Scavenger Hunts


Scavenger hunts increase engagement at live events. Using a mix of Waypoints and Activations, encourage attendees to visit specific booths, attend sessions, join in at networking events, and more. Further incentivize attendees by adding prize drawings or letting them compete for the most points.

Rather than being a single Activation, scavenger hunts are created from several areas of the Captello platform. To deploy a scavenger hunt, you will need to

  • Plan the experience.

  • Build the Activations.

  • Create a Goal.

  • Set up the in-person experience.

1. Plan the Experience

Before building anything in the system, make a plan for what your attendees should experience at the event. In a typical scavenger hunt, attendees scan QR codes at a stop to get credit or play a game. Usually they can track their stops in a Progress Report. The following list includes examples of how you might deploy stops:

  • Posted at an exhibitor/sponsor booth.

  • Shown on a slide at the end of a session presentation.

  • Printed on cards handed out by staff members to award engagement.

  • Displayed on signs around a networking event.

  • Hidden in different locations with clues to their location.

Create a spreadsheet to track the stops. Include their location, the type of engagement (Waypoint or Activation), the points earned if applicable, and the deployment status (pending, created, printed, etc.). By taking the time to create this sheet, keeping track of larger events will be a breeze. You can view a sample spreadsheet here.

Not every stop has to be a QR code. You can also deploy Waypoints and Activations as links or on interactive kiosks throughout the event.

Scavenger hunts range from only having a few stops at certain booths to massive experiences encompassing the entire event. We’ve described a few common types of scavenger hunts below.

Passport to Prizes

In passport to prizes, attendees get credit for visiting participating booths. They might either need to visit all of the booths, or only a set of specific booths, but they do not need to go in any particular order. Players track their progress on a Progress Report which lists which booths they have visited and which are remaining. Some show organizers will send a confirmation email or text message once an attendee has completed the hunt.

Passport to Prizes typically do not include a leaderboard as attendees are expected to visit all of the stops. Once an attendee has visited every stop, they qualify for a prize drawing. The organizer usually performs the drawing at the closing ceremony or shortly after the event.

In some cases, you may want your attendees to do more than just walk by the booth. Rather than posting the QR code at the booth, it may be printed on a card or paper that the exhibitor holds on to. Once the exhibitor has completed their demo, they would then allow the attendee to scan the code.

Traditional Scavenger Hunt

In a traditional scavenger hunt, attendees begin at a certain stop and are given a hint to the next stop’s location. Attendees then visit each stop in a sequential order. Like passport to prizes, they must visit every stop to qualify to win. However, organizers usually award prizes to those who finish first rather than through a random drawing.

Beyond scanning Waypoints, attendees may need to engage in other ways to get credit for a stop. For example, they may need to take a picture at a Photo booth or participate in a networking event.

Organizers may also let attendees play in Teams. Teams work together to solve the clues to the next stop’s location. The team to finish first receives the grand prize.

Event Attendance

Rather than stops being physical locations, you can award credit for attending certain events. For example, attendees might earn 100 points for every session that they attend during a conferences. If they earn at least 300 points (attend 3 sessions), then they qualify for a prize drawing.

In this sort of scavenger hunt, the attendee does not have a Progress Report. Instead, they are incentivized to attend a certain number of sessions. They can view their standing on a leaderboard.

Top Score

The most engaging scavenger hunts encourage players to make the top score. These hunts encourage players to interact in as many ways as possible and are usually a combination of the other types. Players earn points for visiting booths, attending sessions, playing games, and more. Some stops may only be available for limited times at certain events, so to win players must participate as much as possible.

Players have access to a list of all stops through their Progress Report. To earn as many points as possible, they should plan their event experience around when certain stops are available. They can see their standing on a leaderboard, and the show organizer will typically post the leaderboard on screens around the event.

Players can also join Teams for additional incentives. The top scoring players may have one set of prizes, while the top scoring team has another. Players can either choose their team, or the organizer can assign teams.

2. Build the Activations

Once you have your event planned you can begin building your Activations. Every stop on your spreadsheet should be a unique Waypoint or Activation. After creating them, you can generate a QR code for each using QR Code Templates or pull the URL for digital deployments.


Waypoints give attendees credit simply for interacting with them. For example, an attendee could scan a QR code at a booth which then checks off the stop on their progress report. You can also have attendees watch videos, download documents, or visit pages to get credit through content-enabled Guidelines.

Waypoints can also award points, with points varying based on the stop. The Waypoint at the opening ceremony may be worth less points than one at a networking event, for example. If you are awarding points to a leaderboard, be sure to restrict the number of plays to one (1). Otherwise players could simply keep scanning the same Waypoint to earn more points.

For exhibitors, Waypoints greatly increase foot traffic to the booth. Some organizers allow exhibitors to purchase a Waypoint for their booth. Other exhibitors (sponsors, for example) may automatically get one with their registration. Organizers can even give exhibitors the option to have customized QR codes.

