How we improved La Quinta with product gamification

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.

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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).

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.


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.