Contactless Payments at Your Event

In Planning Your Event, Tips & Tricks by Kat RembackiLeave a Comment

As in-person gatherings start to open back up around the country, social distancing continues to be part of our lives and likely will at least for the next several months. A lot of event producers are looking for ways to reduce contact between guests without diminishing the guest experience.

Especially if your event relied heavily on in-person or walk-up sales in the past, you might be concerned about social distancing particularly in locations like your ticket booth or merchandise shops. We know it’s important to continue social distancing at this moment, but at the same time, you don’t want to miss out on any sales. Events need every last ticket sale they can get right now, with venue capacities reduced. 

Here are four strategies you can implement at your event to reduce contact while making it more convenient for guests to secure tickets and purchase items on-site. 

1. Adopt tap-to-pay methods

If cash is the most contact-heavy payment method, tap-to-pay is one of the lowest. And in this case, being the lowest is a very good thing. 

Tap-to-pay methods use NFC or near-field communication technology to electronically exchange data between a guest’s mobile device and your credit card machine. There’s no inserting a card into a terminal, no signing with a stylus. Guests simply open the payment app on their mobile device and complete the transaction using their saved card information. 

If you want to reduce contact at your in-person ticket office, merchandise shops, or concessions areas, offering payment methods like Apple Pay and Android Pay is a great way to accomplish that. Plus, they’re more convenient. How many times have you had to re-insert a card whose chip is wearing out or swiped a card multiple times on a terminal? With tap-to-pay, there are no additional touchpoints if a card needs to be re-run; the guest simply uses their device to complete the transaction. Everyone carries a phone with them these days, even if we don’t have anything else with us. 

Passage works with Apple Pay and Android Pay. Schedule an onboarding call with our support team to get it set up for your event, or schedule a demo to see how it all works. 

2. Go online only…but make it in-person friendly

While tap-to-pay payments certainly reduce contact between guests and team members, they may still require you to have a staffed ticket office. Guests need to get their mobile device within two-inches of the payment terminal, which potentially brings them within six feet of the team member, even if briefly.

One strategy we’ve seen events successfully implement this year is eliminating the in-person ticket office altogether and going online only. Stopping in-person sales doesn’t have to mean turning guests away at the door. Here’s how to do it.

You can inexpensively print out posters or signs with a QR code (reach out to our team if you need help creating one) that, when scanned, takes guests to your ticketing page on your website or on Passage. From there, guests can check out online just like they would at home. 

Display a few of these posters in your parking lot and near your event entrance. If guests show up without having purchased tickets, they can do so right from their vehicle or while social distancing outside the entrance. 

3. Give guests a reason to buy online

We’ve seen a dramatic shift in the demand for advance sales over the past year. Guests know that with most venue capacities reduced to 25% or 50%, the number of available tickets is much lower than in years past. 

The good news is that guests are already primed for online purchases. We’re all buying things online and on our mobile devices more than ever before. But if you think your guests will still need a reason to make the jump from in-person to online, there are simple ways you can incentivize them to do so. 

  • Offer a discount for buying online. If guests see a lower price point listed for online or advance sales, they may be more likely to purchase. Plus, you’ll get your money sooner. 
  • Provide a separate entrance. If your venue’s space allows for it, designate one or more of the entrances to guests who have already purchased tickets in advance. It will feel like they’ve received a skip-the-line pass for the price of general admission. 
  • Give them the first choice of seats. If your event has assigned seating, you can use Passage’s Social Distance Seat Selection tool. When a guest selects their seat(s) online, it will automatically block off a given number of spaces around those seat(s). You can set the social distancing parameters based on what is required locally in your area and your venue. Guests who purchase tickets online in advance will have first pick of where they’d like to sit. 
  • Communicate the benefits. You may be sending out email or social media messages to your guests when tickets go on sale. Maybe you have an FAQ section on your event page or website. Those are great places to communicate the perks of purchasing tickets online rather than at the door. 

4. Offer a subscription

We use subscriptions for so many aspects of our everyday life, from streaming services to meal kits, even our transportation. And now, events can take advantage of Subscriptions by Passage. 

If you host at least one event per month, whether it’s virtual, in person, or a hybrid of both, subscriptions might be a good fit for you. Subscriptions are especially great for venues because you can offer fans access to a multitude of different types of events. The artists, producers, and promoters may change each month, but fans know they can expect a certain level of quality and entertainment when they subscribe to your venue.

Guests who have purchased a subscription never need to buy tickets at the door. They can simply scan their pass and walk right in. Read more about subscriptions here or schedule a demo to see how they can work for your event.