Required Reading for Frequent Flyers
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60 Seconds with Howard Woods, President/Chief Operating Officer of Engage Play Technologies
[Feb 2013 Issue]
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We recently caught up with Howard Woods, President/Chief Operating Officer of Engage Play Technologies, a developer of casual gaming platforms allowing loyalty programs to engage their members and increase the program's financial efficiency. Aeromexico Club Premier members can now use their points to play online games, compete and win prizes.

InsideFlyer
What was the inspiration behind Engage Play?
Howard Woods
Engage Play's principals have a unique combination of experiences that span across interactive media, airline and the international finance industries that includes developing and deploying b2b and b2c industry solutions and companies. From this diversity of experience, the group recognized the loyalty industry's need for greater financial efficiency and engagement and the opportunity to incorporate best practices from the interactive entertainment industry to leverage the universal appeal of casual games.

IF
How long did it take until you launched the first website?
Woods
We launched our first operational miles/points based casual game platform, within 18 months of initiating the project, in January 2012. However, as pioneers in the skill and social game sectors, our group has previously developed, launched and managed gaming solutions for partners such as Microsoft, American Idol, AOL, Yahoo, Sony and Disney. We take pride in the fact that some of our partner solutions have been running for 10 years.

IF
Can you briefly describe how Engage Play can benefit frequent flyers?
Woods
Our engagement and commerce platforms provide value to frequent flyer and frequent stay program members in three primary ways. First, members can satiate their gaming entertainment needs while simultaneously being immersed in a branded "sponsor friendly" environment. In particular, our custom solutions expose them to content and rewards that are specifically relevant and valuable to them. Second, members with high mile/point balances can redeem extra miles for game and social entertainment that also provides opportunities to compete for exclusive prizes and rewards for a fraction of the redemption or cash expenditure that would typically be required for access. Third, members with low mile/point balances can realize the immediate value of access to highly valued entertainment at low mile/point thresholds. The relevance and value of the program (and its products and services) is significantly increased as these members have access to the same high value prizes and rewards as members with high mile/point balances. Of course, at the partners' discretion we can segment and target specific content and rewards to create and manage the incentive environment preferred by the partner.

IF
And how does it benefit your partners that offer the game play?
Woods
Our platforms generate a range of value for our partners. However, broadly speaking, they all drive either increased program engagement with members and/or improved currency efficiency. Partner programs and their sponsors capture a significant portion of their members' diversionary entertainment time. Their programs become a destination that's a "fun" place to visit and stay for a while vs. just a place members conduct two to four minutes of perfunctory business prior to leaving to go login to Facebook. For example, based on our deployments with a diverse range of partners, the game launch page generally becomes one of the most visited pages (consistently ranking between number one to three). Our partners have also realized predictable and manageable levels of mile/point redemption and cash based currency participation.

IF
Do you plan to expand partnerships?
Woods
Absolutely. We believe the industry is generally going to see an expansion of interactive capabilities in 2013. As part of that general trend, we're in various stages of activity with a broad range of partners including several within North America.

IF
Any partners in the works you can share with us?
Woods
We anticipate being able to share news of additional partners within the coming weeks. Although I can't disclose anything at this time, I'll make sure InsideFlyer is the first to know of new developments.

IF
Will you be introducing new games in addition to those already offered?
Woods
With over 12 years of casual game development experience, we have created an extensive library of fun and compelling casual games. Subsequently our partner game portfolios are regularly refreshed with new games tailored to fit their particular program objectives. The most exciting news in this area is our just released Music Games platform. Music Games combine casual game play and compelling music content into a single, branded interactive engagement point for programs and their members. The platform will also be integrated with our partners' digital rewards stores to provide a dynamic channel for sales of music downloads. It's available to partners as a content rich, fully managed modular extension of their core casual game program or as a stand-alone platform.


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