CATEGORY

MOTIVATION

 

There is no doubt that the last 18 months brought the subject of health and well-being into sharp focus. Many of us had to learn how to stay active within the four walls of home, devoting significant willpower, determination, and energy into ensuring that the sudden lack of activity and routine didn’t come at the expense of our health.

It is of course true that most of us know that we need to eat well and exercise regularly to stay healthy. Nevertheless, it is also the case that a lot of us find it hard to do either in a sustained manner. Rationally, we may know these things are important for our own personal interest, but something often seems to get in the way. Academics, behavioural experts, and health professionals have known for many years that mere awareness of a health issue or risk is not always enough to motivate people to change deeply entrenched habits or to develop new ones.

Developing and sustaining motivation for lifestyle change is critical in managing chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes or heart and pulmonary disease. But the same is equally true across many other aspects of healthcare as well as any number of personal health and fitness related goals, be it remembering to take medication at particular times, kicking bad habits, the journey from couch to 5k, or any number of well-intentioned New Year’s Resolutions.

Health motivation has many of the same influences as other aspects of motivation but with, perhaps, some specific additions to the mix. Alongside the obvious environmental, physical, and psychological variables and the experiences that can shape our perceptions, there is an equation of perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, and perceived barriers that can combine to determine individual attitudes and actions. Even with a positive attitude, action can often still require a cue, stimulus, or nudge. We all need encouragement to put us, and keep us, on the right path and that is where the use of digital innovation can go a long way to building our engagement.

More than ‘just a game’

Gamification, Serious Games and Game Design have all been growing in use over the last 10 years in a wide range of non-entertainment contexts, from finances to learning to play the piano and everything in between. There are several reasons for this, a key one being how well these approaches can engage and focus users. It is this capacity for engagement, encouragement and commitment that can make Game Design and Gamification significantly impactful within Health and Wellbeing.

 


Want to refresh your memory on Gamification?

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and the use of Gamification following the link below.

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Recent years have seen an increased application of game thinking across health, fitness, and wellbeing through the explosion of fitness apps and a better understanding of motivation and behavioural psychology. The growing use of Gamification to support the management of chronic illness, rehabilitation, health, and wellbeing is already proving to have fascinating and significant benefits. Serious contexts with serious connotations and consequences, but with an opportunity to inject well designed user focussed strategies that can support people on their journey to changing their behaviours for the better and towards improved health.

A System for Support

An important initial step in managing a long-term condition, such as diabetes or a heart condition, is helping with their overall understanding and awareness. Depending on diagnosis, traditionally a GP or doctor will talk through symptoms to monitor or watch out for supported with leaflets, websites and an initial schedule of check-ups and tests. In cases where the individual may have access to specialists and dedicated practitioners, their progress and the management of their condition may have more support to hand – perhaps with these specialists available for frequent check-ups and monitoring, personalised health plans, etc. Sadly, the growing prevalence of these conditions across a health service that is already economically challenged, makes this support increasingly difficult to provide.

Despite the best endeavours of healthcare professionals, diagnosis of a chronic illness can still be a lonely, confusing, or frightening period for many. Faced with such, it is all too easy to resort to the internet to identify and interpret symptoms or browse forums to find what has worked for other people. This can, of course, become even more confusing and frightening since the available information may not feel relevant or be appropriate for each situation.

Given the importance of scalability and availability, this is where appropriate and well-designed technology solutions can help to complement the support system provided by medical professionals facing a level of increasing demand that they cannot possibly satisfy in the long term. Whilst some people have claimed that the pace of digital innovation that has taken place in the last ten months is equivalent to that of the previous ten years, this does not perhaps fairly reflect some of the innovation that has been quietly taking place across the health sector and is starting to deliver significant benefits.

Health and Gamification in Practice

A good example of gamification being successfully integrated into a healthcare solution can be seen with PainSquad: a smartphone based electronic pain management tool which helps 8 to 18-year old cancer patients track pain levels and complete daily reports. It turns an emotionally complex task into an engaging experience, as users climb the ranks and earn rewards by habitually using a crime-fighting style application. The result? 90%+ initial completion rates for the pain journals, a percentage noted to be unheard of in paediatric medicine, highlighting the empowering and constructive impact that a gamified experience can have.

