• The Essential Guide to Digital Transformation

Chapter 4

Digital Transformation in the Event Industry

16 Mar, 2020

Why Events are undergoing Digital Transformation?

Imagine if you’re at a festival, it’s a boiling hot day. You decide to take a break and go and queue for an ice cream - great idea - you think. But, everyone else is feeling the same as you, and what you thought might be a small wait, ends up taking significantly longer than expected.
Finally you reach the end, but you’re told those dreaded words “CASH ONLY”. It’s a common scenario, but thankfully one that has started to change. Alternative payment methods have now seeped into the festival scene in a big way. And at Payzone, we think this is fantastic for the fun loving festival goers and the vendors themselves. So, why are cashless festivals on the rise?

Digital Transformation in Events, What is it?

When we talk about digital transformation, we think of the digitization of all the activities of a company. In other words, it is the process of integrating new technologies at all levels of a company. This means using different pillars such as mobility, Big Data or the world wide web. There are many ways to integrate digital transformation into an event. Indeed, new forms of technology have resulted in more modern techniques. For example, the development of the e-ticket in the 2000s was dazzling.
This is why the integration of digital into an event is inevitable. It can happen in different forms: whether by the dematerialization of tickets, the creation of a website for an event or the sending of personalized thank you emails. The digitalization is present at all stages of the process.
Nowadays, and with the constant evolution of our society, the world is evolving very fast. It is important to turn towards the digital, not only for all the benefits that it brings to the business, but also for the impact it will have on consumer behavior. By integrating the digital transformation into an event, we can easily attract attendees, because we are getting closer to consumers(in our industry our attendees). The digitalization of an event must be considered at all levels in order to feel connected to the participants. The goal is simple: make digital transformation a strength, by creating an environment known to participants, but original enough to surprise them and make your event exceptional.

What to expect?

Tomorrow, paper tickets will no longer exist and be replaced by facial recognition. We are already seeing the development of fingerprint sensors, so why not consider the spreading of iris readers? The question of safety during an event is essential and this type of control is an additional means of reinforcing the measures already deployed on site.
Similarly, with the ever-increasing performance of 360° cameras and the popularity of virtual reality headsets, it will be more and more common to offer 3D workshops during events. We can think of the establishment of virtual tours, or just the presentation of games in virtual reality. We know how important team spirit is during team building events, for example, and we need to know how to take advantage of the digital transformation to exploit all the possibilities at our disposal.
On the same principle, it will be much easier to present prototypes or future products thanks to augmented reality. By simply equipping your team with a tablet or smartphone, it will be possible to present to your audience all the possibilities of your business.
Finally, thanks to the digitalization of an event, statistics will be more easily measurable. Indeed, with the usage of sensors can be used to study the movements of participants, analyze the time they spent on some booths or just observe what type of conference they attended. Thanks to the results of these observations, it will be easier to adapt the events and thus, propose a format likely to suit your target even more.

How the event industry must adapt to digitalization?

Change has always been scary and having to adapt to a new way of working is never easy. The digitization process must be smooth. The importance is not to rush things and gradually move to use these new technologies. Digital transformation is inevitable if we want to maintain our level and face our competitors. The priority is therefore to train employees first. If your team is well prepared for digitalization, the process can be done without any problems.
Besides, consumers are becoming more impatient. This is why we must be able to react quickly to their requests. The first step may be the introduction of a chat for example, and always be available to answer their questions.
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Why cashless festivals is the Trend?

One of the most significant reasons for explaining the rise of cashless festivals is the technology that has emerged to replace cash. NFC has come in and shown itself to be a much quicker and convenient alternative to cash at festivals. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it allows festival goers to make payments via wristbands, which can be topped up by an event currency. Payments can then be made through a simple tap from one of these wristbands.
Reduces staggered queues and make sales faster
The use of NFC is important, but it is not just the technology itself, but rather, it is the reasons for adapting to these new methods which explain why more festivals are going cashless. And one significant reason for this was actually alluded to earlier. Nobody likes waiting in a long line to get something small like a bottle of water or a sandwich. And vendors really don’t like this either.

There is a lot of effort that comes with accepting cash on site at a festival. A vendor needs to operate a till, which can be a significant undertaking with customers who expect to get their food or drink quickly. Operating in a cashless festival can remove these barriers.
Less cash on site means better security
Think about it, vendors who accept just cash on festival sites, with thousands of people, is an invitation for theft. Adopting cashless mechanisms like NFC at festivals means that vendors don’t need to concern themselves with the possibility of getting cash stolen onsite. This is also excellent for festival attendees who want to let loose, but are concerned about dropping their wallets and losing their money. Cashless festivals eliminates these concerns and creates greater opportunities for more money to be spent. In many ways, it’s a win win situation - for the customer and the vendor.
Greater digital reach
The level of connectivity created from NFC to brands and sponsors creates unparalleled digital reach to new consumers. And whilst this isn’t necessarily a direct benefit to the vendors who come and pitch up, it does explain why event organisers and sponsors are so keen to take advantage of the greater marketing opportunities that come with cashless festivals.

