The tourism experience during a holiday or a trip is surely an amazing situation and, for some aspects, it could be compared to the gaming experience. Both of them, in fact, are characterized by the combination of positive emotions and pleasant moment. These common peculiarities are fundamental for the application of the gaming principles to the tourism: this process could be called gamification.
The book, written by Paul Bulencea and Roman Egger, is an extremely precise description of the use of games in the tourism sector. The authors start from the theme of the experience in tourism in order to create a possible and profitable relationship with the gamification approach.
The term gamification is related to the will to improve engagement, motivation and enjoyment in non-gaming context. The games, in fact, are able to engage people in a very short time frame and to transport them in a virtual world that doesn’t present interruptions or waiting times: when someone plays, he has everything that he needs in that moment.
On the other side, the tourism experience has some aspects in common with the games and, in particular, the emotions felt during the holidays are capable to make the experience memorable.
For this reason, the link between games and tourism can be identified through the acronym PERMA, which is composed by positive emotions (P), engagement (E), relationship (R), meaning (M) and accomplishment (A). All these elements are strategic in order to make an experience memorable and they contribute to the engagement supported by games.
The first part of the book concludes with the awareness that the PERMA model can be combined with the principles of game design, as a guide in order to produce memorable and engaging gaming experiences for tourism.
The second part of the research is dedicated to the various contributions of the MED framework, acronym of Memorable Experience Design. Authors try to describe a series of design processes and tools related to gamification and memorable experiences, even if they highlight that there aren’t established methods.
In this section, authors focus also on the three pillars of the experience design: human-centred design, iterative design process and holistic experience concept. These pillars guide all the processes and, thanks to the contributions of naturalistic inquiry and participatory design, they make possible to receive feedbacks in order to improve the design project.
This part of the volume is, then, characterized by the punctual effort of the authors to present an interesting list (but, as they said, not exhaustive) of components that typified the MED framework. The book submits theories from different fields and aims to offer more inputs than a precise procedure. Each component is underlined for its strategic use and is followed by examples that explain the possible application of the element. The presence of numerous references to scientific articles and books allows the reader to understand the size of the argument and the eventual spillovers that tourism, gaming and their combined usage can have on other fields.
Finally, the last section of the book is almost a wish for the future: the authors are sure that the application of gamification to numerous sectors can be decisive. Gamification and tourism, in fact, can improve the well-being of individuals and allow acquiring skills and knowledge. In this sense, the use and the implementation of the MED framework will be able to create positive transformations and important development.
“Gamification in Tourism” is a stimulating research and a starting point for following investigations. The key concepts on which the authors have built the book are several, but two are certainly fundamental: the importance of the framework and the possible application of gaming to every aspect of human life. The sum of these two pillars can make the difference between the creation of a future business opportunity and the mere survival of tourism in non-famous places.
This chance, in fact, could be strategic for the development of a non-traditional and more engaging tourism.
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