Best Practices

Best Technology Upgrades for Stadiums

The restaurant and retail industries are in the midst of digitizing the customer journey, empowering customers to make choices from their own devices.Stadiums have the opportunity to join in on the fun—and on the profits.Digitization strategies can help stadiums ensure safety. Likewise, they enable fans to enjoy a more seamless experience: fewer lines, faster service, and more information all become available at their fingertips.When fans spend less time in line, they have more time to focus on sports and entertainment. And the data shows that they buy more, too. In this short guide, we’ll review the 6 best technology upgrades for stadiums.

Tools for Keeping Tabs On Fans

Data is the bloodline of your business. Understanding where your customers are, what drives their purchases, and how to ensure their safety is key to the success of each event as well as your venue as a whole.To that end, consider the following upgrades.

#1 Sensors

Does your stadium encounter frequent traffic jams—either in the parking lot or around certain concession stands?Sensors hanging above bathrooms or concession stands can gauge the volume of lines in real-time. This helps alert your health & safety staff to any potential issues. With the right stadium app (more on that later), you can also deliver this information directly to fans. This enables attendees to decide when and where to go.

#2 Biometric Screening

All stadiums need to have security measures in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of fans, employees, athletes, and performers alike. But these lines can be long, slow, and tedious.To ease the sometimes arduous process of gaining entry to the stadium, some venues are introducing biometric screening. There are two main types:

  • Facial recognition technology
  • Fingerprint technology

Biometric screening should already be familiar to most fans, as it’s recently found its way into places like airports. And some stadiums view it as their golden ticket to getting fans back in stadiums after seeing a decline in attendance during COVID-19. This contactless method of confirming attendee information can streamline the process at the door, reducing crowd size.Next, we’ll take a closer look at both options.

Fingerprint Technology

You don’t need an ink pad to get fans’ fingerprints. In fact, modern technology can sometimes identify users with just a wave of the hand.This is especially helpful for season-ticket holders and VIP fans, who can quickly shuffle through entry lines after confirming their identities. It’s kind of like TSA pre-check, but for sporting events. This also reduces human contact, so it’s highly useful when stadiums are doing all they can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition operates similarly to fingerprint technology in that a quick scan of a face can identify fans, helping with crowd control.But some stadiums are taking facial recognition even further. The Olympics organizing committee used facial recognition technology as the driver behind contact tracing at the 2020 games.

Biometric Screening & Compliance

Not everyone wants an organization having their face or fingerprints on file forever, and that’s totally understandable.To ensure they adhere to fans’ preferences—and to the law—stadiums that choose to implement biometric technology in any way will need to elicit informed consent from customers. Often, this can be something as simple as signing a waiver when purchasing a ticket.And if fans aren’t into their faces and fingerprints being obtained and stored by stadiums, they can choose to opt out and confirm their details the old fashioned way.

Tools to Help Fans Get And Stay Connected

As large and impressive as stadiums often are, they can also be confusing, crowded places.Some stadiums are launching apps and updating their tech infrastructure so that guests can set their expectations in advance and continue to navigate during their visit.The best upgrades for giving visitors a helping hand include:

#3 Your Own Stadium App

Getting around a packed stadium can be difficult, especially for someone unfamiliar with the space. Stadium apps can come in handy before guests ever enter, guiding fans to available parking and right to their seats.But a custom stadium app can go well beyond navigational directions.Venue apps often double as an informative news source. They enable fans to:

  • Stream the live game–sometimes from different angles
  • Stream replays during and after the event
  • Receive the latest team news

That means your venue stays on their mind well after they’ve left the event.Stadium apps can also identify whether season ticket holders are attending games regularly. If they notice an individual's attendance is low, in-app tracking can enable the venue to reach out to that person directly or add them to an inappropriate email segment. From there, it’s easy to send out an email blast with a special offer or exclusive experience.

#4 Enhanced Digital Infrastructure

Since stadium apps encourage more phone usage among hundreds of thousands of fans, venues should also strive to offer phone service throughout the stadium.This could include:

  • Free Wi-Fi to ensure all users can access the app and share content from their phones, regardless of their wireless provider.
  • HD WiFi with fast download speeds and enough bandwidth for streamlining video.
  • 5G with even better connectivity and faster download speeds. 5G is about 100 times as fast as the typical 4G service that most people are used to.

Keep in mind that this comes with an ROI. Better connectivity means a better customer experience. Likewise, live social media content posted from your event is free advertising that can later be reshared across your social channels.

#5 Charging Stations

Of course, a stadium that encourages visitors to use their smartphones also needs charging stations. If you plan to offer this feature, include different charging cords so that anyone can charge any device.Of course, it’s not feasible to place a charging cable under every seat. Most stadiums that offer this feature aren’t outfitted with enough for everyone—usually about 10 per stadium.Still, charging stations are extremely helpful for fans in a pinch!

