We’ve always encouraged you to create customized experiences for your attendees. But in order to do so you need the right tools, right? This is what we are building here at Oveit – tools for live experiences, whether we are talking about selling electronic event tickets, NFT ticketing, or implementing cashless payments for your festival or venue.
Today I want to show you one of our latest updates. The one that allows you to display your own Call To Action during the registration process. Whether you are selling traditional electronic tickets or have opted for NFT ticketing, you can now input your own CTAs during the registration process.
Customize your event texts
Available in Step 3 – Checkout settings for PRO PLUS accounts, the step where you’ve always customized the follow-up emails, this new feature allows you to change your Ticket Texts for your embeddable registration widget, on the confirmation page generated by Oveit, or/and inside the confirmation email.
Your tone of voice is what your community reacts to. And this new update will allow you to customize the experience deep to the smallest, yet not unimportant, details.
Looking to test this new way of engaging your audience? Log in and give it a go. Or schedule a call to learn more about how to deliver better attendee experiences.
To mark the moment of our listing, they have invited us to their podcast. We had the chance to share some insights on how Oveit became one of the leading solutions for eTicketing, NFT tickets, and cashless payments for events and venues.
We really enjoyed being on the podcast and hope you will find the discussion useful.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Did you know that almost 1 out of 12 jobs out there is in the tourism sector? And although the industry took a hit due to the pandemic, things are rapidly changing for the better. With so much weight in the global GDP, eyes are always focusing on what technologies can be used to accelerate growth. So let’s take a look at how to use NFTs for tourism to create better experiences. For all parties involved: travelers, businesses, and local communities.
Yes, those “pretty pictures” can be extremely useful in many fields – and tourism is definitely one of them.
NFTs are one of the hottest subjects for 2021 and 2022. While many of the discussions are focusing on the value of NFT artworks and how much they have been sold, this technology is much deeper than that. For tourism, NFTs’ value stands in their functionality more than it stands in their collectability. But the latter will not be eliminated from this discussion as it has an important role here as well.
But before going further and focusing on the benefits NFTs bring to the travel sector, let’s reiterate what NFTs are and what makes them so powerful.
What are NFTs?
NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are unique digital records that can’t be altered or changed. They are the representation of a physical or digital good and the code itself holds proof of the item’s ownership and history.
NFTs are stored on the blockchain, and cannot be altered or hacked (or, at least, it’s incredibly hard to). But at the same time, the network’s members have access to this digital record, and information is passed with each transaction, transforming it into a powerful tool.
Travel is all about the experience. But at the same time, the travel industry relies on technology more than it’s seen to the eye. Until now, the technologies would solve particular issues and would rarely actually be interconnected. The result: fractionated data and fragmented experiences. But this is about to change.
Using NFTs for marketing
Powered by the buzz created around them, NFTs are a great marketing tool used by companies around the world. The uniqueness of these digital artworks, powered by their secure public record, makes them very appealing to collectors.
An example here offers Marriott International and its “The Power Of Travel” campaign. The company partnered up with digital artists to create three unique artworks. The winners were picked randomly and won the NFTs together with 200,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that could be used within the hotel chain.
These campaigns are extremely efficient for newsjacking, bringing the event in front of large audiences. But as we can see from this example, the NFTs can give exclusive access to multiple benefits, or rewards, and this takes us to the next benefit of using NFTs for tourism.
Loyalty programs as NFTs for tourism and hospitality
With high acquisition costs and thin profit margins, recurring customers are extremely important in tourism. And the existing loyalty programs can be powered up with the help of innovative technologies like NFTs.
Similar to an existing loyalty card, an NFT can be used to accumulate brand points within the ecosystem. Only this time the NFT is available for resale in a transparent and safe manner, and the issuer can take a cut from these transactions in the form of royalties.
Unlike traditional loyalty programs, an NFT can be the gateway towards multiple ecosystems, allowing businesses to collaborate. Who benefits from this? Every stakeholder. Customers can use the same “loyalty card” in multiple locations. Businesses have access to large audiences. Local authorities can jump in to create customer journeys, acting like the binder that holds everything together.
Gamification through NFTs
Gamification is one of the most important aspects of a vacation. Except if you’re planning to lounge by the pool for a full week – something we all dream of once in a while. But let’s see how to use NFTs for gamification in tourism.
