Category Archives: Roll Tickets and Tokens

Tyvek Wristbands

Forget Paper Tickets, it’s time for Wristbands Australia

Forget pink is the new black, wristbands are the new tickets!

Venues and events have struggled with paper tickets for years. Patrons lose them, they get smudged (especially barcodes), they can be passed from one person to another, they can be copied very quickly and easily, and quite honestly, they’re a bit dull.

In recent years, wristbands have taken the place of paper tickets at many venues and events because they counter all of the above weaknesses. This trend has increased with the introduction of digital wristbands that can be printed with unique barcodes and variable data (such as names, seating, show details etc). In essence each wristband can be 100% unique and accomplish everything a traditional paper ticket can.

Should your venue or event start dumping paper tickets and moving towards wristbands? Let’s take a look:

Wristbands are very hard to lose

Once a wristband is placed on the wrist of a patron, it is actually quite a challenge to lose it! To lose a secure identification wristband, someone would need to either spend FAR too much time trying to remove it, or take a pair of scissors to it. What you can be sure of is this – anyone who approaches your ticket booth claiming to have lost a wristband is very suspicious! It’s time for wristbands Australia!

Wristbands cannot be transferred to other patrons

Many events and venues complain of tickets being surreptitiously passed to non paying guests, allowing them access. Not only is this illegal of course and basically stealing, it represents a significant loss of revenue for the venue itself.

Wristbands are far easier for security staff

The process at the ‘door’ or ‘gate’ at an event that utilises paper tickets can be a frustrating one. Patrons are fumbling around looking for tickets, security staff are trying to scan the barcode or locate the ticket details in a dark environment. Mean while, another 300 patrons are lining up impatiently, not enjoying themselves, and not spending money on F&B!

Security staff can quickly and efficiently locate wristbands, scan them, check their details etc. A different colour can be used for specific events or sessions, allowing quick visual check to start with.

Wristbands can be bright and colourful

Your standard paper ticket will have black text on a white background. A wristband on the other hand can be bright, with neon colours available, allowing them to stand out in a dark environment.

The added benefit of such a variety of colours and styles that wristbands provide is that events can use them to differentiate between certain groups such as VIP’s or under age patrons.

For multi-day events, choose Wristbands Australia

Many events require multi-day access. This is especially true for music festivals. A ticket in these cases is not suitable because the chances of it being lost or damaged is greatly increased the longer it is in the hands of the patron. This situation only worsens when it rains or if the event is outside, or if the ticket needs to be handled on several occasions.

Wristbands, especially plastic wristbands and woven wristbands, can easily last several days without any loss of integrity, an still with very little risk of being lost or transferred to other people.

Wristbands can be multi-functional

Wristbands with detachable stubs can be used for checking your coat or even for redeeming a drink or other product. The wristband and the stub share the same number for security purposes.

Wristbands and technology

The main reason that wristbands can now be considered a viable ticketing option is because the technology and advancements associated with wristband printing have grown considerably. For a wristband to become a ticket in the truest sense of the word, it needs to be unique from one patron to the next. This is to allow, in the extreme, for individual seating at an event or venue.

Wristbands can achieve this firstly through barcoding. Tyvek wristbands, a very cost effective option, can now be uniquely barcoded with a number of barcode protocols, including 39 (sometimes called 3 of 9), 128 and 125 barcodes, amongst others. As well as this linear barcode, the barcode number itself will also be printed under the barcode as a human readable check.

Quick tangent – understanding barcodes. Barcodes are actually very simple. For the purposes of printing on tickets etc, think of barcodes as a font. To create a barcode, all we do is turn a specific number, say 12345678 in to a barcode using a special software. This is the equivalent of changing ABCDEFG in calibri to ABCDEFG in times new roman. The different barcode types listed above are basically different font types. Each comes out a little differently in terms of size and structure, just like a font. The only consideration a venue or event needs to make is what barcode type their scanning equipment works with.

Within the same process, a wristband can also be uniquely numbered if required.

RFID is the other technology that can transform a humble wristband in to an almighty wristband ticket. An RFID chip provides a unique ID number that can be scanned with great ease. Whilst a barcode needs to be scanned very carefully, an RFID chip can scanned from a few centimeters away.

RFID chips (or inlays) can be incorporated in to the production of several different types of wristbands, either single day photo image wristbands or multi-day woven wristbands. It’s time for RFID Wristbands Australia

Both barcoded wristbands and RFID wristbands can also be printed with variable data also. This might include seating details or even the patrons name, as well as session/event show details. With a unique barcode or RFID chip, as well as unique text printed on the wristband, the wristband is as functional as any paper ticket.

Systems

As with any consideration to ticketing, especially changing from paper tickets to wristbands, there would be changes required to operational procedures and possibly hardware. Certainly, staff would need to be re-trained as to the proper method for applying a wristband and door staff would need to recognise specific wristband types. All things considered though, the use of wristbands as tickets presents a variety of benefits to any event or venue.