#6 Mobile & Cashless POS

Games and performances are fun; lines aren’t.Mobile, cashless point of sale (POS) systems can help speed lines up while ensuring COVID-19 safety. Unlike a traditional POS (aka a cash register), a No-POS system can be accessed from just about anywhere in the stadium, including:

  • Tablets at food counters – Stadiums can place a tablet at a food counter or a table, where fans can place their order and pay right there. The benefit of these systems is that they minimize contact with staff and encourage social distancing. One downside is that fans are touching a screen that hundreds or thousands of hands have also touched. And if it’s placed at a food counter, there’ll likely still be a line.
  • Tablets right at fans’ seats – Choosing to forego lines completely, some stadiums are placing tablets right in stadium seats, enabling fans to order concessions without getting up or going anywhere. They can tap, pay, and get their eyes back on the game while they wait for their food to be delivered directly to their seat. Again, the downside is that the tablets are still communal and can host germs, though they can technically be cleaned between games. Also, a tablet at every seat means a high up-front cost.
  • Smartphones – Perhaps the safest, easiest, and cheapest way to implement contactless POS systems is by having fans order directly from their smartphones. While some fans might not want to download the stadium app, QR codes make it easy for fans to scan, order, and pay with just a few taps. This means users don’t have to download another POS app that will probably end getting deleted from their phone right after the game.

A strong POS solution makes it easy for fans to order and to pick up food. For example, GoTab’s unique zoning system alerts vendors who are close to the concession stand when their food is ready while providing a direction chart that enables staff to deliver food directly to faraway fans, who won’t even have to leave their seats.In addition, event attendees have an increased ability to order from multiple vendors without standing in multiple lines. Unsurprisingly, this leads to an uptick in purchases.Finally, the data you garner from your No-POS system can be used by individual vendors to plan for success at future events and games.

Smart Stadiums Are The Future. Seize it with GoTab.

In our ever-evolving, technology-driven world, it’s likely that smart stadiums are here to stay—and they’ll just keep getting smarter. From optimizing a fans’ journey to crowd control to maintaining COVID-19 safety, smart stadiums can create a better experience and a better profit margin.With GoTab, it’s easy to implement a stadium-wide contactless POS system. By simply placing our QR codes in convenient places like seats, tables, or even on signs, fans can order and pay for concessions from their own device via their credit card, Apple Pay or Android Pay.Think your venue or business could benefit? GoTab is currently offering free activations with a guaranteed 24-hour setup for digital-only deployments.Sources: 

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Situated “in the heart of it all, yet tranquil enough to make you feel away from it all too,” The Limelight Hotel Snowmass offers 99 hotel rooms and 11 residences, as well as footsteps-to-gondola access in winter and summer — right in the middle of Snowmass Base Village.

The Situation

Especially over the last few years, the Limelight Hotels IT team had witnessed a significant shift to contactless technology in the hospitality industry. After evaluating friction points in the guest journey, aligning with modern technology platforms in their restaurant was determined to be an effective way to offer elevated contactless dining experiences to their guests while also evolving their technology platforms to continue to support long-term company goals. Limelight Hotel partnered with GoTab to provide an enhanced on-demand dining experience on par with the brand’s reputation for exceptional guest service.

The Solution

Reducing Staff Touch Points Without Sacrificing Guest Experience

Guests are now able to begin a tab from their room or the property’s restaurant by scanning a QR code, texting a link to friends or family members on the ski slope to add in their orders, then meeting up together at the patio or lodge to enjoy their meal and après ski festivities without interruption. By streamlining tasks like inputting orders and processing payments, this eliminates friction for hotel staff and allows them to focus on delivering renowned guest service for a memorable experience. Since partnering with GoTab, Limelight Snowmass has consistently seen higher check averages and sales.

“We found the Point of Sale platforms we were looking at offered the guest and staff limited opportunities to further reduce touch points or improve the traditional restaurant experience. The GoTab platform enabled the guest to take an active role over the flow of their experience while simultaneously reducing touch points and further streamlining restaurant operations.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

According to the Limelight Hotels team, some of the other platforms that were evaluated were either missing some of the pieces they were looking for, had weak customer support models, or had little willingness to develop integrations to existing hotel platforms already in place. To that end, GoTab integrated with cloud-based platform, Infor. Together, GoTab and Infor are providing dynamic solutions to support central, efficient service across hotel amenities and deliver exceptional guest experiences.

“Previously, guests would call down to the restaurant to begin an order from their room or while they were out enjoying the ski slopes. Using GoTab, guests can now place orders from anywhere on the resort, giving them the on-demand service they want without interrupting their day. GoTab empowers us to give control to the guest, reducing touch points and streamlining overall restaurant operations, making Limelight Hotel the resort of choice for Snowmass.”Nick Giglio, Manager of Hotel IT Operations, The Little Nell Hotel Group

Since introducing GoTab, The Limelight Hotel has seen a consistent level of upsells and items sold per check resulting in additional revenue capture. They have been able to maintain service levels in their restaurants during periods when there was reduced staffing available without significantly diminishing the guest experience.

The Benefits

Eliminate Phone Orders – Take Orders from the Slopes. Guests can start a tab from their room or on the mountain without interrupting the flow of their day.

Future-Proofed Technologies – Delivering elevated contactless ordering via integration with the Infor hotel management platform.

Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.
  • Eliminating Friction in the Guest Journey – Maintaining service levels during periods of reduced staff without diminishing the guest experience.

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