Chances are, you’ve heard the buzz about RFID for events. The wireless event tech has become standard at the country’s top music festivals, with fans proudly wearing their RFID wristbands year-round like badges of honor.
But RFID (which stands for Radio Frequency Identification) isn’t just for the huge music festivals anymore. From cashless food and drink festivals to races using RFID badges, the tech can be used for all types of events to delight attendees with shorter lines and interactive experiences.
The benefits of RFID for events go far and wide for organizers and their attendees alike. Fans can choose to link their emails, social media profiles, and even wallet with their RFID wristbands or badges before the event to engage in new ways day-of. Beyond streamlining entry and lines within the event, RFID enables fans to connect in new ways with you, your sponsors, and each other.
Here are the 10 most exciting things you can do with RFID at your event:
1. Get attendees inside quickly
No one enjoys waiting in lines. One of the best things about RFID is that it can seriously speed up event entrance. When SnowGlobe Music Festival switched to RFID, they were able to scan in more than 20 people per minute at each gate. That’s upwards of 1,200 people per hour for each scanner.
With RFID, attendees simply wave their wristband or badge over a sensor to get in. No more digging in purses to find tickets, or struggling to make scanners process wet or wrinkled barcodes. The tech can seamlessly handle re-entry for multi-day events, or provide easy access to multiple zones within an event (like a VIP area).
This also makes it easier for your security team, who no longer has to be trained to operate and interpret scanning equipment. Instead, the RFID equipment simply lights up green (“go”) or red (“stop”) when scanned. This reduces the human error of ticket scanning, and helps cut down on staff needed at the gates.
2. Improve your event with real-time insights
RFID gives you immediate insight into how foot traffic flows through your event. For multi-day events, this means you can use RFID 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 performers or speakers were most popular.
3. Eliminate fraud
Unlike traditional print-at-home tickets, RFID 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.
4. 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 RFID 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.
5. Strengthen connections with sponsors
RFID creates new ways for sponsors to engage your attendees in fun and interactive experiences. With RFID 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.
6. Upgrade attendee engagement onsite
Once attendees receive their RFID badge or wristbands, there are endless ways to engage on-site. One of the most popular is RFID-enabled photo booths. By simply tapping their wristband or badge at the photo booth, attendees can automatically email themselves their pictures. This option is especially popular for sponsor activations, as a way to engage attendees and collect their contact information for lead generation.
7. Expand the VIP experience
You may want to give VIPs an elevated customer service experience. RFID allows you to resolve their customer service requests wherever they are on-site. Using handheld devices, your staff can look up and replace RFID wristbands as soon as VIPs have an issue.
RFID also opens up new doors to drive revenue by offering on-site VIP upgrades. In the future, you could use RFID to let General Admission attendees instantly upgrade their access level to gain entry to a VIP area. That means happier attendees, and more revenue in your pocket.
8. Simplify the box office and check-in process
No attendee wants to wait in line for hours on-site to pick up their badge or wristband. With advanced fulfillment, badges or wristbands come right to your attendee’s home. Instead of box office complaints, you’ll be seeing excitement all over social media when attendees receive the package weeks before the event.
And for events with lots of last-minute sales, organizers can speed up fulfillment by assigning RFID 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 RFID on the spot — eliminating chaos for staff and getting attendees inside faster.
9. Impress your attendees
There’s no denying one of the biggest draws of RFID: it ups your event’s cool factor. The moment fans receive their RFID wristband or badge in the mail, the excitement for your event begins to build on social media. And after the event, many people love to keep RFID wristbands on for months to remember the awesome experience. If you get creative with design, you can generate loyalty among existing attendees — and spread serious FOMO to everyone else.
10. Get to know your audience on a whole new level
Because attendees often buy tickets in bulk or register as a group, you potentially only collect data on the ticket purchaser. That prevents you from truly understanding who your attendees are. With RFID wristbands, all individuals are encouraged to register their wristband, even if someone else bought their ticket. That means more email addresses to use when marketing future events, and more information you can use to prove value to sponsors.
Combined with the insights on where each fan is going and engaging on-site, RFID enables organizers to make each year even bigger and better.