Another example of using gamification can be seen with Mango Health. Their smartphone application is designed to allow users to set up their daily medication schedule and then provides them with appropriate prompts to take the medication. If the user takes their medication at the right time, they earn points that can be converted into gift cards or even charitable donations.  On top of this, the mobile app also provides educational materials about the user’s medication, including drug interactions and potential side effects.

Occasionally there is a concern raised regarding the opportunity to address health matters with digital solutions, based on an assumption that it involves expensive and frequently inaccessible technologies. Or that they end up reducing the important subject and science at their core. However there are plenty of examples where technology has helped make a significant and positive impact on health and well being, and plenty of examples demonstrating how technology actually improves scalability and accessibility of much needed support. For instance, the role of virtual reality video games in promoting active movement, improving balance, and increasing energy expenditure in children with cerebral palsy. These examples have used a Nintendo Wii or Microsoft Kinect as a low cost, accessible way to offer self-motivated physical therapy through a video game. Studies showed that patients who participated in virtual reality gaming therapy increased the intensity, frequency, and duration of therapy movements, leading to enhanced motor performance.

Whilst the use of gamification in healthcare has been around for a while, it is still developing and continues to represent a significant opportunity for future research and impact.  As an example that demonstrates how fast this is expanding and how seriously it is being applied right now, the FDA in America recently made a landmark decision to officially validate the use of a video game as a prescribed treatment for children with ADHD after 7 years of clinical trials.

Rehabilitation and Recovery

Another stimulating opportunity area for the application of game thinking in healthcare lies in rehabilitation and recovery from acute conditions such as strokes or spinal injury. Here, there are good examples where “real” games can play as important a role in a patient’s recovery as specifically made serious games. To help recovery, the engaging and fun nature of the game is of critical importance. Video games require focused and repetitive movements, which is often exactly what is needed for this kind of rehabilitation. Because the game is fun and provides the patient a distraction whilst they play, it is potentially able to offer a degree of sustainability that traditional rehabilitation may not always be able to easily provide.

For example, games such as Battlefield have been used to help stroke patients by using special controllers that use the feet rather than hands to move. This has been shown to help to recover lost function, by encouraging repetitive movements and stimulation. Research has also shown that more active games, such as Wii Fit Sports, where controllers are motion activated, can improve upper body muscle activation in quadriplegics and tetraplegics.

In contrast to the reuse of standard games with modified controllers or gameplay tweaks, there are also games that are created specifically for rehabilitation. One such game, designed by a research team at Newcastle University, was successfully used to evaluate the effectiveness of small changes to therapeutic regimes, by asking the patient to play a simple video game that measured their physical responses to onscreen movement.

One of the key reasons we are all drawn to games in their different forms is precisely because of their ability to immerse us in a different world, or a different story, with different rules to the one we live in normally. The notion of being able to open new worlds for people to explore, when they may be feeling trapped or struggling in whatever way, is incredibly exciting and is matched with the positive results and outcomes achieved in patients taking on these new forms of therapy. In the same way that we are seeing more and more innovative story telling in the traditional world of games, perhaps we can look forward to even more inspirational blends of imagination, creativity and science to deliver real change and impact in rehabilitation and recovery?

Wellbeing

Wellbeing is often used to cover a vast array of topics, from mental wellness to weight management to fitness. Whether it is the use of Wii Bowling to help keep the eldering active, corporate fitness schemes that make use of wearable technologies to create internal competitions and challenges or more bespoke solutions that help monitor mental health and depression such as SuperBetter, game thinking and gamification are increasingly being applied to enable effective solutions.

Within the workplace, gamified solutions have already proven the value and positive impact they can offer in terms of the employee experience and in achieving organisational objectives. Whether it is in terms of consistent and effective onboarding, uniting remote teams, engaging individuals in learning and development, or standardising processes and approaches, gamified tools and experiences have been shown to be readily adopted and to deliver tangible results.  However, there is space for this value and user centric approach to be directed towards corporate wellness schemes in order to produce meaningful solutions, beyond counting how many daily steps you achieve as a team. There is no doubt that the world of work already has and will continue to undergo significant change. There is already acute focus on employee wellbeing and organisations across all sectors are faced with the need to increase participation, commitment and overall engagement amongst their employees whilst also finding the balance between empathy and effectiveness. During the pandemic, the necessary distancing, shielding, and lockdown requirements meant that loneliness impacted on health and wellbeing with 24% of adults feeling significantly isolated. The use of technology to replace face to face social interactions undoubtedly helped some individuals maintain contact and activities through these abnormal times. There has never been a more important time for organisations to apply innovation to these areas with digital solutions to support health and well-being as an intrinsic part of their employee experience.