Imagine going into a new city and visiting some local museums. The local authorities can issue an NFT ticket that gives you access to all of the local attractions.
Each time you use it, the system records the information. Once you visit 3 locations, you automatically receive an add-on granting you access to a local play. Visit 5 locations and win a “proof-of-travel” NFT that gives you a 50% discount on the local festival. NFTs are based on smart contracts, remember? We can now easily create the experiences we’ve always dreamed of for our guests.
NFTs are the perfect tool that mix gamification and loyalty programs. Each action taken by the tourist can be followed by a “reaction” within the system. You can create different “activity maps” that unlock access to unique perks. And each of these actions can result in a unique NFT for your guests to collect. As we have mentioned at the start of this article, NFTs prove their value through their utility and collectability.
Collect travel memories through NFTs
How many magnets do you have on your fridge? I for one have quite a few – and these are just the ones that survived multiple moves and various accidents. What if instead of filling up your fridge with a limited number of magnets you could fill up your digital wallet with an unlimited number of NFTs? (at least) one for each place you have ever visited.
The collectible trait of NFTs makes them perfect for those looking to collect memories from each of their trips. You can create your own collections and store them safely. Each time you want to revisit those memories, they’re just a few clicks away.
What makes them even more valuable is the impact they can have on the local economy. These artworks can be inspired by local heritage and created by local artists. And the smart contract that governs them can be set up so that a small cut returns into the local economy each time a piece is bought. Perpetual royalties to support the local economy.
And this takes us to the next benefit. One that is too complex to be fully covered within an article. But the one that will forever change the tourism industry for the better.
Supporting the local economy through NFTs
Royalties can be set up with NFTs, meaning they can be programmed so that multiple parties benefit from a payment. You buy a collectible NFT, and x% goes back to the local creator. Or to a local organization supporting different causes. If you pay $2 for such an item you may be inclined to think that a 5% cut going back to the community doesn’t mean much. But the power stands in numbers.
And things can be way more complex than this. As we said at the beginning of this article, NFTs are digital records that can represent physical or digital goods – basically anything we can think of. Even share within an art gallery owned by the local community. Or a restaurant. Local businesses can rely on NFTs to attract private investments from their peers.
The smart contract will enforce rightful payments toward each party that supported the business. This is a new, easier way for local communities to stand together and deliver services and products to visitors.
Booking and registration through NFTs
You probably already know how NFTs are used for ticketing, not let’s take a look at how the hospitality industry can use them for bookings as well. Ca Di Dio, a hotel in Venice, leveraged the technology before opening its doors to tourists. The NFT issued by the hotel included a stay and its most prestigious room, a private dinner, and a boat transfer to the hotel. This is a great example of the utility that can be held by NFTs. For tourism, this means that customers can book their stay through NFTs, but also purchase additional services and experiences as well.
The booking can include access to a spa, a private dinner like in the above example, and even access to a local event. All the information is securely stored on the blockchain, making the transaction transparent. And what happens if the client is forced to cancel the trip? This NFT can be easily resold by the initial owner, automatically updating all the information for all parties involved. No need to cancel the package and issue a new one – the entire experience can be transferred to a new owner while the authenticity of the ownership and of the transaction are guaranteed by the network.
NFTs – the new way of paying
You read that right. NFTs can be a payment tool and tourism can benefit from this. We’ve just seen the multiple values it can store, and purchasing power is no different. Consider it as a preloaded debit card, governed and secured by transparent rules. But unlike your typical debit card, this one is also your hotel booking and your loyalty card.
There are two main issues that stop people from spending when traveling abroad:
Exchange and ATM withdrawal fees
Vendors are not onboarded into the banking system and tourists cannot pay with their credit or debit card. As many westerners are sometimes reserved in using local ATMs due to potential fraud and/or high fees, travel budgets remain unspent.
And as hard to believe as this may be, using NFTs as a payment tool solves both of them. You’re no longer dependent on one single system that processes the information and sets up the rules. You can use your digital wallet anywhere in the world and any business, no matter how small, can accept payments from you.
Final words on how to use NFTs in the tourism sector
Have you read this article as a list of independent benefits NFTs (can) bring to the tourism sector? Now imagine that each benefit is part of the same experience. One NFT to rule them all.
