In our previous post we talked about why major music festivals choose to go cashless, and how replacing cash and credit cards with RFID tokens improves both the guest experience and the organiser’s bottom line. However, we’ve heard a lot of the feedback we got was questioning whether this would apply to other types of events – specifically food and wine expos, and especially ones that cater to an older and more conservative audience, which might be less open to new technologies.

Well, the answer to these questions is that cashless payments are definitely relevant for food and drink festivals. In fact, from our experience these events are right up there with music festivals as the most common instances of RFID contactless payments being implemented. To understand why this is the case, let’s talk about the reasons that make cashless systems a great fit for most food or wine tasting events.

People are there to spend… on food and drink

Amid almost every other type of event, buying refreshments from vendors is more of a side activity than the ‘main course’. At a concert, people come to see the bands; having a pleasant time buying crisps and beer is hardly what’s going to make or break their outing.

For obvious reasons, food and wine events are a completely different story. In this case, the main reason that attendees got dressed and left their house in the first place was to appreciate excellent wine or enjoy gourmet delicacies. Making sure that guests are able to do so in as smooth and enjoyable a way as possible is not a nice-to-have at these events; it’s an absolute must!

Kill the lineups or they’ll kill your event

As organisers, you have to do whatever you can to help people get to the front of the line and purchase the food or beverage they came to taste. Even the finest bottle of Dom Pérignon won’t fix the bad taste your guests will leave with if they spend most of their day waiting in frustratingly long queues.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous article, going cashless means less lineups, speedier transactions and a better overall experience for guests. Things go much faster when you don’t need people to pull out their wallets for every single transaction; and this comes with the added benefit of people spending more due to the psychological detachment they have from their money.

Less messy than the alternatives

Due to the unique characteristics of tasting events, there are a lot of transactions going on throughout the day. Some organisers would opt for regular payments using cash or credit cards, whereas others might require guests to purchase tokens ahead of time, which they would then use to buy from vendors. Both of these alternatives aren’t great.

If you’re going with cash, you’re going to have an inevitably high overhead stemming from handling the money, theft, additional staff, and so on. This means your vendors end up with more hassle and less money in the bank – which isn’t good for anyone.

If you go with prepaid tokens, there are also going to be issues with lost and stolen tokens, as well as the need to square things off with vendors at the end of the event. Sometimes this goes completely smoothly; often there are complications. It’s just the nature of things, when money is involved.

However, using RFID payments completely solves both of these issues – payments are handled automatically, securely and hands-free. To really nail it, you’d want to enable guests to pre-load their wristbands (or RFID cards) – they know they’re going to be spending, so they’ll usually be happy to prepay and go about the rest of their day without having to worry about carrying money around.

Stay in touch with buyers

The ability to capture accurate data for cashless transactions (which you can read about in our RFID technology guide) means vendors can develop lasting relationships with customers, based on their purchase history. This opens up tonnes of new possibilities for targeted marketing that can bring highly relevant offers to potential customers’ attention.

For example, let’s say Martha from Perth is visiting a wine festival. As a part of attending the event, she samples a range of reds, whites and sparklings, and then decides she wants to purchase 6 Pinot Noir’s to take home, actions which all require her to tap her wristband at the vendor stalls. In addition to using her wristband to make purchases, Martha also connects her Facebook account to her RFID wristband to allow for an easy upload of photos on the day and to connect with the wineries she loves.

Post event, the data on what Martha purchased, as well as her Facebook profile details are fed back to the event organiser who can share these with sponsors and stall holders in order to further engage attendees. This may include newsfeed ads promoting similar products to what Martha has confirmed she enjoys, or invites to upcoming events within the region.

This is just one example, and there are many other ways transaction data can be leveraged, both on and offline. The interconnectedness of the RFID devices used for cashless payments is what makes these types of promotions possible – and as the technology grows more popular, additional creative techniques will continue to emerge.

Get social

In our previous example, we mentioned Martha wanted to post pictures to her social channels throughout the day. People who identify as ‘foodies’ are both more likely to post pictures of their food online, and to frequent events dedicated to food – it only makes sense to give them more options to do the former during the latter.

The immediate and direct connection to social media is another advantage that comes with the RFID systems that also power cashless payments. With guests carrying RFID chips in their wristbands or cards, vendors and organisers can create unique social activationsthat make it easily to share pictures, check-in or engage with the event and vendors in other ways. This creates a more memorable experience for guests, while the event professionals get some valuable social promotion along the way.

Social media might not be a massive channel for every type of event, but if you’re aiming to create that feeling of exclusivity for your guests then you can count on them wanting to share that experience with their social channels. Making it easier for them to do so is the smart choice.

Token Team

Author Token Team

Token is a global leader in RFID technology for events. With over 20 years of event experience, we provide cashless payments, access control and experiential activations to organisers all around the world.

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