When Digital Meets Live Events

Eric Janssen is Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of global cashless payment, access control, and brand amplification company, Intellitix. In this article, Eric explores how digital is revolutionising live events.

Event organisers all over the world are ditching physical cash and concession tokens onsite and adopting more efficient cashless payment systems. From Oyster Cards to mobile payments, the cashless revolution has truly begun.

Digital experiences and live events go hand in hand, and with the peak of festival season upon us, we’ve seen a true shift in the adoption of new technology at some of the summer’s largest events. Many of the festival world’s most well-known, well-respected names have successfully implemented cashless payment technology including TomorrowWorld, Electric Daisy Carnival, Mysteryland, Rock in Rio, and Taste Festivals.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is at the forefront of this revolution, bringing huge benefits to brands and live events. So why all the hype about fully cashless events and what does this really mean for your brand?

Cashless Payments

RFID technology enables festivals and other live events to benefit from a cashless payment system that is accessible to 100% of the audience, unlike NFC which requires all users to have a fully-functioning smartphone – not easy in an open air, multi-day festival environment. With our closed-loop system, patrons link their wristband(s) and pre-load digital currency into their account, which can be done online in advance of the festival or on-site at a physical Top-up Station. With a double-tap of their wearable tech, patrons can make quick and easy purchases for food, drink or merchandise, while eradicating long queues, ensuring festival-goers spend more time enjoying the festival.

Cashless payment systems eliminate the need to carry cash, providing users with optimal convenience and security. For the organiser, real-time reporting of all transactions delivers unprecedented audience insight, eliminates fraud, and ensures countless hours aren’t wasted counting or weighing physical tokens. Festivals that have gone 100% cashless have also proven to increase spend per head by 15-30% – and sometimes much more.

There are also options to set-up ‘Auto Top-up’, which automatically loads credit to a user’s cashless account when their balance falls below a pre-determined amount, so the patron’s purchasing experience is never interrupted. The ‘Shared Family Account’ feature enables multiple users to share from the same pool of funds in an account. All transactions are digitally recorded and registered users receive email notifications after every purchase, allowing for complete transparency. Patrons also receive refunds for any leftover credit that wasn’t spent at the event.

Due to the abundance of cost-saving and revenue-generating benefits, many of the summer’s biggest music festivals are keen to adopt cashless payment systems, if they haven’t already, and as we see a shift in attitudes, this trend is set to continue.

Access Control

Gone are the days of the paper ticket; RFID wristbands have been used for entry by some of the largest events in the world including Coachella, Bonnaroo, Stagecoach, and Tomorrowland. The use of RFID entrance portals and handheld readers securely and efficiently manage access control to your event site. This technology allows organisers to manage patron traffic in real-time, ensuring smooth patron flow through the entire event site – such as VIP sections, artist compounds, camping, and production areas, all under a single system.

2015 is the year of ‘Big Data’ and data technology is everywhere, including the festival scene. Promoters and organisers are ever-increasingly looking for ways to amalgamate all of their data and this is where RFID is proving invaluable.

The data extracted from our platform allows for great post-event analysis, enabling organisers to personalise the festival experience and improve the choices and experiences offered for future attendees. By analysing crowd movements and purchasing behaviour and by identifying what aspects of your festival are the most popular, organisers are able to tailor their offerings to ensure they’re giving patrons exactly what they want.

This data capture also allows marketers to refine their marketing campaigns, create loyalty programs, personalised offers and incentives, or simply define the best way, and time, to communicate with patrons. Organisers can also keep in touch with their customers by sending pre-sale information, custom playlists, and other targeted content based on their purchasing behaviour or movement throughout the festival site.

Brand Activation

Brand partnerships are the foundation of many live events and organisers are increasingly being tasked with finding new and innovative ways to connect their brands with event audiences. Highly immersive branded events that have leveraged RFID technology include The Ryder Cup, UEFA Champions League and Bonnaroo.

As social media continues to be completely ingrained in our everyday lives, live tweeting has become the norm, with event attendees posting their selfies and experiences throughout the festival in real-time. By deploying on-site brand experiences that are on-point and relevant to visitors, social engagements enrich their event experience without being invasive.

RFID technology is enabling organisers to creatively bring interactive sponsorship and targeted brand content to the live event space. Through the introduction of brand amplification opportunities across the event site, sponsors are able to elevate their brand experience and create strong connections with attendees. Brand activation deployments such as social media ‘check in zones’, gamification and live scoreboards, voting, instant wins and contest giveaways, and photo booth stations encourage patrons to interact with your brand in a fun and engaging way.

Innovative brand activity leads to inflated social media engagement, which creates an instant digital connection between brand partners and audience members on-site. The exponential growth of social media activity and impressions work to market your brand to the digital world and ensure your event and sponsors are even seen by those who didn’t attend.