Cashless Payments at events. The benefits

Imagine that your favorite artist starts playing while you are queueing at the bar. It takes ages as it seems that nobody has their cash ready. And when it comes to your turn, you find out that the seller is unable to give you a chance for your order. Sounds pretty annoying, right? If you haven’t experienced this lately it’s because of the technology that helps event professionals create better live experiences. In this case, we’re talking about using Cashless Payments at events. And their benefits. 

Implementing innovative payment solutions at festivals has solved many issues. For event planners and festival goers alike. The scope of this article is to focus on the benefits of implementing cashless payments for your events. While this is far from being the only use case for this technology, festivals have embraced it with the highest velocity. 

Later in this article, we will focus on some of the essential benefits this technology provides. Deploying a cashless payments solution at your festival will speed up transactions, prevent thefts or fraud, give you access to real-time reports, and generate new revenue streams. 

Getting started with cashless payments

But first, let’s better understand what we mean actually when talking about a cashless payment system. Especially when focusing on the ones used for festivals and smaller events. 

We’re all familiar with the RFID wristbands used at events. They’re used for access control and payments, allowing people to control their experiences with a simple tap of the hand. Do attendees need to pay for a beverage? A simple tap of the hand is enough Or, in a more sophisticated yet easy-to-use environment – scanning a dynamic QR will provide the same result. Do they want to access a specific area and does the support team on-site need to check their access credentials? A tap of the hand is enough. Have they pre-purchased their favorite band’s T-shirt as a ticket add-on? Yes, a tap of the hand is all they need to claim their perk. The all-mighty festival wristband guides attendees through their experience, right? Well, not really.

While I’ve showcased a journey similar to the ones available for most festivals, the wristband itself is not that mighty. But the technology that stands behind it – enabling cashless payments (and more) – is. 

Going beyond just payments

The phrase “Cashless payments at events”, in its complete understanding, refers to so much more than a way of accepting payments that are not made with cash. When we talk about a festival and its payments operated through a cashless payment solution, we are actually talking about a local economy. A special ecosystem, where the event itself is the central bank of what happens within its borders. And sometimes even outside its gates. 

Within the festival, there are multiple companies with economic activity. Simply put, vendors or sellers. And there is a legit need for them to accept the same payment method. To do it fast and transparently. At the same time, regardless of how many different vendors operate onsite, the organizers need to have a live overview of the economics of the event.

At festivals, depending on their size, the total number of transactions can range from a few thousand to over a million, often in less than 72 hours. You need to have a system that is fast, secure, and stable. When it comes to festivals, not being able to serve customers is probably worse than losing power at the main stage. 

The “customer journey” of an event-goer

displaying the customer journey of an event-goer

The journey for a festival goer starts long before the first note is played by their favorite band. From an operations point of view, it starts when the ticket is bought. Because, for most festivals, the ticket itself is, in fact, the digital wallet that allows attendees to pay, access special areas, claim their perks, and much more. The RFID festival wristband, used by organizers from all over the world, is the gateway that gives them access to this virtual wallet.

When buying the ticket, attendees can also opt to pre-purchase merchandise, special access, addons or top up their digital wallet. 

When arriving on-site, they can pay for food, beverage, or merchandise using the cashless payment system, can add money to their digital account, and once the event is over they can withdraw their remaining funds. 

Benefits of using cashless payments at events

Now that we have gone through the entire process, let’s go further and pinpoint the exact benefits of using cashless payments at events or venues. We’ll be listing the benefits one by one, while still keeping one eye on the big picture.

Cashless payments at events are fast. Very fast.

A crucial aspect of a closed-loop cashless payment system is its speed. Because the confirmation message is not required to follow the same steps as for a traditional online payment, these transactions are processed way more quicker. How much quicker? According to reports from American Express, cashless payments transactions are 63% faster than ones including cash and up to 53% faster than classic card payments.

graph showing that cashless payments at events are faster than other payment methods

But these differences can be even higher, as cashless payment solutions for events offer edge payment capabilities. This means that through our proprietary technology, transactions are processed locally, at the edge of the cloud, secured by a distributed ledger system, and synced online afterward.

