next year’s event. This social sharing is also a good marketing tool for the meeting’s host city and its various venues.

Has have your association and meeting attendees benefited from scavenger hunts or other types of gamification during your conferences? Let us know in the comments.


Samantha Whitehorne

By Samantha Whitehorne

Samantha Whitehorne is editor-in-chief of Associations Now. MORE

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