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RFID wristbands

RFID wristbands for cashless events

For years, events have been enamored with the idea of cashless RFID wristbands and cashless environments at music festivals, parties and other events.

  • Patrons will spend more money!
  • Queuing time will be reduced!
  • We’ll need fewer staff!
  • We’ll collect data about peoples preferences and spending levels!

It’s an attractive proposition no doubt. Used correctly, all of the above statements are true. But they come at a monetary cost and it is up to events to determine how much value they are really receiving from going cashless, or how much extra value they can generate.

How does a cashless environment work with RFID Wristbands?

Right now, the majority of events operate either a cash bar, where patrons simply use cash to buy food and drinks on the day, or a system of paper tickets. Paper tickets, or roll tickets, may be printed with a value or a specific item i.e. LIGHT BEER, SOFT DRINK etc. Patrons buy their tickets/coupons at specific booths and then redeem their vouchers at the bar. Whilst this does require queuing and time to obtain the tickets themselves, the order processing time at the bar is far more efficient because no change needs to be given.

A cashless environment is normally implemented via the use of RFID wristbands. This has become pretty popular in the US and Europe, but has yet to really make a dent in Australia. Several Australian events, small and large, have trialed RFID for access control, social media integration and brand activation strategies, but the ‘cashless’ possibilities are really yet to be explored.

RFID wristbands work in conjunction with RFID compatible event management or POS systems. The RFID wristband is basically saying, every time it is scanned, “Hey! I’m patron #12345678”. The system, having been set-up correctly in advance, recognises that any received scan from wristband #12345678 is John Smith. All this requires is that the RFID number (often called the UID) is linked to the patron within the system, which is basically just another field of data.

The patron may be provided the option of loading credit to their account in advance. Alternatively, if they have received their RFID wristbands on the day, there will be various top up booths available where the patron can load credit on to their profile.

To make a purchase, the patron simply swipes their wristbands at a POS station, and the money is deducted from their profile. Easy.

Pros of the cashless environment

Cashless environments and RFID Wristbands do simplify the logistics and processes of many elements of the event scene. Access becomes automated too assuming your event chooses that option in the system set-up.

For those events where patrons can pre-load value to their profile / RFID wristbands, the barriers to spending are removed. No queuing for tickets. No waiting for change. No queuing for drinks. Just walk up, swipe, walk away, drink, repeat. It stands to reason, and is a key selling point of the system, that this results in more spending. At the very least, it makes for a better consumer experience.

Events will have access to much more data. All transactions and activities are recorded allowing planners to know when peak times are which in turn allows them to plan staffing levels accordingly. Buying preferences can also be recorded allowing future discussion on supply, costing, prices etc.

The use of RFID wristbands opens up a world of other possibilities. We’ve addressed the opportunities that exist within the worlds of social media integration and brand activation in other articles, but they are important to discuss here also. To alleviate the cost of RFID systems, an event should look to gain every possible advantage from the technology.

Social media integration is a big one. Allowing users to scan at certain spots to update social media profiles, or to take photos and tag people by simply swiping a wristband, is a great tool. Suddenly, many event managers are measuring things like “social media reach” in their event wrap-ups, something that would have sounded crazy a few years ago.

Brand activation is providing opportunities for sponsors or other partners to set-up booths, challenges, treasure hunts, or other ways to engage with patrons and doing so via RFID. Scan here to enter a competition. Scan at these 6 points to win a prize. The possibilities are vast.

Cons of the cashless environment

For most, it’s the cost. The major cost is that of the implementation of the system itself, scanners etc. Some company’s operate on a model whereby the system is very cost effective but then they take a percentage of all spending at the event. The second additional cost is that of the wristbands. Whilst this is not a major increase, it is still something that needs to be considered within the budget.

Of course, the big argument to the cost is that people will spend more. Strangely there are not many solid statistics that support this position, but the theory makes sense. Following a long day of fun where you may have spent $92 of your $100 uploaded to the system, what percentage of people would then queue up for 15 minutes to get that $8 back, knowing that they are also facing a walk to the carpark or bus and then a one hour sit in traffic to leave the event site? Even if half the people at a 5,000 person event said ‘forget it’, that is 2,500 people gifting $8 each to the event ($20,000!). Interesting.

The other con to using RFID is that it still makes some people uncomfortable. They don’t want their activities tracked, they don’t trust the technology with their personal and bank details etc. Many of these fears are actually unfounded. Nothing at all is actually stored on the RFID wristband itself – it is literally just announcing it’s unique number remember. All the personal data is still within the systems, as it is at any other event. Also, RFID wristbands are not GPS tracking devices; you cannot be tracked by your RFID wristband unless you scan it somewhere. Only then does the system say, “John Smith is in location X”.

The final word

RFID and RFID Wristbands have been ‘the next big thing’ for years, but are only now starting to really make in-roads. In Australia, it has been used for access control and some social media and brand activation strategies. As yet, cashless environments are not common at events. In the coming months and years, this will certainly change.

