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The event planner’s guide to RFID technology

Chances are you've heard the buzz about RFID for events. This wireless event technology has become standard at today’s top music festivals, with music fans proudly wearing their RFID wristbands year-round like badges of honour. However, RFID (which stands for radio frequency identification) isn’t just for the huge music festivals anymore. From business conferences to sporting events, RFID can be used for events of all types. The benefits of RFID go far and wide for organisers and their attendees alike.

If you’re an RFID novice and are interested in integrating it into some of your upcoming events, here’s your guide. Keep reading to learn more about RFID event solutions, how it works, and why it’s beneficial to organisers today.

What is RFID and how does it work?

RFID is a wireless, non-contact use of radio frequency waves to transfer data. Although the term may sound like futuristic jargon, it’s likely that you’re already familiar with its uses. If you’ve ever used a hotel door-entry card or a motorway toll tag, you’ve used RFID. In fact, the original usage of RFID dates back to the World War II era, but it became widely adopted in the 1970s when a US patent was granted for an active RFID tag with rewritable memory. RFID works by enabling a chip embedded in a card, badge, or wristband to communicate with a scanner via a radio signal. An RFID system consists of two types of devices: RFID readers and RFID tags. The RFID tag stores and processes information and unlike barcodes, which must be scanned to capture the relevant data, RFID tags can be read when they’re in proximity of the scanner. This is why many RFID technologies are created in the form of wearables: the user can simply hold up a wristband or badge in order for the tag to be read.

The benefits of RFID for event planning

RFID has quickly become a popular tool in event management, enhancing the experience for both attendees and planners alike. As opportunities for RFID in events continues to expand, it’s time to familiarise yourself with the many features it offers. Here are a few of RFID’s benefits for event planning already in use today:

Replace manual payments

You can now replace inefficient cash handling with secure RFID cashless payments, which can help boost spending with a quick tap-and-go method. Event attendees simply use an event’s cashless app where they can top-up their RFID wristband before attending, or during an event. This enables them to make payments with a quick tap of an RFID reader when purchasing items such as merchandise or beverages within the event, making the venue completely cashless. Having a cashless payment system at your event can increase customer spend by up to 30% across beverage and merchandise stalls within your venue. It is said to be a psychological factor that customers are more likely to spend money when then aren’t handing over cash or swiping their debit/credit card, meaning you are more likely to increase sales by providing attendees with an RFID wristband.

Event organisers can also use a digital token system where they can load attendees wristbands with pre-paid credits to spend. This is great for increasing the buzz around your event before it begins, as event managers can offer exclusive wristband offers for attendees which could influence their buying decision. Digital tokens are also great for internal company events, such as corporate staff parties. This makes it possible for the business to provide their employees with credit-loaded wristbands, which is good for sit down meals, or events with bars where employers want to offer their employees free food or beverages.

Increases data capture

RFID solutions have enabled event planners to gather more data than ever before. Real-time information has allotted event teams with access to attendee patterns and preferences, detailing guests’ ages, emails, purchasing habits, and even areas at the event that they’re populating. Gaining attendee data additionally optimises event sponsorship, allowing data exchange to become an incentive for potential sponsors. RFID technology unlocks a huge potential to reach out to your guests far beyond the event itself. Engage with target audiences through post-event communications to drive future sales and build loyalty for the event, vendors, and sponsors.

Flexibility at conference events

RFID is a simple solution for managing multi-day entry or even exclusive access to VIP areas. It has eliminated the need for multiple or specialized tickets, as all information on the guests’ admission options is stored in a single wristband. This increases opportunities for tiered ticketing rates and RFID offers an easier way to manage the attendee statuses. You can offer VIP opportunities at exclusive networking events and business conferences or even merchandise packages at sports games. This not only heightens the event experience for attendees but allows you, as the event planner, to effectively boost profit margins.

Just knowing what RFID is can be the first step to effectively implementing it in your next event. Technology no doubt will continue to play a major role in event planning and management, so be sure to study the latest trends and learn how they can make your events even more spectacular.

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