Seasonal Trail uses Gamification to Augment Visitation with New Virtual Experience

How this Case Study may be relevant to you: This annual campaign required creative problem solving to develop a touchless virtual component to encourage visitation and engagement. It involved development of a gamification strategy from concept through execution.

We helped Wayne County turn their paper-and-stamp brochure into an app that saw over 8,000 unique visitors and 9 pages per visit in under 2 months. The app encouraged visitation to other assets in the region and 64% said they would like to use the app again.

Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism
Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism

Situational Analysis

Wayne County is the largest apple-producing county in New York State, so agritourism is a large part of attracting visitors. The annual Apple Tasting Tour drives visitation into the county and the participating businesses throughout October. A stamped passport Tour Challenge encouraged consumers to visit all the stops on the trail for a chance to win a series of prizes. For 22 years, the tour was held throughout October, plus a special tasting weekend over Columbus Day.

The Challenge

Due to COVID-19, and the trail’s 23rd year, the county needed touchless tour components to drive visitation. Instead of a focus on Columbus Day weekend, efforts had to promote the month of October and educating visitors on steps farms took to stay safe.

Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism
Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism


Develop a touchless, virtual “replacement” for the passport to encourage visitation and engagement. 

Strategic Insight

Go high-tech to make it touchless

Messaging focused on the outdoor experiences and the theme “U Pick the Way” played off the popular apple-picking activity while also showing that people could participate as much or as little as they were comfortable with. Our tech solution needed to be touchless, accessible and set the trail up for the future. The virtual tour component would replace the stamped passport for tour participation and check-ins with a virtual/online way to encourage visitation on the trail and track that visitation.

Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism

Strategic Approach

In addition to the strategies and tactics used in past years to promote the trail, Break the Ice Media worked with Wayne County Director of Tourism Christine Worth to find and develop a touchless tech solution. What started as an idea from the farmers to host an online crossword puzzle (with an answer for each stop), turned into a full app with gamification. Working with a local tourism app development platform, we put together the Apple Tasting Tour app.

Photo Credit: John Kucko
Photo Credit: John Kucko
Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism
Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism

App Components:

  • Pages for each location, linked to a map​
  • Trivia questions for each location, geofenced so people must be at the location to unlock the trivia​
  • New stops on the trail – parks were added to give more open-air options and show off other assets in the area​
  • Badges earned when trivia questions were answered correctly​
  • Information on the contest and how to enter​
  • Restaurants (the trail’s local sponsors) were also included as stops​



In 2020, the new app had…

  • Over 8,000 unique visitors and over 24,000 pageviews
  • ​13 minutes average time on site
  • ​9.31 average pages per visit
  • The first weekend and holiday weekend had the most app use, followed by the last two weekends in October
  • ​The map was the 3rd most-visited page on the app, with 3,094 views and an average of 3 minutes spent on the page
  • ​83 entries​

Photo Credit: Wayne County Tourism

Result Highlights

In our end-of-season survey, over 90 respondents reported…

  • 75% said they were very likely to participate again
  • ​74% said they were very likely to recommend the trail to a friend
  • ​52% had been participating for 2-5 years
  • ​54% heard about the tour from the county brochure, the next highest was Facebook at 12% (beating Word-of-mouth, 8%)
  • ​58% found the app valuable in planning and participating in 2020
  • ​60% had stopped at a newly-listed park
  • ​64% would like to use the app again, either in a browser or in an app store