They are easy to implement and use

Implementing a closed-loop cashless payment solution is easy. For both vendors and festival goers. 

Vendors can accept payments using mobile points of sale while attendees have a payment method they are already familiar with. Vendors can easily create product catalogs, add and change prices, or remove products from sale.

With Oveit, vendors receive an invite to your experience. They can then proceed on setting up their menus and use a mobile POS to get paid when the festival starts. From their dashboard, they can check their sales, better understanding how customers 

Cashless payments are secure

With no cash changing hands within your festivals, fraud is completely eliminated from on-site transactions. At the same time, it becomes close to impossible for attendees to lose their assets. Especially when allowing them to pay with the RFID festival wristband. The data attendee’s data is securely stored in a private digital wallet, allowing them to easily access their balance and transaction history.

Creating a safe environment for your attendees is crucial. You want them to be able to enjoy the experience without having to worry about the safety of their financial assets. 

While the payments are 100% secure, human errors may still appear. But with a local payment system, you can easily repair any such error. Unlike traditional online payments, where any error could be fixed by a third-party institution, like a bank, here you have the authority to fix anything. You can easily refund a client or cancel a payment in a transparent manner, keeping all stakeholders happy.

Generate new revenue streams for your events with cashless payments

You can easily onboard third-party venues in your festival economy and generate new revenue streams for your business. As food, beverage and merchandise are extremely important to any festival, using a cashless payment system helps you add new sellers while still having everything under control. 

As the owner of this closed economy, you have instant access to sales data from all vendors. Adding new businesses into the space generates new income opportunities for all stakeholders. The vendor gains access to new customers and the organizer can take a cut from those sales. And attendees benefit from a more diverse experience. 

Instant access to real-time data

Unlike other businesses, festivals are extremely time-sensitive. Hundreds of people work one year to create an experience that lasts just a few days. But during those few days, each second has so much weight attached.

Cashless payments real time reporting

This is why real-time data is crucial for event organizers. This way, they adapt depending on what actually happens at the event. As mentioned above, a smart cashless payment tool keeps track not only of the payments but can also display relevant data on the customer journey. 

Based on access credentials and pre-purchased perks, you can see what people are interested in buying, what areas they like to spend most of their time, and what perks they have already claimed.

Improved customer experience

Each and every benefit mentioned above increases the overall customer experience. But this is a great example of when “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Looking at the customer journey, it’s easy to understand that we can now personalize the customer experience. As a matter of fact, we can allow them to create the experiences they have always dreamed of. 

Customers can create their own tickets, with special access credentials or pre-purchased merchandise, depending on their needs. They can decide how much money they will spend during the festival, where they will hand out, and which brands they decide to share their data with. 

And as we all know by now, a cashless payments solution does way more than just allow people to pay. Based on the data recorded, you can better understand what people actually enjoyed and what not. And you can use that information to create new, engaging experiences. 

Final words

Beyond internal processes, vendors, merchandise, and bands, festivals are about creating memories. Are about offering unforgettable experiences to your attendees. But in order to support these experiences, your operations need to run as smoothly as possible. And this is what cashless payments do to your event-goers. 

They allow you to streamline the process, onboard countless new vendors, ensure fast and secure payments, and assist the entire customer journey of your attendees. And while everything runs in the background, festival goers can concentrate on one thing: having the time of their lives. 

Your event: Successful or not?

Recently, you’ve hosted an event and you feel like your hard work finally paid off. Ticket sales were above expectations and you managed to reach your goals. However, with so many stakeholders involved, it is important to evaluate the success of your event in an objective manner. Obviously, feeling good about its outcome is a great sign, but in the events industry, there is always room for improvement.  

In this article, I will go over different methods that can help organizers measure if their event was successful or if they need to make changes for future editions.

