With its ability to track visitor activity and inventory, increase security, and provide cashless vending, theme parks, and many other leisure companies are using RFID technology to help them improve services, streamline operations, and raise profits. Here we’ll look at the key ways in which RFID can benefit the leisure industry.
How RFID is being used
In many leisure complexes, RFID is used by providing visitors with either a smart card or a wristband, such as those available from Universal Smart Cards. These devices contain an embedded RFID tag which enables the user to access the complex, make purchases, and undertake other actions. By inputting the user’s information into the company’s IT system and linking this to their specific RFID tag, data regarding their credit limit, hours of access, level of service, personal preferences, and other pertinent information can be easily interfaced with the venue’s other systems.
The benefit for the user is that they can use the leisure complex in a much more visitor-friendlier way. There is no need to carry keys, cash, tickets, or vouchers as they can all be stored on their RFID device. This means they can be more relaxed and spend their time enjoying the activities on offer.
Using RFID for ticketing has multiple advantages. With tickets being stored electronically, visitors simply need to use their smart card or wristband to access the facilities they have paid to use. Access can be gained simply by passing through an entrance with a fixed reader or by staff scanning the device with a handheld reader. As there is no need to spend time finding tickets or for them to be checked for validity, this reduces the time spent in queues – improving customer satisfaction and reducing the burden on staff. An added advantage is that it eradicates the possibility of people using counterfeit tickets.
#2. Location tracking
As individual smart cards or wristbands are associated with a specific visitor, their location is recorded every time their tag is read by a scanner. By placing fixed scanners (RFID readers) at key points around a leisure complex it is possible to track the visitors’ movements across the venue during their entire stay. This has numerous benefits.
One of the first benefits of location tracking is that it can be used to improve health and safety. As RFID can show how many people are congregating in a specific area, it is possible to send alerts to site managers when traffic levels are getting to saturation point. All it takes is a downpour at a busy outdoor complex and there could be thousands of guests heading for cafeterias, restaurants, and any indoor attractions. Using RFID alerts managers that they need to implement measures to prevent overcrowding, thus removing the potential for serious issues to arise.
As many leisure complexes are designed for families, there will always be the problem of children getting lost from their parents. This is a frightening situation for parents and children alike and can ruin their experience at the venue. RFID tracking, however, can help resolve the issue quickly. The first line of defense is that it is possible to trigger an alarm if the child attempts to leave the complex. If this happens, staff can prevent the child from leaving, along with anyone attempting to take them from the venue. With this measure in place, it only remains to find the child, and this can be done by looking up the last location they were logged as passing.
#3. Cashless Vending
Using RFID enables leisure businesses to create cashless environments where visitors can pay for services and goods using their smartcard or wristband. Spending limits depend on the amount of credit placed on the card and this can be added when purchasing the ticket, included in the price, or transferred online after the card has been received. Top up machines can be placed around the facility so that those who have run out of credit can add more. However, with most facilities offering free wi-fi, users can also add funds online using their smartphones.
From an operational point of view, cashless vending offers a number of advantages. With no need to handle cash, serving times at food kiosks and cafeterias can be sped up, reducing queues. With all payments being electronic, there is no need for takings to be counted at the end of the day and financial records can be created automatically, reducing the burden on admin staff.
#4. Data benefits
By tracking visitors’ movements and logging their cashless vending transactions, RFID systems are able to generate a lot of very useful data for leisure businesses, especially when this is linked to their personal profiles.
Data analysis can produce some incredibly detailed insights to help improve the customer experience, streamline operations and improve marketing. It makes it possible to understand the behaviors and spending habits of different customer personas and socio-demographic groups, it points out which of the business’ facilities are popular and which are not, it highlights the times of day when services are in high demand, and it helps marketing teams understand the kinds of things which are most attractive to different types of visitor.
RFID is enabling businesses throughout the leisure industry to make significant improvements. It enhances the customer experience, reduces burdens on staffing, improves safety and security, and provides a wealth of business-critical data that can cut costs, streamline operations, improve marketing, and increase revenue.