Smart Venue Visibility: Bringing the Fan into Focus
Smart Venues remove friction in the fan journey, create unforgettable in-person experiences, and incentivize fans to come back. No venue can identify 100% of fans in attendance; for many 20% is aspirational. If the purpose of the Smart Venue is to serve and delight fans, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Venues have a lot of work to do to bring the fan into focus. While this may seem like a Sisyphean task, a host of new technologies helps achieve this goal.
The Smart Venue Journey
The future of the fan journey is digital. What does this mean? We are rapidly moving towards a fully mobile fan-experience. Each of the touchpoints throughout the journey will be digital, which provides a transformational opportunity for venues. As each fan interaction will be data-generating, each touchpoint also provides an opportunity to bring the fan into focus or lose visibility.
Do You Know Who Is In Your Venue?
If venue operators, service designers and technology providers can work together on the project of fan visibility they achieve two smart venue imperatives: increase security and improve fan experience. With thousands of technology providers banging down the doors, these three groups need to share a vision for fan visibility.
Venue operations teams face increasing pressure to establish fan visibility from a security perspective. Easily transferrable tickets, secondary ticket markets, and bar-code-based entry allow fans to move anonymously through a venue. Software bots further complicate the process of connecting tickets to real-life fans. Operations teams cannot solve these problems alone, and there are tools to help, but many of these point-solutions (tools with a singular focus or use) simply deliver slivers of insight instead of a holistic picture.
Technology vendors develop solutions that address these problems, largely in categories that didn’t exist ten years ago. Navigating the terrain of facial recognition software, beacons, mobile wallets, mobile frequency access codes and loyalty programs is overwhelming for venue operators. While some vendors offer data warehousing and services that can help teams manage integration of multiple tools, not all teams have the budget or adequate business analytics staffing to fully benefit from these tools.
Venue design and architecture firms meticulously design a frictionless fan journey. For some venues, this process starts by examining their existing design, others have the luxury of designing from the ground up for an optimal service experience. Architectural houses like AECOM, Gensler and Populous are designing venues where fan experience is poured right into the cement.
Venues that can visualize the fan journey from ticket purchase to successful stadium entry will have a head start in on-site security. The possibilities for getting these imperatives right increase with each new technology solution on the market, as does the potential for failed implementations, embarrassing deployments and fan-facing service failures. While that risk may be enough to dissuade venue operators from wading into this territory, unfortunately they have no choice. While looking the other way may be tempting, the risk of limited visibility into tens of thousands of fans is too important for venue operators to avert their eyes.
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