How to gamify a pilgrimage

Or the importance of nudging behaviours

Sometimes there’s gamification and we don’t even realize this.

There’s this pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago. Hundreds of people walk for tens of kilometers/miles every year to reach Santiago de Compostela. Some do it for religion, others not.

If you want to get a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage, then you must take your Pilgrim Notebook. Here you collect stamps gathered from hostels, cafes, and restaurants, and if you get enough you can prove you completed your pilgrimage.

Here’s the thing: your Notebook is only valid if you collect at least 2 stamps per day. Therefore, you’ll be forced to always eat in a local cafe or restaurant to get your 2 stamps per day (since you get 1 in your hostel every day).

What started as a way to prove people actually did the full trail ended up being a nice way to boost tourism, as pilgrims are forced to spend money in local businesses of cities where they stop to spend the night.

A simple form of gamification which literally moves a whole economy.

💡 Exercise for you: gamification isn’t always about giving points to users - what actions are beneficial to your users? How can you nudge them to take more, without calling them a gamification program?