Change for the Future

There is enough pressure in today’s society to fit one fitness standard or another, and the reality is everyone is fighting their own personal challenge regarding their health and wellbeing and where they would like it to be. Whatever the solution, it cannot lose sight of the end needs and requirements of the user it should be helping and supporting. Solutions do not need to be overly complex to be effective. When considering behaviour change, we are often focused on making small changes to help new behaviours stick. Constant availability, reliability and security are also important characteristics of these solutions whilst it is important to keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” approach so personalisation and user-focussed design will determine adoption and ultimately sustained behaviour outcomes. It is time to take careful steps towards future designs that leverage the exciting possibilities and mechanics, founded on the exciting scientific research, in order to deliver exciting and encouraging results for the individuals at the heart.

Whether you’re the one doing the chasing or the one being chased, mandatory training is rarely a source of fun or enthusiasm.
But given it’s usually vital information that you need to prove you have completed and understood, it really should be something people feel motivated to do. If you’re looking for ways to improve completion rates and help people want to participate, rather than feel they have to, we can enhance learning and reimagine processes to make them more engaging, intuitive and enjoyable.
Breaking down content and energising the experience.

 

Feeling Inspired?
Get in touch and see how we could help you tackle the engagement challenges you’re facing.  

RAMP, Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation, Gamification…
What are we talking about?

 

Our Gamification Guru, Andrzej Marczewski, breaks down some of the theories and concepts we often talk about and use in our Engagement Solutions.

Interested in how Gamification or Behavioural Science could help your organisation achieve objectives and boost engagement?  

 

The last few months have opened the public’s eyes to vulnerabilities in the care system more than ever before. Groups and communities have been isolated, while those trying to protect them have had increased pressure and responsibility, with little or no enhanced approaches to help. There is a real need to rebuild care and connection, utilising the tools and innovation we often apply to other sectors of society.

What should the next generation of care look like? Where could we go from here for cross-collaboration between communities and areas of expertise? Can similar approaches and an understanding of users be applied in a preventative way? And how can we innovatively introduce technology in everyday interactions to improve quality of life?

In our virtual lecture with Newcastle University Open Lab, the team walk through a solution focussed on streamlining and reimagining working processes with compassion. We examine the development journey, through the lens of a real care shift, as an example of how technology, UX design, and empathy can come together to create insightful tools that empower users and promote quality care.

The first step of many towards addressing the structural, resourcing, societal and emotive challenges at the heart of an aging population. 

Feeling Inspired? Why not talk to the team behind the solution?
Our team are always happy to chat through different challenges, ideas or even just compare notes. Drop us an email and we’ll connect you to someone who can help.
Get in touch

Building Tools, Tasks, Teams and Trust

For many of us, recent events have challenged our concept of collaboration, connectivity and life in general. Remote teams have been forced to juggle integrating work and personal needs, while organisations have had to respond to a chain of complicated business conditions and challenges. The future seems to offer no clarity. A key question on the minds of employers now is how can they continue to keep a workforce engaged in times of such uncertainty. Any organisation’s greatest asset, engaged employees feel empowered and inspired to perform to the best of their abilities, deliver excellent customer experiences and achieve organisational goals.

At a time when many organisations are having to quickly re-evaluate strategies, resources and culture as well as develop new policies and approaches; there is an opportunity to creatively enable employee engagement.

Our latest webinar explores how we can build participation, motivation and commitment in a workforce with evolving perspectives, needs and values. The team look at how elements of game thinking and motivational theory can be used to maintain and increase engagement, and how this can then be embedded in HR best practices in order to make a real difference in the workplace when people may feel disconnected, disrupted, unfulfilled, and uncertain of the future.