You hear about hotel marketing stays through NFTs. You take a look and see that you actually always wanted to visit that city, so you book your stay. And here is where the magic starts. From here on, imagine that you are using that hotel reservation in the form of an NFT – and that the above subtitles are checkpoints throughout your journey. This is the future of travel.
At Oveit, we’re helping event organizers create immersive experiences through our NFT ticketing tool. But we feel that NFTs have the power to transform tourism, for travelers and local communities alike.
It’s been 18 hours since I’ve boarded my first flight. Meanwhile I switched two times. We’ve finally landed. After passing through customs I look for my name. Someone should be waiting for me. I see him. He is a middle aged man holding a tablet with my name on it.
We get to the parking lot and board the fully electric car with a brand logo I don’t recognize. As my host mentions, the government subsidized 50% of its cost.
As we drive to the hotel I look outside and I see hundreds upon hundreds of apartment blocks, many of which are still being built.
It’s July 2018 and I’ve just arrived in the city I’ll call home for the next 10 days, as I network and showcase our technology to local partners. It’s Hangzhou, China. This is where my view on payments tech will change forever.
Electric cars and QR codes
The “small city of four million citizens” was a treat in many ways. Our hosts showcased some of the most advanced Chinese tech companies as well as traditional buildings and artefacts dating back to 2000 BC.
Now, 4 years after Oveit showcased its edge payments technology at the tech conference in Hangzhou, two things still linger on my mind.
The first is just how many electric cars, bikes and scooters roamed the streets. At the time Tesla was hot and growing but not nearly as big as it is right now.
At the time traditional western car manufacturers were still debating whether they should or should not switch to electric. EVs were still a huge gamble. It surprised me to find out that more than 100 electric car brands were active in the Chinese market, with many others providing charging stations, batteries and parts. All the taxi drivers switched to electric cars. It was partly due to cost savings, partly due to the government subsidies and strategic push.
The second big surprise was payments. Specifically QR code payments. One of the companies we visited just passed both VISA and Mastercard in terms of the number of transactions processed. As it turns out, that company’s growth would be stifled in a few years but at the time the energy and enthusiasm was something you can feel in the air. That company was Ant Financial, the financial arm of AliBaba.
Even though the future of the company and its prominent founder remains unclear, one thing is for sure. The total electronic payments market in China kept on growing following my visit and exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic. Tools such as AliPay and WeChat Pay were at the core of this growth and transformation. Their choice in payment processing interfaces was a peculiar technology: QR codes.
In the western world we use different interfaces for online vs offline transactions but both are still governed by the credit and debit card. With the appearance of Apple Pay and GPay, a lot of these payments migrated to the smartphone. Many, but not nearly all. We still use debit cards, credit cards, bank transfers, cash and oh, dear … checks.
This was not the case in Hangzhou. From shopping for clothes to food, from paying your bills and taxi rides to the vegetable market, everyone used an electronic means of payment I found a bit funny at first: QR codes. For me they were a technology that failed to leave its mark in the marketing and advertising industry. What I failed to realize at first was that these were not your run of the mill QRs. They were dynamic, would run on basically any smartphone or tablet, were impossible to fake or copy, secure and easy to use.
QR codes were scanned via mobile apps and the user paid directly from her bank account, simply pointing the camera at the vendor and confirming the transaction. There was no need to carry multiple cards, each secured and processed through a specialized POS. Everyone paid and accepted payments using their smartphones quickly, safely and instantly.
Cash, especially foreign currencies, was discouraged. For some reason – I needed to exchange a $100 bill and it took me three hours to finalize the transaction. Even as a foreigner cash was a no-go.
What did I learn? It was a simple but powerful lesson: that payments in the way we grew accustomed to were now obsolete. The old way was effectively dead. Banking institutions, slow to innovate were still issuing plastic cards (so hot in the 80s) and hardly adapted to the new globally connected world.
The world changed and we, as a company, were part of the wave of changes that were transforming the world of finance and payments. Our story involved a particular market where we were good but in time we decided we want to become the best: cashless payments for live experiences. This now ranges from events and live entertainment venues to travel and hospitality.
