Organisers are always looking for new and better ways to make their events more engaging and entertaining for attendees. As is increasingly the case, it is technology that is providing the most inspiring innovations. Here, we’ll look at NFC (near field communication), a technology that has been having a significant impact in the events sector over recent years and which can be used in a range of creative ways.
- Easier management
Many events companies offer additional items during ticket sales, such as food and drink, parking and merchandise. NFC makes the management of these multiple purchases easier as all of them, the ticket included, can be stored on devices like smart cards and wristbands. These devices, available from Universal Smart Cards, are scanned by a reader rather than manually checked, reducing entrance queues and speeding up the process of obtaining purchased items once inside.
As NFC tickets cannot be counterfeited, they also reduce the potential of fraud and prevent the operation of ticket touts.
Making attendees feel special is key to ensuring a successful event and one way to do this is through personalisation, where guests are treated in a way that meets their individual needs or desires. NFC enables you to offer this in a number of ways. For example, when a guest enters with an NFC enabled invite, tapping it on a reader can open a computer screen that tells staff all their details – their name, company, whether they are a VIP guest, what their preferences are, together with a list of personalised ‘dos and don’ts’ that ensure your service makes them happy. This could mean they are addressed by name on arrival, given a drink that you know they like and ushered to their reserved seat or VIP area.
- Cashless vending
The acceptance of cash payments at events can be problematic. It slows down service when guests are queuing to buy things, leading to frustration and fewer sales, and it results in hours of expensive admin time needed to tally up the cash and do the necessary bookkeeping. There is also the risk of the cash being stolen or going missing.
The use of NFC wristbands and smart cards can stop these problems completely, as they can operate as prepaid payment solutions and be used for cashless vending. Guests can add money to their NFC device using mobile phone apps and when they are at your event, all they need to do to pay is tap their card or wristband on the payment reader. There’s no fumbling for cash or the counting of change to slow things down so the service is quicker, enabling more people to get served.
Gamification is one of the hottest new trends in marketing, using the elements of game playing, such as competition, levelling up and point scoring to encourage engagement with brands, products and events. It’s particularly attractive to the younger, tech-native generation who have grown up playing games on their phones as well as on Xbox, Nintendo and PlayStation.
Using NFC, events organisers can create live action game situations which involve a mix of digital and real-world participation. An example of this is placing highly visual signs around your event each with an NFC tag attached. When the attendees tap their phones, they are provided with a game task for which they’ll receive points when successfully completed. To encourage competition, the scores or best times can be digitally displayed on a leader board. The tasks you provide for your guests can be linked to the theme of your event.
- Attendee social media sharing
Spreading the news about your event on social media is a fantastic way to increase interest from potential guests. While your marketing team will no doubt be doing their share of posting, getting your guests to post about your event on their accounts can extend your reach to another level.
This can be achieved through the use of NFC. Adding NFC tags to posters, beer mats, champagne bottles or any other item enables them to share details of your events online. They can check in when they arrive, post branded links, upload photos and much more. Some events companies even provide photographic green screens where selfie-loving Instagrammers can snap themselves against exciting backdrops that feature the event’s branding.
- Event data
The final benefit of using NFC at events is that every time a tag is used, valuable data is generated that can improve events in the future. For example, it can show the most and least popular activities or which products sell and don’t’ sell. It can indicate who attends, how long they attend for and how much they spend while there. With this data available, events managers can better understand which elements of their events are the most successful, helping them to improve the customer experience in the future.
Affordable and easy to implement, NFC can be used in a variety of ways to enhance the user experience, giving them personalised treatment, quicker and better service and opportunities to engage more. For the events company, it can be used to increase your marketing reach, make operations more efficient and customer friendly, and provide important data on which to make critical business decisions.