Scavenger hunts are fun, and clue hunts add a cerebral aspect that increases the challenge, but one factor that invariably spurs interest and enthusiasm is a reward at the end. Scavenger hunts that lead to a prize for the winner are better known as treasure hunts, and they are big business. Corporations often spend millions of dollars organizing treasure hunts to promote their products or services. A notable example of a high-stakes treasure hunt is the reality TV show The Amazing Race, which features teams that race around the globe competing for a million dollars.
You don’t have to offer a million dollars to construct your own treasure hunt. Scavenger hunts are exciting in and of themselves. A reward is just icing on the cake, even if the treasure is modest. That being said, it is very likely that adding a treasure to your hunt will increase the interest level of those who are invited to participate, even to the point of being willing to pay for entry. In fact, a treasure hunt makes a very good fundraiser. Requiring donations to enter can make it possible to offer a valuable reward, which entices even more paying contestants to participate.
Treasure hunts can be either traditional scavenger hunts with straightforward listed items, or they can be clue hunts that require the players to put forth more thought and effort. When treasure is involved, it is generally a better idea to increase the difficulty of your hunt. Players will be more than motivated to keep going until a winner is declared! Since more difficulty is preferred, a clue hunt or hybrid scavenger/clue hunt is recommended. Not only do clue hunts add more challenge, but they are normally easier to prepare, as mentioned in the clue hunt section.
The treasure you use for a reward will depend on who your treasure hunt is intended for. Children can usually be motivated easily by something as simple as candy or an inexpensive toy. Easter egg hunts are a perfect example. For teenagers and adults, you can never go wrong with a cash reward. Sometimes merchandise is a better option, particularly if it is donated or you can get a significant discount. If your treasure hunt has a theme, a reward based on the theme can be a good idea. For instance, if you based a treasure hunt on an Indiana Jones movie, a small statue or similar “artifact” would be well received. If there is a fee to participate in your treasure hunt, you should definitely make the reward worth the price of entry.