NEW! Try our new Activation Campaign builder to streamline creating and managing waypoints.


Captello has Activations that range from games to entertain, games to educate, games for prizes, and interactive experiences like Photo booths. In a Scavenger Hunt, Activations are deployed the same as Waypoints, but to get credit attendees must complete the game or experience.

Like with Waypoints, Activations can be given or sold to exhibitors. In the case of point-based games, the exhibitor could also have their own leaderboard. This leaderboard would only show the points earned toward their own game, allowing them to distribute their own prizes. The points would still count to the event’s global leaderboard.

Activations are perfect for scavenger hunts based on scoring points. They allow for more variation in total points, meaning no two players should ever tie. You can even allow attendees to play multiple times, counting only their first attempt, their best attempt, or all attempts toward the leaderboard. For example, you might allow them to play Invaders up to 4 times, and their best attempt goes toward their total score.

3. Create the Goal

While Activations and Waypoints represent the individual stops, the Goal represents the Scavenger hunt as a whole. Once you have built all of the stops, you can build your goal. How you configure the goal will depend on the type of experience you build.

The goal for each Activation should include the stop’s location (or hint to its location). In this case, do not allow users to play the Activation in their progress report. Otherwise, they will be able to claim credit for the stop without ever having visited it. However, for Activations not tied to a specific location (for example, a game all attendees have access to in a show app), you can allow them to play within the progress report.

For point-based scavenger hunts, you should allow them to view the leaderboard from their progress report. If the hunt is only based on stops, there is no need to configure the leaderboard.

4. Set up the Attendee Experience

With your Activations and Goals finished, you only need to set up the attendee experience. This includes

  • Setting up prizes

  • Creating instructions

  • Printing QR Codes/Signage

  • Integrating with the show app

  • Testing

Setting up prizes

Most scavenger hunts incentivize attendees with some sort of prize structure. Include the possible prizes and method of winning in marketing materials leading up to the event. You can also include exhibitors and sponsors. For example, you might award a prize to the top scoring player while exhibitors sponsor prizes for the next 10.

Prizes are usually awarded for the following:

  • Placing at the top of the leaderboard.

  • Being on the top-scoring team.

  • Winning a random drawing.

  • Visiting certain or all stops.

  • Applying points to the Rewards Center.

If an exhibitor is sponsoring their own Activation, they can also award a prize based on their individual leaderboard.

If using Captello for prizes, you can either set up physical rewards or have the system distribute gift cards. Through the Rewards Center, attendees can even apply points to the prize of their choice. For example, for completing a progress report, a player might earn 100 points they can distribute to gift cards as they see fit. They might apply 50 points ($50) to one provider, and 50 to another.

Creating Instructions

The key to successful scavenger hunt is creating good instructions. Your attendees need to know how to interact with stops, what stops are available, how to play any games included, and what prizes are available. If your attendees will be scanning QR codes, include a sample QR code for them to scan.

Send the instructions prior to the event via email, post them on the event website, include them in the show app if applicable, and post them around the event floor. Make sure staffers are aware of the game, how the game works, and how to promote the game to attendees. If exhibitors are also participating, let them know what to expect. It’s likely attendees will ask them questions as well.

By taking the time to create clear instructions, you’ll create a smoother experience for yourself, your exhibitors, and the attendees.

Printing QR codes and Signage

Print QR codes large and on high-quality materials. Some older devices may have issues scanning if the code is too small or blurry. We recommend the codes be at least 6” (or 15cm) in width on a white background (or black background if the QR code template is using light colors like orange, yellow, and white). Make sure the sign includes the name of the stop. It can be hard to tell the QR codes apart if you don’t!

Print and test each code. We recommend testing on an iPhone and at least one Android device.

Integrating with the Show App

Many shows have an attendee app to share the schedule, floor plan, networking opportunities, and more. You can integrate your scavenger hunt into the show app through Captello’s Zones. Zones load inside a browser window within the show app. The show app can automatically pass attendee info to the Zone, meaning attendees don’t have to fill out a lead capture form.

Most zones include

  • A QR code scanner.

  • The Progress Report.

  • The Leaderboard.

  • Scavenger Hunt Instructions.

  • A floor map.

In some cases, the show app may not be able to pass contact data. You can still use Zones, and players will only need to fill in the lead capture form for the first Activation or Waypoint they scan. Many organizers will use the form for attendees to opt in to the game, so this should still feel like a seamless experience.

You can force attendees to scan QR codes inside of the Zone. This means they must use the show app to participate in the scavenger hunt. However, the Zone uses a browser-based camera plug-in. This plug-in is compatible with most devices, but Captello cannot guarantee it will work with every one. We recommend also allowing attendees to scan using their native camera.


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