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La Quinta Hotel Gamification Case Study

1. La Quinta Hotels

Challenge: increase conversion rate

ROI: 712%


  • Viral Coefficient of 530%
  • 34% of the users returned every single day (DAU)
  • Users spent 3.75 minutes on average daily
  • 14,1% of the users ended up becoming paying customers
  • 712% sales lift against the control group

How we did it

To begin with, Lucky Diem started 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 this is called a Desert Oasis – a large Win-State action that visually attracts the user to it), and they get a chance of winning points, or collectables.

Lucky Diem Gamification Case Study
Bonus Wheel Gamification Case Study

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

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 does not bother people very much, as the mere hope of winning a large prize is enough to make an experience fun. In that sense, because the prize is so enticing, people are more motivated to continue playing, while being content that their general La Quinta points are accumulating (Core Drive 2: Development & Accomplishment as well as Core Drive 4: Ownership & Possession).

Prizes Gamification Case Study

There are other game techniques involved, such as utilizing Boosters to double your scores by answering trivia questions regarding the hotel brand, or sharing with your friends. This adds a shade of Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity & Feedback and Core Drive 5: Social Influence & Relatedness. In addition it builds positive associations between the brand and great experiences in users’ heads. As a result, the ease of recalling the name, hence positively, becomes greater.

Finally, the reward is dangled in front of users – an image of the reward, as well as a large action button to redeem.

Gamification Case Study

The deep work is embedded within months of scarcity design, large spreadsheets that understand the economy, the right interface and triggers at the right time, and so much more.

Ariana Arghandewal, a writer on, writes 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.”

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

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Trading Pursuits Gamification Case Study

2. Trading Pursuits

Challenge: How to make forex trading fun and save

ROI: 60% conversion rate

The problem

Learn how to trade FOREX (currencies) is notoriously boring and often very expensive. Therefore, most first time traders open a trading account without sufficient knowledge about how to trade successfully. They often start to trade with insufficient knowledge of risk management and trading strategies. The result is that up to 90% of traders lose all their invested money in a short amount of time. FOREX brokers do not like this as they make a margin on every trade that is done: once novice traders blow up their account they seldom come back.

Trading Pursuits approached The Octalysis Group to help them address this dilemma. We designed a fully immersive and integrated learning journey, Trade Samurai, where users learn how to trade FOREX in an engaging and low risk way. 

How we solved it

Trading Samurai Girl Gamification Case Study
Trade Samurai Gamification Case Study
Trading Samurai Guy Gamification Case Study

The Octalysis Group designed a gamified learning journey through 5 books of knowledge: Book of Earth, Book of Water, Book of Fire, Book of Air and Book of Enlightenment. An immersive onboarding instills Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling as you are recruited to battle the Forces of Fear and Greed, who are trying to corrupt the world’s markets.

Trading Samurai Preview Gamification Case Study

Users make constant progress through levels of knowledge to pass the various books (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment). We have created a host of interactive educational games where users have to make meaningful choices (Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback) to test their knowledge of the education learned. 

The meaningful choices take place in a safe environment where skills and challenges are constantly being matched. Thus we create a flow-state for the user, where s/he always feels in control and able to complete the exercises.

Only after the user has completed 2 Books of knowledge will s/he be able to trade with real money in the Book of Fire. Users can unlock trading with higher risk profiles and leverage by leveling up through the remainder of the educational content. In the app there are Trade Samurai Clans that you can join and with whom you can trade against other clans (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness). There are also Trade Dragons, Ninjas and other creatures that will help you with secret advice and useful hints to trade better and safer

Trade Dragon Gamification Case Study
Trade Samurai Forex Gamification Case Study

Trade Samurai users loved learning to trade FOREX through the app. Abstract, boring concepts became fun to interact with and many users reported high engagement with the learning material.

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3. ebay


The problem

eBay is one of the most successful gamified e-commerce platforms in the world. The company found that the key to its success was the ability for buyers to find niche items that are unavailable on other e-commerce sites. However, eBay is an online marketplace with Consumer-to-Consumer niche sellers often without a professional marketing and sales background. This led to bad buying experiences that deterred some buyers from further shopping on the platform, thus affecting the company’s bottom line.

How we solved it

To improve the buying experience, the seller’s quality of service needed to increase. The Octalysis Group provided a solution by designing an engaging Dashboard for new sellers.

The New Seller Dashboard gives feedback on how the seller is performing by showing where they stand in a tiered system.

ebay example 2.jpg

Generally, sellers care about their reputations and depend on positive reviews to increase their sales (Core Drive 4: Ownership and Possession). However, increasing Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness, a Right Brain (Intrinsic) motivator, helps push the user to focus on elevating the quality of service they give to their buyers. The dashboard elicits this awareness and motivation by reporting information regarding buyer feedback, reviews, and other transaction related data. 

Another Intrinsic Motivator, Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback, comes into play as well. The informative immediate feedback provided by the dashboard empowers sellers to discover, test, and apply marketing and sales strategies to improve the experience between buyer and seller.

In return for high quality service, sellers move up in the tiered system, where they feel a sense of accomplishment and status (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment), and receive better rewards and boosters to further improve their selling experience. 

ebay example 1.png

With this new interactive experience, eBay was able to lower poor buying experiences and improve their bottom line. 

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