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roll tickets

Roll Tickets & Plastic Tokens

With technology advancing quickly, including RFID, it is incredible just how popular roll tickets and tokens remain within the event industry, especially at music festivals, fetes and shows. Whether they are used as a currency, as a ride pass or as a food or drink voucher, roll tickets have weathered the test of time and remain a vital cog within the event world.

Roll tickets & tokens as currency

The key use of roll tickets within the event industry is as a form of currency. Many events like to have their patrons exchange cash for roll tickets at specified booths. The idea is that it reduces the amount of cash changing hands at an event and allows service outlets, specifically food and beverage vendors, to serve customers faster. With tickets sequentially numbered, it is also possible for event organisers to keep a close eye on spending as the event progresses.

A key concern for many events is security and accountability of their staff. With so many tickets in the area, representing a very high monetary value, keeping tabs of these is crucial. Numbering of tickets allows accountability, with staff tasked to record the sequence of numbers they have distributed in each transaction.

The added benefit of using roll tickets for an event organiser is that customers will often leave the event with left over tickets in their pocket, which means they have spent money but not actually exchanged the tickets for products or services at the event. This is the equivalent of throwing money away, but you’d be surprised at how often it happens.

Music festivals will often assign roll tickets a specific value, i.e. $1, $2 etc. Along with the different values, the roll tickets will be printed a different colour, to further differentiate the values for customers and staff. These values will be tied in with the pricing of food and beverages at the event, ensuring that customers can spend easily.

Roll tickets as ride passes

Amusement parks, schools and fetes commonly use roll tickets as ride passes, selling strips of 10 tickets for $20, or similar. The patrons then exchange the tickets at each ride to gain access. The alternative for fetes and festivals is the use of ride wristbands. Here in Australia, most schools running fetes and fairs will offer a ride wristband for $20-30 and this entitles the wearer to access  rides for the day. The use of ride wristbands reduces the likelihood of lost tickets (because the wristbands are non transferable and need to be cut to be removed), and ensures a quick and easy method of identification for ride staff.

Roll tickets as food and drink vouchers

Many events print other messages on roll tickets such as DRINK, BEER, LIGHT BEER, WINE, SOFT DRINK, FOOD, BUS PASS etc dependent on the area or process they need to control. As these are generally held in stock by suppliers, these make excellent low-cost (often last minute) solutions. For larger events, these are also often used as standard artwork terms, along with the event logo and T&C’s, to control spending.

Roll tickets and security

Due to their high value and importance to an event (a box of 10,000 roll tickets, each printed with a $5 value is worth, of course, $50,000), security measures are often taken. The most common is to sequentially number the roll tickets, as this also allows for greater operational control and monitoring during an event.

In order to prevent photocopying of roll tickets, the most secure option is to utilise foil roll tickets. The special foil material will reflect light within a photocopier and the re-production will appear black. Foil tickers are much harder to forge and replicate than standard paper tickets. They also remain highly visible throughout the duration of the event.

Keeping roll ticket designs secure for as long as possible is crucial, as is protecting your roll ticket stock once it is printed and has arrived at your venue or event. Too often, deliveries go missing when on site at an event and in the case of roll tickets, this can ruin the event.

Roll tickets vs plastic tokens

The main criticism of roll tickets is their durability. Because they are made from paper, and are relatively thin, roll rickets are easily destroyed, especially when exposed to the elements. Often at multi-day music festivals, a patron may buy several days worth of roll tickets on the first day, which means the tickets are often handled for several days before use. That, combined with rain and other wet conditions, can result in soggy and illegible roll tickets.

Plastic tokens represent a viable alternative to paper roll tickets. Events who use plastic tokens report an 85% return rate for the tokens, which can then be used at future events, reducing the cost of subsequent events. Plastic tokens can be embossed of custom printed on one or both sides, allowing an event to add a value as well as their logo, creating a currency of sorts. It is recommended that the colours used are rotating on a two or three yearly cycle.

Roll tickets vs RFID… the great threat

The greatest threat to roll tickets is RFID technology. Some music festivals have moved their internal currency to an entirely cashless solution. This requires RFID wristbands and suitable RFID systems, with patrons loading value to their wristbands and then simply scanning at a vendor stall to purchase something. These kinds of solutions remove the need for roll tickets completely. But, while RFID does pose a significant threat to roll tickets, it is far more expensive. Unless tied in with other functionality such as social media integration, access control or brand activation strategies, the expense can be cost prohibitive.

The core benefit of dumping roll tickets in favour of RFID wristbands is the ease of payment. Initial studies from Disney following the launch of their MagicBand has shown that expenditure per guest has increased once the move to RFID was made. As above though, Disney incorporates a range of other functionality and services that add further value to the RFID system.

The same theory exists within the event industry, with the notion that making payments easier will result in an increase in expenditure. Guests are also more likely to leave value sitting in their account at the end of an event.

Roll tickets and tokens are a cost effective way to control and monitor spending and activities at events and festivals. Until RFID solutions become significantly cheaper to implement, this is not going to change.

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