Pay attention to social media activity

In these days, it’s a given that you should be active on social media, especially if you want to promote an event. Post-event reactions coming from your attendees is the most valuable and rewarding feedback. In the end, all your hard work is centred around them with the purpose of creating memorable experiences. If you identify positive comments to your posts, such as: reactions, likes, comments or retweets, you will know for sure that your participants had a blast. Keep in mind that you should create social media content after the event to measure reactions more precisely.

Post-event surveys

Surveys are also a great method to find out opinions related to the success of your event. For relevant and truthful answers, try to keep them anonymous and don’t ask for personal details. Create questions strategically and don’t expect your participants to reply with long answers, because they won’t. Before conducting the survey, you should clearly define what you expect to get in return. For instance, dichotomous scales (‘yes’ or ‘no’) won’t help you find out if a customer was happy with an experience or not. In our case, a Likert Scale will prove to be more efficient. It is a good way to measure attitudes or feelings, therefore providing you with valuable insights.

Examples of questions that can measure the success of your event:

  • How do you rate the event location?
  • How do you rate the content that was presented?
  • What is the likelihood to recommend this event to your friends?

If attendees respond with ‘less likely’ or ‘very unlikely’, you can insert a box that allows them to elaborate on their answers.

Event ROI

ROI (return on investment) = (benefits of the investment – cost of investment) / cost of the investment. Depending on your event theme and purpose, the benefits of the investment may vary. For instance, if you aim to turn a profit from ticket and registration sales, finding the ROI is simple. However, for a company that launches a product and therefore decides to host an event, the ROI will most likely be negative. The purpose of a product launch event is to generate as many leads as possible. You should look at it as a long-term investment that will generate a return in the future and not immediately after the event.

Sponsors Satisfaction

As previously mentioned, it’s not only about your attendees. Sponsors have a great contribution to your event and their feedback can add value to future editions. On top of that, they are the ones funding your event and they can’t be neglected. It might be relatively easy to bring them in for a first edition, but more importantly is to establish a long-term relationship that results in mutual benefits. Their level of satisfaction and willingness to return is measured slightly different. Listen carefully to their constructive feedback and prove that you fully understand what needs to be different for the next event.

Define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

A key performance indicator is a performance measurement tool designed to evaluate the success of a business and its particular activities. The KPIs for measuring event success will be different based on your pre-defined goals and objectives.

The KPIs covered in this article apply for most events. However, for specific objectives, you might have to establish additional indicators.

How much do you value the Attendee Experience?

We’ve all heard of User Experience and Customer Experience, two terms that helped industries focus on what really counts. Today I want to talk about Attendee Experience, the term that shares a truth we can not ignore: all efforts of the event industry professionals should be focused on the attendees’ experience.

There are multiple interpretations of the “Attendee Experience” term, all equally important and explanatory. But to better understand it I would like for you to see it as the overall experience attendees walk out with. And this overall experience is influenced by every interaction they have. With organizers, sponsors, exhibitors, and other attendees. It’s also the sum of interactions they have with your event “as a thing”. The way you communicate, the apps that you use the venue your event takes place at, the chair they sit in, the food they taste.

In other words, it’s what they feel when they think of your event.

If we agree that Attendee Experience represents the sum of the interactions attendees have with your event (direct or indirect), then we can also agree that the experience starts before the event takes place. And it doesn’t end once your event is over. In order to make it easier for us to follow attendees through their whole journey, I will divide AX into two categories:

on-site: it refers strictly to the on-site experience and how you can improve the experience during your event 

off-site: the way you influence the attendee experience before and after your event takes place

As you will see, these two categories are well related.

Off-site attendee experience. Before and after the event 


The first interaction takes place the first time your future attendees hear about your event. It’s late 2019, so no matter how they hear about your event they will definitely search online for more information. This is why it is important that your website makes a good first impression. Otherwise, we may talk about the last impression. 

Registration is a crucial step. This should be a flawless process that encourages attendees to register, so use a smart tool that allows you to sell tickets directly on your website. Collect attendee data, but let them know why and how you are planning to use that information. And I would strongly recommend you to use this information in order to create a better experience. 

