Every live event vertical is developing and adapting to the changing digital landscape. Music festivals have been converting en masse to RFID systems, heralding in the cashless era and fostering a more symbiotic relationship between the customer and the event via rich data. Sports events have also been empowered by this technology, giving them greater control over access and improving the customer experience at every transaction.

Most sporting events tend to be rambunctious affairs, with a lot of high-dollar fans spending money on merchandise, food and, of course, beer. But there are few sporting events quite as rowdy as horse racing.

“I think when you look at races like the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, or the Belmont Stakes, you’re seeing a lot of fans willing to spend significant dollars. But they could be spending more,” explains Brennan Kerr, Intellitix’s racing specialist. Brennan has been working closely with various auto-racing and horse racing tracks to integrate our world-class RFID technology seamlessly and successfully into their existing logistics. “Typically at these major horse races, their form of payment can be considered relatively archaic. There are tremendous opportunities for pioneering race organizers to adopt the technology that has completely transformed the festival and live event space, and will very soon transform the sports landscape, too.”

We chatted to Brennan about how the horse racing industry specifically is poised to reap the rewards from the introduction of cashless and access control technology.

We Make Events Much More Profitable

It’s as simple as that. Not only are we cutting the average transaction time from 90 sec to 15 sec, but we can increase your vendor transactions by as much as 30% and beyond.

“Everything always comes down to, ‘Can Intellitix help make us more money?’ And the answer is: absolutely,” starts Brennan. “Horse races have been around forever and are mature operations that are always looking to find new ways to drive revenue. Going cashless is a tested way to immediately bump up your bar take. And at horse racing events, that’s a lot of money.”

But aside from speeding up transactions and encouraging a higher average-spend per customer, RFID is secure. More cash on-site is a problem for vendors, event producers, and patrons. Theft is an unfortunate reality, be it via pickpockets or cash-handling staff. A consistent virtue of our technology is the elimination of this concern, and we are thanked time and again by vendors and event operators for this peace of mind.

Access Control is a Huge Plus

“The added benefit with going cashless for a horse racing event is that it typically means we handle access control too,” Kerr continues. “We work alongside the event’s ticketing partner every step of the way. If a cashless solution is on-site, and the method-of-payment is on each of your patrons’ wrist, it’s an easy addition that we secure the site for you and provide the additional data and insights on the backend.”

Additionally, Intellitix has trail-blazed access control further in 2017 and developed a “reserved seating” solution that has event partners excited about how much further RFID can be extended at their event.

Data Shouldn’t Be Ignored

By having a cash bar, you’re not only leaving money on the table, you’re also letting a lot of valuable customer data slip through your fingers.

We are able to not only gather and present data about your ticket buyers but about all of the actual attendees on-site. And when you couple that with analyzing spending habits and movement patterns throughout the venue, it amounts to powerful insight into how your customers are interacting with your event. This can be used to attract the kind of major sponsors that can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line.

Your VIP Customers Expect Something Extra

Horse racing tends to be a classy affair, and VIP sections are meeting places for the high rollers and those that you want to treat with the very best experience. But those VIP areas can often suffer from chronic wait times at the bar.

“We’ve found that VIP sections often have longer lines than general admission bars, and that’s a problem if you’re trying to create a high-value experience for your guests,” Brennan explains. “Say you’re hesitant about jumping in with two feet and bringing your entire event cashless; offering this service to VIP is a way to really enhance their experience and make sure that your patrons feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. It’s an ideal first step for many events to get comfortable with how RFID works and see the lift at their events first-hand on a smaller scale.”

And it doesn’t have to be a wristband. Our technology can be built into a sleek-looking card or a tag, allowing your VIP guests to really feel like they’re getting the 5-star treatment when they come to your event.

There’s naturally going to be some hesitation when overhauling a time-honored system of payment and crowd control. But the reality is that the landscape of event technology is changing faster than most event producers can keep up with, and those that keep their heads in the sand are going to struggle with the new standards being set in access control, data management, payment options, and customer outreach.

Revolutionary forms of digital payment have exposed the numerous problems with cash, and by making the commitment to move forward, you can get ahead of the pack and establish a firm foundation as the landscape of sporting events modernizes and evolves.