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The benefits of going cashless

by Nicola Macdonald

Behavioural data, accurate sales figures, faster visitor entry – EN checks out the benefits of making the move away from cash payments.


Contactless payment is becoming an accepted fact of life in the UK. While you might occasionally come across the occasional vendor demanding cash payments, or God forbid the now eternal-seeming chip and pin entry, contactless has undeniably sped up the payment process. 

And, of course, it was practically inevitable that this trend would make the move over to the events industry. When we talk about cashless events and venues, that can either mean encouraging customers to pay with bank cards rather than cash, or it can mean providing a branded cashless solution. tappit is just one of the companies in the industry specialising in radio-frequency identification (RFID) cashless solutions. 

“Working with us can deliver benefits like reduced queues, quicker transaction times and enhanced payment security,” comments tappit CEO Jason Thomas. “We also provide event organisers with the tools and insight to improve their events, working closely alongside them to analyse the data and make suggested changes to ensure that the fans of these events have the best possible time.

tappit extended its shirt sponsorship deal at Bury FC’s Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane by three years in early 2018. The deal also saw Bury FC season cards have been loaded onto tappit cards to be used by fans to quickly and easily enter the grounds. 

“It has been really exciting working with BFC, as well as our other football partners,” continues Thomas. “With Bury, they were the first to see the benefits of implementing cashless at their ground. Our partnership has enabled us to work closely with the team and see that, regardless of your league or size of your crowd, the benefits of going cashless provide are appreciated by fans and help the club understand their audience. The club is seeing the value already – less queues, faster transactions, easier reporting and, most importantly, the fans are getting a better experience.”

The reporting element – allowing organisers and venues to gain important behavioural information about their visitors and fans – may be of particular interest in an age where audience data is growing in importance. With cashless tappit cards, organisers are able to see real-time crowd behaviour and track sales. 

“It is a misconception that implementing a cashless system is going to be time consuming and require complex IT implementation,” adds Thomas. “We would advise our clients to embrace the possibility of change as cashless technology can now be integrated quickly, utilising existing systems and without disruption or downtime.”

The other option for moving into the cashless world is encouraging visitors to move away from cash towards card payments at events. This was a process implemented by Amadeus, the NEC Group caterer, at the Resorts World Arena from November 2017. 

“As part of the cashless drive, Amadeus removed cash from all EPOS tills on F&B concessions to encourage customers to pay by card (contactless or chip and pin), with one mobile POS cash till per concession in reserve just in case customers could not pay by card,” explains Kevin Watson, managing director, Amadeus. “Many people attending events still believe that they need to bring cash with them to pay for food and drinks so we launched a marketing campaign named ‘Queue less, miss less, cashless’, designed to influence customer behaviour – and get visitors to leave their cash at home.

“Following this we saw a dramatic shift in purchasing patterns. Prior to the initiative, 70 per cent of F&B transactions were being paid for in cash – since November 2017, this has reduced to just 15 per cent, with 85 per cent of transactions being made on card.”

Following the success of the initiative at Resorts World Arena, Amadeus launched the ‘Queue less, miss less, cashless’ initiative at the NEC in early 2018, which saw all Amadeus run food and drink outlets go cashless. 

“The initiative has been designed to benefit the customer by helping to reduce queues, allowing them to enjoy more time at the event or exhibition they came to visit,” says Watson. “Cashless has been so successful that we decided to roll out the initiative across all the venues we cater for.”

When it comes to the future of cashless, concludes Thomas, the industry will only be continuing to embrace the technology. 

“We’re seeing events venues themselves becoming increasingly tech friendly and in some cases tech-first,” he tells EN. “Our plans are to invest significantly in technology over the next three years and we have a number of exciting developments to be announced, all aimed at improving events for both the event organiser and the fan. We are also keeping a close eye on blockchain in ticketing, virtual reality and e-sports – there are huge opportunities to take entertainment to a whole new level.”

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