How a Hotel Group Boosted Engagement with a Gamified Advent Calendar

Randi Jensen
Randi Jensen
For the 2020 Christmas campaign, the Devonshire Hotels and Restaurants Group decided to spread some light in the dark with a festive ‘Elf on the Shelf’ gamified Advent Calendar. During December, users participated in the promotion by finding the mischievous elves hidden in pictures of Devonshire's different locations. Here we take a look at the Advent Calendar campaign and its final outcome.

The brand

Devonshire logo

Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Group is a stylish selection of hotels, restaurants, holiday cottages, and a spa in the splendor of the English countryside, owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. By enhancing their online presence and staying active on social media the group is keeping up with modern marketing.

Christmas campaign with many intentions

As the campaign name reveals, the British hotel and restaurant group decided to run a gamified Advent Calendar to drive social media engagement and spread festive cheer.

gamified Advent calendar welcome page

As the company had previously run successful campaigns with Easypromos, they also decided to use the platform for their 2020 Christmas campaign. The main goals of the calendar were to capture customer data and build brand loyalty.

There were three different prizes allocated at intervals throughout December. These prizes were a Gourmet Recipe Box, Afternoon Tea at a choice of hotels, and a Drift Away Massage spa treatment. Apart from these, the grand prize which was drawn at the end of December was a bundle of five overnight stays, one night at each Devonshire Hotel.

A Multi-Stage game campaign

Devonshire’s marketing department decided to use the Multi-Game app. With the app, they created one stage per day from the 1st to the 24th of December. The hotel group chose the Multi-Game application to track how many times each entrant participated in the games. This feature also allowed them to reward those who entered multiple times by giving them more entries in the prize draws.

Advent calendar website

“Our idea for the Advent Calendar was based on the ‘Elf on the Shelf’. So we wanted to share images of six cheeky elves causing mischief in various settings around our hotels and holiday cottages,” explains Sarah Briggs. Each day the organizers published a different image from their locations with six hidden elves. The challenge was for the participants to spot all the elves. “This was very simple to do and the Hidden Objects game provided the perfect template to roll this out easily. The fact that we could brand the calendar was great too.”

Hidden objects game advent calendar

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Planning the campaign

The Multi-Game application lets users participate as many times as the organizer decides. Specifically, in this gamified Advent Calendar, the users could participate once per day. The participants registered the first time they accessed the promotion. Going forward, the next time the users played Devonshire’s Hidden Objects game, their new participation was added to the already existing user.

The organizer additionally linked to the branded Advent Calendar from their website to redirect traffic to the Christmas promotion. With the objective of converting followers into qualified leads, the group also promoted the calendar on their social media channels.

Screenshots of gamified Advent calendar Facebook posts shared by Devonshire hotels

“We used the random draw feature on Easypromos to pick the winners which made it quick and easy to allocate the prizes fairly. Furthermore, the Multi-Game app also allowed us to give more entries in the draw to those who played multiple times. This really helped to boost engagement”, explains Sarah Briggs.

Advent calendar Thank you page

The outcome of the gamified Advent Calendar

“We were overwhelmed with the total amount of participations, which was over 80,000! We received more than 11,000 participants altogether. This means that users returned to the game on average 7.1 times over the 24 days it was live”, tells Sarah Briggs. These numbers are a great indicator of increased brand loyalty and awareness. Moreover, 6,418 of the participants opted into the group’s email marketing list.

The participants eagerly shared the digital Christmas countdown on their social media channels. In total, participants shared the gamified Advent Calendar 3973 times, which helped to reach a new audience. This resulted in 416 new participants who entered to participate from the shares from other participants.

Advent Calendar share stats

In Sarah’s experience, interactive games always get great feedback and help to boost brand awareness, so the group will be planning more for the future. Apart from Advent Calendars, they have previously used Easypromos for a Valentine’s promotion and a photo competition.

Positive feedback from participants

The hotel and restaurant group are working hard on bringing their marketing up to speed. This includes creating engagement and brand awareness and they have fostered a good community with loyal followers.

“We love to reward our customers with giveaways and Easypromos is an easy way to bring these to life and make them much more interactive. At the same time, the promotions also allow us to capture customer data. Our audiences are always looking for new and innovative campaigns and these really help to grab people’s attention on social media”, explains Sarah Briggs.

The group received great feedback about the calendar. “After a difficult year, we were glad to bring some entertainment to our followers,” says Sarah Briggs.

Below are just some of the comments the hotel group received from participants:

  • “I just wanted to say that I loved your Advent calendar. If you wanted to continue it in the new year to cheer us all up, that would be great.”
  • “Love this. The strangest part is that it’s the highlight of my day!”
  • “I look forward to doing this every day”
  • “You have certainly brightened up my days, l am going to miss doing it next year. Merry Christmas to you all”
  • “Fabulous elves, thanks for a super game”
  • “A fab competition”
  • “Thank you for a fun Advent calendar.”
  • “The Xmas game is fun. Enjoy it and it cheers Xmas up. Thanks!”


We have used the Easypromos platform on multiple occasions now. Every time, we get great results from our campaigns and we always receive excellent support from the team if we have any questions. The Multi-Game application makes it quick and easy to create an Advent Calendar or promotion that is tailored to you. And it provides useful insights into user engagement on each day and game. I would have no hesitation in recommending Easypromos to anyone looking to create professional-looking games to engage their customers.

– Sarah Briggs –

Marketing Assistant at Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants Group