The system we showcased in Hangzhou, our edge payments system, went on to power large festivals and venues, with tens of thousands of visitors. As the pandemic reshuffled the world of live experiences, we continued to innovate and ride the wave of change.
Recently, our R&D started playing around and found out what could happen when you combine our existing technology with the decentralized wonder called blockchain. We discovered an interesting concept that we now believe has the potential to transform the world of payments. Just like the QR codes I saw in Hangzhou, it looks and feels peculiar as a payment technology. Enter the NFT.
NFT payments – beyond fancy monkeys
NFTs are self contained digital ownership contracts. When minted to a crypto wallet, the assets this NFT holds are transferred to said wallet. These assets can range from photos, songs, movies to games and more.
But the NFT can also work as a holder of prepacked benefits and digital wallets, holding value, both fungible and non fungible. When combined with the right infrastructure, the NFTs become a payment technology.
In our case we discovered we can connect the NFT to the addons we developed, as well as the virtual wallet that our users pay and accept payments with. The usage can range from prepackaging a beer and a t-shirt to a concert to your next travel package, containing your plane ticket, payments in the city, access to attractions and local businesses or a hotel stay, even when you travel to Hangzhou.
What it can also hold is a virtual wallet. The wallet can be pre topped up, connected to a debit or credit card and can be used to pay. The NFT can become a payment technology, with properties unlike anything before, which we’ll discuss later. All this when the vendors use our Oveit Pay.
NFT payments – beyond bank accounts and transfers
As it turns out, the payments underlying AliPay and WeChat in China, as well as the likes of Revolut and Kash App are interfaces to systems that hold funds and rely on the traditional banking system. However, building upon the classical approach, they have built their own checks and balances systems to operate a secondary payment system. This new layer improves the payment speed, scalability, makes payments more usable and friendly and makes microtransactions possible.
However, operating these systems comes at a cost. These systems handle real money so their infrastructure needs to be maintained constantly, supervised and updated.
At a certain point it’s harder to keep systems secure than it is to build new features like loans, social payments and more.
As it turns out, you don’t have to do that. There is already an existing technology out there that enables fast and secure transactions, without any single point of failure: the blockchain, in its many incarnations.
There are also tools users can tap into to connect to this new technology and purchase, transact and store virtual value: the crypto wallet.
The blockchain ecosystem was in need of some sort of mechanism to point to digital value and move it from one user to another, securely. This new tool emerged in the past two years. It can do anything a bank account does plus what a card and a swift transfer can do. And a bit more. It’s the NFT.
Unlike the wallet, the NFT can hold multiple types of value abstractions. It can be transferred, it can be sold or gifted. Moreover – it can be governed by clear, transparent rules at the time of the minting. These rules are written and exposed to the whole world to audit. They are all set up in what is called a smart contract.
However, there is some confusion when it comes to the general outlook on NFTs and whether they are a useful technology or just a pump and dump scheme. The confusion is the following:
Think of NFTs as a preloaded debit card, with a bank account attached to it, with all sorts of benefits you can claim in the real world or online. It can have money stored in this bank account, it can have membership programs for all sorts of brands and communities. This card can be safely transferred or sold at a profit. It can be used as a collateral. It’s all the financial systems you know, all baked into one. And a bit more as it can be transferred, sold, traced, governed by rules and it doesn’t depend on any one system to run.
So far all we saw was the pretty picture placed on top of the card. But the bank account it was linked to was empty. There were no loaded benefits. No one built membership programs. There were no places you could use it to gain real benefits, in the real world, online or … the Metaverse. People just plastered pretty photos on it and sold them.
This is where we are right now. As with my time in Hangzhou, we all see the photo (back then it was the QR code). We don’t see what’s behind the photo and where it can lead. In the short time we had to get accustomed to NFTs we didn’t see how we could use them to transform payments. We only saw the surface.
Glancing beyond the monkey photos and the doodles, we can see the future of how NFTs can be used for payments as well as value storage and transfer. We can see the financial system moving from a single, monolithic, architecture which is old and slow to adopt change. The system is in the midst of a transformation into a new vibrant system that puts humans and human communities at its core.
Just like our existing civilization, it all started with photos of ape-like creatures doing stuff.
Meanwhile, at Oveit, we are putting this vision to the test with our very own NFT tickets.