 

Events of late created a “forced trial” of remote working for many companies, shifting the way we all think about collaboration and teamwork. In this webinar we look at how motivational theory can be used to maintain and increase engagement across businesses during such unprecedented times, where people feel disconnected, disrupted, unfulfilled, and uncertain of the future.

Tech solutions are not enough, especially in isolation. They need to have people’s needs at their core. In the session below we explored how understanding this can improve communication, productivity and overall engagement across teams and businesses.

For more background reading on the subject, check out our post on remote work and RAMP

 

 

The demand for remote working keeps growing, with technology enabling employees to balance personal life with their commitment to work. How can companies be preparing to meet expectations and adapt to a more remote workforce?
Check out the stats below or download your own copy of the infographic.

As we face new challenges in the workplace and the world in general, it seems that working from home and remote workforces will become an increasingly common practice. Employees and employers alike will be feeling the strain to balance priorities and maintain ‘business as usual’ structures. Communication tools and software are imperative for ensuring connectivity. If implemented alone, without strategy and an understanding of how your team engage in their work, they can feel like tools to monitor and observe employees.

Here we will look at how even just a basic understanding of motivation can help you to ensure your employees or your team, whatever their profile or drives, stay engaged and motivated whilst working from home – now and in the future.

The RAMP model is based on Self Determination Theory and stands for Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. Relatedness taps into our innate desire to be connected to others, Autonomy, the need to have choice and freedom. Mastery is a need to improve, feel progress and achievement. Finally, Purpose can be described as the “reason” we do things.

All of these can hold the key to make working from home feel as productive or satisfying as working in an office.

Relatedness

This is one of the most important aspects that can be lost when working from home. In the office you always have people around to talk to, bounce ideas off and even just share a lunch break with. Working from home can be calming for some, isolating for others – and in times of uncertainty it is important to find ways to stay connected, not micromanaged.

  • Tools
    When working from home, it can be very isolating if no effort is made to engage with others. Most companies have tools that will enable this one way or another, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack and so on. Don’t bombard each other, but find reasons to send a positive message or email, and make sure there are meetings held on conference call, video call or even the good old-fashioned phone. Give your people a voice, literally!
  • Conversation & Collaboration
    When working from home for extended periods, make sure your employees are using those tools in a way similar to how they would talk to people in the office. Just because it is text based, doesn’t mean it can’t be just as valuable. If they are not using the tools, why not ask questions, send thoughts, share an anectdote. It is all part of keeping motivated and reminding you that there are others out there with you.

Autonomy

With remote work, it is important to accept that employees will naturally have more freedom and inevitably less structure than they may have in the office. If they are working from home to balance family life or health needs or extenuating circumstances with work commitments, flexibility is important. Flexibility doesn’t mean employees going MIA – which is a message for both employees and their managers. Don’t tie your employees to their desktops and phones out of fear. Connect with them and empower them to continue contributing and they will feel all the better (and perform more) for it.

  • Trust
    There may be a temptation to check in with employees more often than you might normally. This reduces their feeling of agency and autonomy. In turn, this makes them feel less trusted.
  • Accountability
    Whilst autonomy is great, employees need to be disciplined and take accountability for the work that has been set, or for finding work to be done.
  • Job Done vs Time Done
    Accept that employees will use their time working remotely differently to when they are in the office, breaking the concept of 9-5. Focus on rewarding and celebrating people getting work done, rather than whether they were online at 09:01. It can be hard, especially with current stresses, for people to be mentally present and motivated during strict time frames. Maintain ambitious project ideas, stick to deadlines, and celebrate when the job is done.

Mastery

This may be a little less obvious at first. If you are suddenly now part of a remote team, you might be feeling like your career progression has gone on hold, or maybe you’re struggling to keep up with your company’s e-learning system with other things on your mind. How can people develop their skills or experience when there is no one there to see them do it? Particularly if you’re from a more traditional working environment, working from home can end up feeling like you’re just sitting around. Mastery is about more than ticking boxes. Mastery is about achievement, and there are many ways for you to feel you are continuing to accomplish things professionally in a less conventional setting.

