Airlines: The Ultimate Example of Gamification

We all become enamored with a new concept every now and then. It’s practically predictable that a buzzword will come along and grip everyone in an industry for a year-or-so. Right now, in our line of work, the “hot” concept is gamification.

Our industry has fallen in love with the concept of Gamification. When I say our “industry,” I’m talking about the network of consultants, sales trainers, speakers, and software developers serving salespeople, sales managers, sales leadership, and sales departments. Gamification is the use of game mechanics in non-game environments. It seems like nearly every webinar has a subtitle that works in the term “Gamification” even in a roundabout way. For example, rather than a traditional leader board hanging in a corporate office, a “gamified” contest would add badges and points to a CRM dashboard. Clever, eh? Seems like it wouldn’t do much, right?


For the ultimate example of gamification, head to your nearest airport lounge and watch the lines of corporate travelers waiting for their opportunity to check on their status. Whether they’re seeking Silver, Preferred, Chairman’s, Diamond or whatever-status, they battle for those miles. The airlines know it’s not just about the benefits they provide to those with status.

They have capitalized on our inherent desire to compete and win. It’s gamification at its best.

Just log onto the website of your favorite airline or hotel. You’ll likely see a status bar that shows just how close — or far — you are from the next “level.”

  • Only fourteen more nights until you’ll be a Gold Member
  • Only 20,000 more miles until you become a Chairman

The point? Who really wants to spend two weeks and twenty thousand miles earning these statuses? The answer: Not many of us. However, airlines and hotels have keyed in on just how eager we are to earn the recognition that comes along with winning. Again, this is gamification.

Adding elements of a game to certain aspects of your sales efforts can provide a tremendous return.

In the interest of full disclosure, we’re no strangers to gamification. We’ve been using it in our ongoing sales coaching programs since 1999. We’ve also recently rolled out the IMPACT Summit Challenge, which is a one-day selling simulation that reinforces sales skills and develops both industry and product knowledge.

How do you combine gamification and your work?


Jeb Brooks

About Jeb Brooks

Jeb Brooks is President & CEO of the The Brooks Group, one of the world’s Top Ten Sales Training Firms as ranked by Selling Power Magazine. He is a sought-after commentator on topics related to sales, sales management, and adult learning, having appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Money, Fortune, and CNN. Jeb is the author of four books and numerous articles.


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  1. craig dobson says:

    And to me, therein lies another shamful example of what’s wrong with todays society (be it sales or life!). We have become shallow, in the moment, gratification seekers. Instead of thinking long term, and morally to acheive a mutually beneficial LONG TERM goal/relationship that can truly be a win-win for both supplier and retailer/consumer! I choose not to play . . .

  2. Jeb Brooks
    Jeb Brooks says: (Author)

    Thanks for your comment, Craig. Thinking long-term is almost always in everyone’s best interest.

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