The future for festivals is cashless. Here’s 10 reasons why.

What a difference two weeks can make in this pandemic. On 22nd February, the UK announced a phased approach to the easing of lockdown restrictions. The aim is to remove all social distancing restrictions by 21st June. 

This announcement, combined with the positive results from the UK vaccine rollout programme has seen the festival industry respond with a burst of frenzied activity.

Last week, many of the UK’s largest festivals sold out including Live Nation’s Reading (105,000), Leeds (75,000) and Creamfields (70,000) – the latter sold out in just 72 hours. A number of smaller independents such as Beat-Herder (12,000) and Boomtown have also sold out. 

Some festivals are being moved to later in the year to give them a fighting chance of going ahead. The Isle of Wight festival which is normally held in June, announced yesterday that it would be rescheduled to 16th-19th September.

In a recent article by Access All Areas, Live Nation Entertainments’ CEO Michael Rapino has commented that:

“We continue to have a substantial tailwind in the live event industry, as consumers more than ever are looking to spend on experiences.”

Clearly, there’s a huge amount of pent up demand for festival tickets and people are desperate to get back out into the fields and celebrate. And so in our view, if ever there was the right year for festivals to go cashless, 2021 is it! And here’s just 10 good reasons for all you festival organisers:


1. Generate revenue prior to the event itself

With a cashless payment system in place fans will be invited to pre-load their account with credit prior to the event itself. This allows for fans to budget for the event and also creates a revenue stream for festival organisers. Furthermore, it gives an indication of anticipated spend so organisers can plan and budget accordingly.


2. Reduce queueing times and improve visitor flow

According to our 2019 Festivals report, 84% of respondents say the worst thing about making payments at a festival is standing in long queues. With cashless payment systems, average transactions times are reduced by 80%, improving the fan experience ensuring that they never miss a moment of the action. Now more than ever, festivals need to put on a great party for fans that will make them come back again the following year.


3. Boost fan spending by 22%

By reducing queues at the bar and food concessions you sell more and make more money. Our results show that when you swap cash for cashless payment systems, you can increase your takings by around 22%. Fans feel more secure about their money when using a cashless payment system and tend to spend more on impulse purchases. 


4. Create new opportunities for your sponsors

Creating additional revenue streams has never been more important this year as festivals look to recoup their losses from 2020. A cashless payment system allows you to create new categories for partners to sponsor. You get both the customer data and can have the mobile wallet or cashless RFID branded to be ‘powered by’ your chosen partner.

With a cashless payments system you can easily manage VIP areas and bespoke areas for your sponsors as accessing such areas is added to the fans’ cashless RFID or mobile app. Any payments made within the sponsored area is captured so you can share the data with your sponsors. In turn, they can understand who has visited and how they’ve engaged with their brand.


5. Improve hygiene and aid social distancing

We are all hoping that soon all social distancing restrictions will be lifted. However, in this last year we’ve seen the adoption rates of cashless payments has increased dramatically; the growth in mobile and contactless card payments, the acceptance of keeping a distance for your health, concerns over handling cash – these are all strong signals that consumer behaviour has made a huge shift in the last year and we’re unlikely to return to old habits. 

Festival organisers need to think about the expectations and hygiene concerns of their fans and staff and how they can make everyone feel as safe and comfortable as possible.


6. Reduce the risk of fraud and theft

A 2019 Mintel report found that safety is a high priority for fans and 32% of event-goers want to see a reduction in crime. Cashless payments reassure festival goers of the security of payments. By removing cash and cards from your festival, would-be thieves and pickpockets won’t have anything to steal, giving fans peace of mind and improving the overall experience for everyone. There’s less to carry and so less to worry about.

Most importantly for festival organisers, employee fraud and theft can significantly reduce revenues. Cashless payment systems greatly reduce this risk.


7. Reduce operational costs

As you won’t be taking or processing cash transactions, operational costs can be reduced. There’s no need to move cash around the site, reconciliation becomes a much simpler task that can be done with fewer staff.


8. Understand your fans like never before

Cashless payments allow you to analyse the buying behaviour of every single fan at your event. See what your fans spent their money on, when and where. Analyse which bars and food outlets sold what, when and where. Track your VIPs, incentivise and reward them. This rich data allows a 360 view of every fan which opens you up to a wealth of promotional opportunities.


9. Real-time data boosts operational efficiency

There is no data lag. Our real time reporting dashboard, Tappit Insights, allows you to manage your stock and maximise your profits on the fly.


10. Provide cashless payments in your festival app

According to a recent report by Viberate, 75% of the world’s top music festivals have an app and this is expected to get close to 100% by 2025. If you haven’t already got an app, we expect you’ll be considering it soon. 

Our white-label mobile payments solution integrates with any technology stack. This allows you to seamlessly integrate cashless payments into your existing app. All transaction data made via the app belongs to you rather than a third party. This data provides you with actionable insights to drive revenue and improve operations. 

If you’re considering taking your festival cashless this summer, then get in touch with us today to discuss your options or subscribe to our newsletter below to keep up to date with the latest news.


Related information on taking your event cashless with cashless RFID:

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