  • Goals
    Make sure that everyone has clear goals and that progress towards them can be tracked (for the employee’s benefit more than yours). It is essential that goals are achievable, and progress is recognised. If this is proving complicated in the beginning, break them down into smaller goals to build momentum.
  • Feedback
    Provide constructive feedback as regularly as makes sense for each employee. Whilst working remotely, it can be very hard to feel that you are succeeding or achieving anything, or to know what other people are doing around you.
  • Self-Guided Learning
    Help your team feel able to use their time to expand their skills with online and virtual learning/training courses. This will go towards them feeling trusted to manage their time, as well as providing some structure and even some inspiration for their day to day work.

Purpose

There are two versions of purpose that are important here. Firstly, finding some sort of value and meaning to the work you are doing – a reason why you are doing it. Organisations and employers play a huge role in this by helping to remind employees why the work they do is important, and emphasising that they are all part of a collective, collaborative group rather than remote satellites. The other aspect is philanthropic purpose, helping others. As mentioned before remote working, especially if somewhat involuntary, can be isolating for your team members. It is vital for team morale and motivation to keep up the human aspect of work rather than only pinging people for a favour or work related question.

  • Purpose and Value
    The more disconnected you are from an organisation, the easier it is to forget the importance of what you’re doing. It is essential that you keep up communications with your team so that you all don’t lose sight of your common goals and purpose. Also companies should be encouraged to continue sharing communications and updates to remove the sense of people working for or towards something invisible.
  • Helping Others
    The other type of purpose, that of helping others. Just because you can’t do a coffee round as you would in the office, doesn’t mean you can’t still help others in some way remotely. Make yourself available and remember that everyone is in the same boat!

A Two-Way Street

Lack of engagement in the workplace is an issue that isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. Everyone has days where they hit the brick wall or count the seconds on the clock until they leave; but the problem is when those days become the norm. Every year more research and statistics come out and cause concern as they reveal how the majority of employees feel unengaged at work, how even engaged individuals are at risk of burnout, and how just measuring levels isn’t actually helping anyone.

It was interesting to see in the recent NYT Smarter Living piece ‘Feeling Uninspired at Work?’ that the advice focussed on the individuals and employees: take some time to refresh your mind, send the email you’ve been meaning to send, find a way to tick something off your to-do list no matter how small. All positive ways to give yourself a sense of progress or accomplishment. That said, the achievements end up benefitting the employer as much as the employee. Which brings up another common frustration. The responsibility can’t always be on the individual to restart their motivation generator. Employers can also be providing the right tools and environment to make engagement in the workplace a possibility and a reality, rather than “something that would be nice to have”.

Employees today have endless distractions and opportunities just a click away, and in many cases face outdated management styles and frameworks that stifle motivation. Left unaddressed, disaffection, detachment and disillusionment are huge blockers for any company trying to roll out new objectives, embed values and culture, or retain talent. So, what do you do? Offer Taco Tuesdays for everyone? Redesign the office space to include more plants and natural light? Provide ping-pong tables? These are fine ideas and they can work as rewards, but they don’t move the engagement dial in the long term as they don’t address the root of the challenge – how to engage people in the uninspiring everyday processes or procedures they have to do.

No companies truly want their employees to be miserable. More than ever before organisations today are under pressure to craft modern, appealing offerings for employees, that stand out from the competition – attracting new exciting talent, developing employees into the best they can be, enabling the right work/life balance, supporting meaningful causes, offering more opportunities… It’s a lot to promise and consistently deliver. Where do you even begin?

Enhancing the Every Day

We define engagement as an emotional and psychological attachment people have to a brand, product, idea or organisation. The feeling of trust you have towards a cosmetic brand because you like their ethics, their marketing, and the fact you can see results (albeit small) after using their products. Because of how they make you feel, you keep buying from them again.

So, in order to foster engagement in any environment, you need to start with the people. Understand their drives, their motivations, what they enjoy and what their pain points might be. Once you can better empathise with them, you will be in a much stronger position to work on impactful and meaningful engagement solutions. If your employees feel that you understand their needs and that your programmes empower them, rather than further complicate their day, they’ll then be more willing to adopt new approaches.

A lot of the work we do at Motivait comes down to helping companies enhance the experience of a specific area or process. A more exciting onboarding process, redesigning manager training and development, driving teamwork and collaboration. We use RAMP theory as a core part of our solution design process to encourage intrinsic engagement – a drive that comes from within – as this is what helps turn passive individuals into active participants. When their sense of Relatedness, Autonomy, Mastery and/or Purpose are reinforced, people willingly take part in specific activities and work towards objectives because they want to, rather than feel they have to.