8 Reasons Why you should Digitalize your Events

Upgrade attendee engagement

Once attendees receive their NFC badge or wristbands, there are endless ways to engage on-site. One of the most popular is NFC-enabled photo booths. By simply tapping their wristband at the photo booth, attendees can automatically email themselves their pictures. This option is especially popular as a way to collect contact information for lead generation.

VIP experience

You may want to give VIPs an elevated customer service experience. NFC allows you to resolve their customer service requests wherever they are on-site. Using handheld devices, your staff can look up and replace NFC wristbands as soon as VIPs have an issue.

Simplify process

For events with lots of last-minute sales, organizers can speed up fulfillment by assigning NFC badges and wristbands to attendees as they arrive on-site. Instead of searching for a pre-assigned badge or wristband for each attendee, staff can use a mobile app to assign NFC on the spot — eliminating chaos for staff and getting attendees inside faster.

Go cashless

Forget long lines at ATMs, or fans taking out their wallets time and time again. Now they can pay for food, drinks, or merchandise with a simple tap of their wrist. Attendees can add their payment information to their NFC tag before the event, making it easier than ever to buy. And because guests don’t have to carry cash or drink tickets in their pockets, they can stop worrying about loss or theft, and focus on enjoying your event.

Eliminate fraud

Unlike traditional print-at-home tickets, NFC chips have a unique identifier that makes them nearly impossible to duplicate — making counterfeit tickets a thing of the past. And if attendees lose their tickets, you can help them without worrying about copies. Since the tickets are associated with individual IDs, you can instantly deactivate the lost wristband or badge and issue a new one.

Strengthen sponsors

NFC creates new ways for sponsors to engage your attendees in fun and interactive experiences. With NFC wristbands, attendees can enter raffles, join competitions, or “vote” in a poll, all by simply tapping their wrist or showing their badge. This also allows sponsors to gather data without being intrusive. The best news for your sponsors? It’s easier than ever for them to track traffic to their booth and measure return on investment.

Real-time insights

NFC gives you immediate insight into how foot traffic flows through your event. For multi-day events, this means you can use NFC data from the first day to change your gate layout or add extra lanes. The data can help organizers learn where to place concession stands, toilets, and sponsor booths to eliminate bottlenecks within the event — or to figure out which area were most popular.

Get attendees inside quickly

No one enjoys waiting in lines. One of the best things about NFC is that it can seriously speed up event entrance. With NFC, attendees simply wave their wristband or badge over a sensor to get in. This also makes it easier for your security team, who no longer has to be trained to operate and interpret scanning equipment.

Implementation plan


Inform your audience

Since ultimately it is the guest who will be utilizing the new technology, you need to pre-emptively build a communications and marketing plan to engage and inform them. Use every communication channel and touch point available (website, e-mail, social media, print, etc.) and clearly explain what it is that you’re changing, how it’s going to work and most importantly, how it’s going to benefit the end-user. Set user expectations early on so there aren’t any surprises.

Educate your team

Educate your managers, vendor Partners, and front-line staff from the beginning. Provide information packs and explain how they can get involved, how the process works, and who they can rely on as a resource during the event. Your solution partner should be able to provide training pre-event, and be available during the event to ensure a seamless experience for vendors andvisitors.

Implementation plan


Adequate signage

Ensure your guests are directed throughout the event site with adequate signage for designated locations (e.g. Customer Service, Wristband/Ticket Pick-Up, Cashless Top-Ups. Consider adding them to the festival map and any promotional materials distributed to guests.

Educate front-line staff

Questions will arise, so make sure that you brief all staff on how the technology works, how it benefits guests, and any eventspecific policies such as in-andout privileges for Access Control or the refund policy for Cashless Payments. During an event, all of your front-line staff will become teachers! Security personnel, vendors, customer service reps, should all be aware of the NFC technology and key benefits

Implementation plan


Capitalize on loyality

Provide opportunities for your audience to engage with sponsors and vendors, download exclusive content and offers, purchase merchandise or get access to tickets for your next event. Why not send a personalized email with a summary of their event experience? Transactions, stage visits, social interactions. Give them a memento they’ll love.

Balance refund

With Cashless Payments, a great way to garner trust with guests is to offer them a balance refund at the end of an event. In fact, if your customers know that they’ll get a refund for any leftover balance, they may be encouraged to spend more during the event!


What worked well? What lessons did you learn for next year? A debrief session with your internal team and solution partner is a great way to develop key learnings to make next year’s event even better.

Why are cashless event important to consider in the digitization process?

Digital transformation is spreading rapidly and it is difficult to keep up to date of all developments. By making the digital transformation, you will save a lot of time. Why? Quite simply because today's technology has been able to effectively associate the human with the digital. Today's event management platform has been able to integrate the new features, created with the digitalization, into its operation and already offers state-of-the-art services. By trusting a platform, you avoid the worries of setting up digitalization and leave professional teams, already trained and mastering these new tools, manage for you the transition to digital.
The digital transformation in the event industry has already begun and is only accelerating. Digitizing your events is now essential if you want to be in tune with current trends. You want to get started but do not know where to start? Contact us! Our teams will be happy to help you and guide you in the right direction.

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