Since I started overlooking Venues for IHS Global Alliance in North America, the most interesting Venue upgrade I have noticed, is the adaptation of technology into the fan experience.
It started with Stadiums offering strong Wifi so the fan can check their fantasy scores in real time. And now, I can get a hot dog or merchandise brought straight to my seat, with a little help from everyone's best friend... their smart phone.
I got a good feel for the venue experience at Staples Center during a Lakers Game… they partnered with Tapin2. Founder Jordan Syms @Tap.in2 breaks down tech influences in his latest blog below:
Thriving in the "On-Demand Economy"
Mobile applications (apps) aren’t new, but the ways in which venues and event producers can capitalize on them has dramatically shifted. Today’s consumer uses apps to instantly get whatever they need in life—from food to dry cleaning. For venue managers and concessionaires instant gratification means consumers expect this experience everywhere they go—including live events. Now is the moment to leverage advances in mobile technology to put guests in control of their journey.
“The mobile phone is a bit like God – it’s omnipresent.” Joana Picq, Jampp
Uber does mobile well. The ride hailing service provider—whose market value is estimated to exceed $60 billion and availability covers more than 575 cities around the world—is a great case study. Soliciting a ride through Uber means plugging in your destination on your mobile device where within seconds your driver is notified where to pick you up and where you want to go. Transparency in price, transparency in destination, as well as a simple user experience are key reasons the ride-hailing company is considered the market leader in the face of competition from peer service Lyft and from traditional taxi cab companies. Another Uber lesson is their rapid response to complaints. Customers now expect to receive credit within moments of any service breakdown instead of the multi-day solutions of the past. Understanding this consumer psychology is integral for thriving in the new economy.
What does this mean for you?
The mass adoption of intuitive smartphone and tablet apps as a vehicle for services and products epitomize the on-demand economy. According to the 2016 U.S. Mobile App Report issued by leading digital media tracking firm comScore, 81% of the U.S. population owns a smartphone with projections for even greater smartphone adoption by 2020.
Consumers now expect instant gratification at the push of a button. For live event venue operators and concessionaires this is a watershed moment to transform your guest experience while gathering actionable data to foster greater engagement. Focusing on 3 key areas will allow you to employ a mobile-first mindset to revolutionize your operations and thrive in the on-demand economy:
1) Allow guests to customize their experience
2) Offer mobile purchasing opportunities
3) Implement a mobile app as your event or brand’s communication hub
#1. Allow Guests to Customize their Experience
Offering various ticket types and price points is an opening to allow guests to customize their journey. In early 2016, Disney World and Disneyland successfully rolled out a new ticket-price and availability model. While the new model increases a single-day ticket price during certain peak times of the year—think of long lines during spring and summer break and major U.S. holiday’s—it also provides a cost structure and calendar so that a guest can buy reduced tickets on low-demand days.
Recently the National Hockey League’s Edmonton Oilers offered fans the opportunity to watch playoff home games at its standing-room only concourse. This season the team broke a 10-year playoff curse so regular seated tickets sold out quickly. This turned out to be a controversial decision that has its fair share of naysayers who think the move is more of a cash grab than regard for fans. Despite the critique, the standing-room only concourse tickets sold well and offered Oilers devotees who would have missed out the chance to watch the game live engulfed in the sights, sounds and smells of playoff action.
#2. Offer Mobile Purchasing Opportunities
Live events produce large crowds converging on venue concourses or festival grounds, resulting in long, and often frustrating, concession and retail lines. A significant number of guests simply skip the lines and do not spend the money they came to spend on drinks or merchandise. Losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars does not just impact revenue; it’s a missed opportunity to enhance a guest’s experience.
A 2015 survey led by Harris Interactive, commissioned on behalf of Ticketfly, looked at mobile phone usage at live events by adults. Notable among the survey’s findings is “two-thirds (66 percent) of smartphone owners age 18 - 34 who attend live events are interested in using their phone to pay for food, beverages and merchandise.”
Even more revealing, the survey showed how more than 60 percent of smartphone owners in the 18 - 34 age group who attend live events are interested in getting mobile notifications about offers for merchandise, food and beverages, and VIP access during an event. These findings should urge live event organizers to leverage mobile ordering technology to effectively cater to patron expectations.
#3. Implement a Mobile App to Serve as Your Communications Hub
In many ways apps are today’s newsletter or RSS feed. They are living, breathing tools to engage your community around content including videos, audio, and even social media. Whether you are a performing artist, convention center or sports team, an app is a useful addition to your guest experience arsenal.
While websites required for playing in the live event world, apps are excellent tools to represent your brand and drive communications with your audience. Websites can definitely be informative and creatively designed to wow your target. However, because apps are directly connected to specific guest devices they allow you another layer of live communication; they allow you to send notifications about relevant event updates.
The rise of internet-connected mobile devices has created more access points to engage with guests who are accustomed to on-demand services. Operators must understand that in the on-demand economy consumers are looking for speed of service and personalization. Employing a mobile mindset is crucial for enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.