Ticketing Technology: Is this the Future of Ticketing?

Up next we’ve got the latest and greatest cool gadget in ticketing technology: RFID Wristbands. Read on to find out more about how this technology works, who’s using it and what it means for the future of ticketing.

What is RFID?

Blue and Purple RFID Tag
CC Image by midnightcomm

Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) “is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object.” There are two parts to an RFID system, 1) the RFID tag and 2) the reader.

How Do the Intellitix RFID Wristbands Work?

The Montreal-based company, Intellitix, creates cloth wristbands with RFID chips embedded on the inside. Event visitors simply tap their wristband to the sensor and the sensor compares that wristband to its database of ticketholders. Access is granted once a match is found.

These RFID chips can also be linked to pre-paid accounts for on-site cashless payments, as well as direct social networks for the visitor. Visitors don’t have to worry about receipts either because every transaction associated with their RFID chip is logged and can be accessed whether the patron’s account is set up pre- or post-event.

There has been special care and consideration devoted to the RFID wristband’s social media integration. As Intellitix CEO Serge Grimaux said in a recent interview, “Social media integration is now important to every single professional sport. An experience doesn’t just happen in the moment anymore. Fans want to remember and share every moment with their friends and family.” And this is the same for other large-scale events!

Calgary Stampede Concession Stand
CC Image by Calgary Reviews

It’s also important to recognize that cashless events actually encourage additional spending. This is huge for the real profit-makers at events: merchandizing and concessions. In a recent interview with Eric Janssen, Chief Revenue Officer of Intellitix, said that “every single event we’ve done we’ve seen sales on site rise between 10 and 30 per cent.”

What Type of Events Have Used this Ticketing Technology?

Coachella has been using this system for 4 years, and recently other music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Rock in Rio and Lollapalooza  have employed the Intellitix system as well.

Most recently, this system was used at the Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland, where visitors used the wristbands to enter the event, provide cashless payments and get involved in a number of interactive activities. Event Magazine published the following statistics for this event:

  • 46% of the visitors used pre-registered RFID wristbands
  • 100,000 RFID wristbands were distributed
  • 44,527 total interactions
  • 33 RFID Social Media Touch-Points across the course
  • 7 different RFID interactive activation points, including those of BMW, Standard Life Investments and Sky Sports
  • 59,176 email accounts were linked to the wristbands
  • 44% of involved visitors were aged 45-64 years old
  • 5,818 miles walked by visitors on the “Walk the Course” initiative

These numbers are especially staggering when you consider that the Ryder Cup usually sees over 250,000 visitors over the course of the week, which means that they managed process almost half of these visitors through the RFID wristband. Impressive stuff for a first go with this new system!

Crowd of music festival attendees enjoying the concert
CC Image by Eva Rinaldi


We must concede that not only is this ticketing technology very cool, it’s also most definitely the future for some types of events. In our increasingly cashless way of life, it just makes sense that RFID wristbands are the next step for large-scale events such as sporting events, music festivals, conferences, food and wine shows and the like.

That being said, this ticketing technology is probably not very useful for smaller venues where seating capacity is limited – the technology would be prohibitively expensive, and this cost would likely out-weigh any benefits of employing the system.

Is your performing arts organization in search of an easy-to-use, affordable, highly functional ticketing system? Be sure to read our free, downloadable eBook “5 Steps to Select Online Ticketing Software.”

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