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Use Venue Intelligence to Plan Smarter Events

Venue Intelligence for access control and capacity management

Venue intelligence is knowing who is doing what, when and where, and then drawing conclusions about why. RFID credentials are a simple but essential tool to learn what you need to know about how your guests experience your venue.

Smart homes and the smart things in them are all about what they do: adjust the thermostat, turn the lights on and off, moderate energy usage, reorder something that’s running low in the refrigerator. “Smart” buildings are smart at the level of computers: they help us out through clever and convenient applications of stimulus and response. But they lack actual intelligence. We still need humans for that, and humans need information. Lots of it.

Venue-wide RFID systems provide facility managers what they need to make their building operations truly intelligent. Operators are limited only by their creativity in thinking of what information they want and how they need to lay out their in-venue system to gather it.

Intelligent venues have satisfied customers

Nearly all applications of venue intelligence relate to improving the fan experience. RFID systems provide immediate as well as long-term data about crowd behavior at your venue.

RFID sensors can identify real-time hot spots, areas that have a higher than usual or disproportionate number of attendees at a given time. For example, even though your concession areas are evenly distributed around the venue, they don’t always have an evenly distributed share of concession-buying fans at a given time. Receipts can only give you part of the picture: the sales that happened. They can’t tell you how many people grew frustrated waiting in line and therefore went back to their seats unsatisfied. They don’t tell you how many people stopped in front of one stand before making their purchase from another, a possible indication that there’s something superficially appealing about that stand that doesn’t hold up to customer scrutiny and decision-making.

The intelligence provided by RFID sensors can cue you in to which concessionaires are falling short of their potential: the ones who attract interest but do not convert at the same levels as others; the ones that always seem to get the overflow from other stands, perhaps indicating a logistics or personnel issue; or those that may do better elsewhere in the venue.

How could RFID inform amenity placement decisions?

RFID does not just track bodies moving through space. RFID connects your guests to your venues. You’ll know something about those people who are deciding to make a purchase or not, or the ones who seem just on the edge of trying something new before going back to their old standby.

By connecting each visitor’s RFID credential to your CRM – something very easy to do with RFID-enabled tickets – you’ll have insights into how well your venue is matching your fans.

Maybe it was a mistake to put your top-line food & beverage outlets close to your hard-core supporters’ seating area. On the surface, it made sense to make your A-list offerings convenient to your A-list fans. But they’re there to watch the game, not sample this week’s presentation of locally-sourced chef-prepared meals. Meanwhile, you noticed that your more casual fans are making the trip to the far side of the stadium because they come for the full venue experience, of which the game is only one part of many. They may not attend as regularly and buy as much merchandise, but they are much more likely to share the game, the food and their seats on social media.

Now that you know that fans and foodies are two distinct parts of your audience, you can better cater to both.

In-the-moment venue intelligence for the most pressing fan needs

Data sourced from RFID systems often has immediate and long-term applications. For many fans, few aspects of their in-venue experience has as much immediacy as going to the bathroom. Unlike food and merchandise sales, that’s one thing that will never have in-seat service.

RFID can let you know how long the lines are at the bathrooms in your venue, and you can then relay that information to your fans. Fans can check the venue app to know which restroom has the shortest line before getting out of their seats: maybe it’ll be quicker to go to the one a little farther away. Display boards on the concourse can direct people to the most convenient restroom based on distance and wait-time. They can then decide if it’s worth the trip, or if they should hold out so they don’t miss the start of the bottom of the inning.

RFID connects fan traffic flow to sales and sponsorship revenue

Everyone marvels at the seemingly chaotic but perfectly coordinated movement of a flock of birds. Look closely enough – not with your eyes, but with data – and you might find something just as interesting and much more lucrative about your fans.

Like receipts and concessions, watching the entry and exit points of your facility only gives you part of the picture. RFID sensors can show you how people get around your venue. Are they doing it intelligently?

Perhaps people are still taking the long way around because, in your venue’s early days, there was a poorly designed bottleneck that you have since fixed. But because the attendees have not changed their behavior, they are taking an inefficient route and creating a new bottleneck. And maybe that’s why sales are so low at certain concession areas. Receipt data only tells you that their revenue is low. RFID-sourced fan behavior data tells you that they are converting the same number of passers-by as all the others, they simply do not enjoy the same foot traffic.

Similarly, are as many people as possible seeing your sponsor activation zones? Do you even know how many are?

A sponsor unhappy with their conversion rate may consider not renewing their contract or spending a lot of money in a new effort, when the responsibility lies with the venue. If you can figure that out and make amends before the sponsor does and make demands, you’ll be in a better position with that relationship. And, with the additional fan data, you can better price your sponsorships going forward.

RFID is the necessary link of venue intelligence

Venue intelligence is the next step in facility design and management. It’s as much about integrating existing information as it is gathering new data.

RFID credentials link what you know about your fans to the fans themselves and then to your venue, providing you with individual and aggregate data that you can use in the moment and for planning capital upgrades. Contact WW&L when you’re ready to take your venue from smart to intelligent.