Playing Games with Compliance

 In Digital Transformation

Our world is getting smaller.  As technology advances, it brings us closer together regardless of physical distance, making it is increasingly easy for business interactions to seamlessly cross oceans and span continents.  Though crossing time-zones and language barriers are becoming easier and quicker, forging and maintaining these relationships require a deft touch, cultural sensitivity, and above all, flexibility.  In business, the need for flexibility and speed is now more than ever the difference between success and failure.

Though more and more interactions can be covered digitally, face to face meetings are imperative to forging good relationships and are essential to many professions.  Corporate travel has become the norm for several positions, with last minute flights a fact of life.  Businesses move fast, and change is a constant factor with itineraries evolving on a daily basis.  Not wanting to detract from the core work of their skilled employees, many companies employ or outsource to travel agents, which has led to incredible competition over the business travel industry estimated to be worth over $1.25 Trillion in 2016.

The business travel industry faces a huge challenge trying to ensure that employees adhere to the travel policies laid down by their organization.  Aimed at reducing costs, they often end up as complex documents, with staff unaware of the details such as preferred carriers, travel expenses or cancelation policies.   This was the challenge faced by a global travel management company who approached Persistent looking for a solution that could make it easier for customers to remain compliant with their company’s travel policies and guidelines, while keeping it simple and fun!

We recognised that to truly solve our client’s problem, we would have to create a reward mechanism to engage employees whilst coaching them to engage in better travel related behaviour.  The system would need to reduce friction caused by bureaucracy, making bookings, alterations and additions a smooth and simple procedure.

Taking the process back to basics, we built a system with our in-house gamification platform eMee, to reward users with points and badges as various actions were taken, with each compliant booking resulting in additional rewards.  This highly visual and iconographic solution was created to make the user experience simple, enjoyable and enticing, while eliminating the need for a middleman and putting power and speed into the hands of the customer. The multi-tenant platform enabled our client to run customer specific gamification programs, supported by intuitive analytics to monitor and subsequently influence policy compliance.


The reducing of friction through design allowed us to build a system that automated much of the task usually done by a middle man. This not only resulted in an increased speed of transactions, but led to rich data that could be analysed to optimise the system in the future. By isolating the specific points of interest for business travel, and simplifying the process, the new system led to a significant rise in self-bookings (which in turn led to sizable savings usually paid in commissions to travel agents).  Furthermore, by creating a system of rewards, awareness and compliance to travel policies increased by over 30% across all organizations that employed the new platform.

In an ever expanding world, time is precious and flexibility counts, but guiding principles are the key to reducing costs.  By making these principles intuitive rather than a point of friction, companies can increase compliance, save money and ensure a smoother user experience for their staff.  Achieving this requires the ability to build agile, attractive, simple and modular solutions with an emphasis on data, speed and adaptability – once that balance has been struck, an iterative approach will allow for continuous improvements powered by data-driven analytics.


  • Vinita Navadgi – Digital Transformation Strategist
  • Ben Judah – Marketing Strategist
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