Don’t spam your future guest (even if they allow you to), but keep them informed. Notify them as soon as possible over any changes that may occur. Event apps are a great way to keep your attendees engaged. Integrate it with the registration software in order to make it easier for them to access the app and gain access to your pre-event content. 


Your relation with your visitors should not end once they walk out of the door. After all, your event should be just one piece of the bigger puzzle. “What puzzle” do you ask? Maybe you’re not but hey… I’m writing this. You know: multiple events, event community, happy people that change the world we live in, the things that made you become an event professional.

Post-event communication is a crucial key when building a community around your work. Personalized follow-up emails(and by this I don’t mean the classical “Hello, name of attendee” newsletter), access to registered sessions from the event, top of the notch recommendations for other study materials, things that will make people feel your interest towards them. Those are the fine touches that will boost the overall experience.

During the event

Why a job in the event management industry makes you feel like you ride a roller coaster on a daily basis? It’s because time has a different value in this line of business and thousands of hours of hard word resume to just a few days of implementation. The show must go on should be the motto, during the event you need to be able to fix things on the go. Fix them first, you will have time to check why you needed to fix them afterward.

What makes an event memorable? If it would be to choose just one thing I would definitely choose “Content” as my answer.

I was part of a few events during the last 2 or 3 years* and had the chance to see things for myself; good content is crucial, there’s no doubt here, so regardless of your event’s theme you will need to find someone that can curate it. But guess what: good content is nothing without a good presentation (packaging matters!) and you don’t need to take my word for it.

* I wasn’t kidding, last few years gave me the chance to attend quite a few events and better understand what AX is all about

But let’s focus on things that are 100 % up to you and your team. And on how Oveit can help you, of course. I won’t talk about all of our features, you can read more about them in some of our previous articles. The one feature that will totally change the attendee experience is the one that will allow attendees to stay focused on what really matters to them. Networking, useful content, discovering interesting exhibitors. That’s why we keep on talking about our NFC feature. It allows us to pair the ticket to an NFC wristband and attendees can use it for access, payment, engagement, gamification, and more.

It works like this:

Our e-tickets are more than just tickets, they are as powerful as digital accounts. They store all the access credentials. And one ticket can store an unlimited number of different access credentials. The extra benefits you want to include. They work as digital wallets if you choose to use a cashless payment solution. And also allow attendees to share their information if they choose to interact with exhibitors or to participate in treasure hunts or other forms of gamification.

When attendees first arrive the e-ticket is paired with an NFC wristband and all their interactions become simple taps. Tap and pay, tap and play, tap for access, tap and interact. No need to store tokens, multiple QR codes, no need for them to manually input their information in order to be contacted by exhibitors or sponsors. Just pair the ticket with our smart wristband and let technology do it’s magic! Won’t go into the tech details, but let us know if you want to know more about it.

foto presenting an NFC chip wristband branded with Oveit

Engage the Five Senses

Content is the King, technology is the Queen, but don’t forget that our 5 basic senses help us better understand our surroundings. They also play a key role in setting up our mood. Here is what you should remember:

Sight – we are attracted by the beauty, so an outstanding venue will set a good start for the day

Touch – texture, and temperature. Maybe there is nothing you could to do regarding the texture, although you could consider this when choosing the badges or the wristbands. But for an indoor event, you could make sure that the temperature is just perfect.

Smell – there is a reason why when a real estate agent shows you a new house it somehow smells like freshly baked cookies and roasted coffee. You could use the same technique to make guests feel comfortable.

Taste – food and beverages; should offer various choices and consider that some of your guests have dietary restrictions. Registration forms are a good way to collect this information.

Sound – the sound needs to be perfect during the presentations. Not to mention if you are organizing a concert. But you can also use sound to energize attendees and give them the vibe that you want.

There are many ingredients for creating a better attendee experience and although things will never be perfect we can genuinely do our best in order to create an unforgettable event. And any small thing that can be done better will assist us in reaching our ultimate goal: the sparkle in people’s eyes when they come and congratulate us for our outstanding work.