More often than not, small changes that then add up to a larger impact over time is the best starting place. Seeing progression is important, much like the NYT article referred to when suggesting ticking off items of a to-do list. What is even more powerful is having the acknowledgment or encouragement come from colleagues or managers, rather than always being self-generated.

Simply developing mechanisms for positive feedback when tasks are usefully achieved can improve people’s motivation to continue. Creating an environment where employees can see the corporate values in action, rather than just listing abstract concepts, through champions and leaders leading by example. An engaged workforce will be more open to collaborating, committing, and representing, once they understand the reciprocity and value to their contribution in the greater scheme of the organisation.

Solutions and practices that reinforce the idea “we want to make your experiences with us better!” are all it takes to start shifting perceptions. Once they take root, they can then become vehicles for promoting and influencing desired behaviours and be a step closer to achieving company objectives, values and culture you’ve set out for success.

A friend made fun of me recently as we looked at booking a weekend away. Within seconds of us deciding on a city, I’d started ‘the list’. “Remember to schedule in ‘have fun’ somewhere between 11am and 11pm” they texted.

“The list” is where I- you guessed it- list out the key things to see, visit, eat in any destination I’m headed to. It’s begun to frequently take the form of a shared Google doc with whoever I’m going with, and yes, it does eventually start to develop schedule-like symptoms. Times where we might be leaving the hotel, when we could make dinner reservations, how long it could take to walk from one monument to the next and look there’s even a great ice cream place along the way for a pit stop at 3.17 on Friday.

Before you sign me up for a crash course in spontaneity, I should reassure you that I rarely ever follow ‘the list’ word for word. I’ll end up wandering around, see a street sign I recognise from my searches and remember that an interesting tea house/museum is nearby. In reality, this list is simply where I collect parts of a puzzle that I get to put together as I go along. My own personalised travel recommendations that I collect as I get excited about the upcoming trip. It’s inspired by the Facebook album I scrolled through, the Lonely Planet article I read, the Instagram pictures I pictured myself in. TripAdvisor recommendations, local food blogs, the hotel review that caught my eye because the building has an interesting back story. On my phone I’ve gone exploring, piecing together an experience I’d want to live. You could say it’s a millennial specific affliction. Really, it’s the same day-dreaming we’ve all done at our desks or on our daily commute. However, through the rise of social media and enhanced digital photography, we can now delve deeper into that “Wish You Were Here” feeling, and it’s something travel marketing professionals are really beginning to mine into it.

“I’m the Hero in this Story”

Recent research has pointed out that 80% of people trust the opinion of friends and family when it comes to booking a holiday. The survey found that people were less likely to use sites like TripAdvisor, Facebook or Twitter as primary sources for recommendation. Stats like these reinforce what we’re seeing across industries: recommendations and references are becoming principal purchasing influencers. The results or trends aren’t suggesting that the reach of social media should be ignored when advertising or sharing a message. However what that message conveys is important. Part of the work we do at Motivait is to reintroduce personal touches or user centricity back into processes and experiences. Our solutions rely on UX and UI research to make sure we design something that will tap into those emotional, intrinsic motivators. Why are people influenced by their best friend’s album from their #amazingadventure? Because when they see someone they personally relate to enjoying an experience, they can picture themselves enjoying it too.

Travellers, more than ever before, are able to engage with the stories and experiences of a place so that they’ve bought into their potential holiday before they’ve even booked anything. While tourism may have often been considered a stable and unchanging industry- people are always going to want a holiday- today’s digital platforms are offering an opportunity for organisations, councils, and national bodies to flex their creative muscles. People still want a holiday. But they can also now picture and curate the holiday experience they could have. And they would thrive on the chance to see themselves as the protagonist of that story or experience.

Better still, travel and tourism bodies can deliver experiences that connect with audiences they may have lost touch with. Museums or galleries that would have once got an eye-roll from younger generations, could present a story or path to follow that ignites the explorer within. Could a city famous for its lamb dishes offer a route where the vegetarian traveller can still come away giving it a 10/10 for gastronomy? The potential to connect with your audience can be limitless; as long as you remember to put them at the heart of the destination.