/ Best Practices

How long should a scavenger hunt be?

“So, uh, how long should this be?” – Most scavenger hunt creators

When I first start talking to someone about using GooseChase, one of the most common questions I get is “how long should this be?”. While there’s no perfect length, we have noticed that there are three types of scavenger hunts that seem to work well in many situations. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses, but 9 times out of 10 one of them will align perfectly with your use case. Every event is still unique, but making sure you have the proper timeline for your event will make sure you get the most you can out of it! So without further ado, here are three common scavenger hunt lengths that you should consider.

The Quickie

First off, the quickie. This works perfectly as a hit of excitement to boost the energy level of an event. It shouldn’t be the primary focus of a gathering since it’s too short, but if you are looking for a way to mix it up without a lot of time flexibility, this is it. We’ve seen these work incredibly well during breaks at conferences, picnics as well as mid-afternoon breaks at work.

Metaphor: 200m sprint

Target length: 30-45 minutes game-time + 15 min for organization and wrap-up.

Number of missions: 20-30 relatively quick missions (Interactions with Strangers with a handful of Mini-Flash Mobs are good here)

The Afternoon Delight

Next we have the afternoon delight. This is a full on blitz of scavenger hunt glory. When the participants come together, it’s to go for gold and nothing else. That’s not to say it can’t be included as a component within a bigger event, but during that time, the focus is only on the scavenger hunt. Some great examples of afternoon delight’s are team building events, a weekend game with your friends or a charity fundraiser.

Metaphor: 5,000m run

Target duration: 1.5 hours of game-time, 30 min for organization (this can be pushed a bit longer if required, but be careful or else it might get a bit tiring).

Number of missions: 35-50 varied missions (A 40/40/20 split of Interactions with StrangersMini-Flash Mobs, and Challenges that Push You is good here)

The Tortoise

Finally we have the tortoise. Just like the fable, slow and steady is needed to win here. It’s not as common for a fun weekend activity, but it does seem to be a perfect fit for conferences and marketing activations. The key is finding challenges that will keep people entertained and excited, but not interfere too much with their day-to-day obligations. The added bonus is you can include more challenging missions since participants have a longer time to figure them out.

Metaphor: Marathon

Target duration: 2-7 days (can be shorter for events like golf tournaments or one day conferences, but the sweet spot is 2-7 days).

Number of missions: 50-100 varied missions (A 20/20/60 split of Interactions with StrangersMini-Flash Mobs, and Challenges that Push You is good here)

At the end of the day, there’s no hard rules about how long a scavenger hunt can be. If you want to drop a Tortoise to 8 hours of game-time, it’s not a problem. But remember that most of us have limited attention spans. So before you boost an Afternoon Delight to 3 hours, keep in mind that it might be hard to maintain the excitement level for that long.

Still not sure how long your scavenger hunt should go for? Drop us a line and I’ll be happy to help! Absolutely no pressure, we just enjoy scavenger hunts.

Happy scavenger hunting!