Realife Tech founder and CEO Adam Goodyer speaks to Access about how the event technology service worked with Edgbaston Stadium (cap. 25,000) in Birmingham to debut a multipurpose Covid-safe app for the recent cricket Test Match between England and New Zealand.

The app was used by 95% of the 60,000 fans who entered contactlessly at the gate across the four days. It received 314,344 views for tickets, retail purchases, spectator information and food and beverage orders. Nearly 5,000 orders were made in total. 

Other features of the app included cashless payment and contactless collection of concessions and merchandise with time slots, while fans with disabilities had the option to have concessions delivered to their seats. The Edgbaston app also includes features from other tech suppliers such as Good Till, SecuTix, WaitTime and PTI.

What has the data shown you about the effectiveness of the app?

The data showed us that mobile is a critical tool in not only bringing back live events under the testing programme, but will be a key tool going forward in terms of how live events are consumed. Some of the headlines that jump out in terms of the data are 90%+ of attendees downloading and accessing the ground solely through the app and a record per head of food and beverage spend. We were particularly excited about the ability to be able to control capacity and queue management within the grounds and ensure that bars and operations don’t get overwhelmed at key times. That’s something we’ve worked hard on and it’s specific to events and some of the requirements of events coming back with mobile technology. And finally with what looks like a very successful event in terms of low Covid transmissions.

Was the data as you expected?  

Yes, but where it was better was in capacity management and the ability to be able to flex order capacity through mobile and going through specific bars based on time slots. We were involved in the BRIT Awards doing the same thing and the capacity management was a challenge there – not having the ability to be able to throttle that capacity. Although it was a very successful event, it meant at certain times some of the bars were overwhelmed and the waiting time for fans was much longer than it would be if they were walking up to the counter.

That was something that we really focused on with caterer at Edgbaston and helped to completely change that. So the data around capacity management was better than we expected but also it affirmed that live events are complicated and there needs to be dedicated solutions in place that understand the requirements of live events. It’s not like running a shop or café, it’s like running 100 shops and cafes at the same time with tens of thousands of people on one day and it requires specific operations and processes to do that. That’s something that we and our clients are learning day in day out.

You said 95% entered contactlessly using the app – was this compulsory for ticker holders? 

Yes, there were no paper tickers available and although people could still download a PDF, the communication was focused around the app. As well as mobile being expected and demanded among fans now, it also provides a one-to-one communication point with everyone within the ground. One of the interesting data points is that there were between three and four tickets per ticket basket, which shows that most people will have tickets bought for them by someone else. So in that case, unless you have a one-to-one communication point with your customer, you’re losing the ability to talk to 75% of them. At a time when information giving is so critical and the other safety measures around food and beverage ordering, it becomes vital. The biggest change from pre-Covid to post-Covid is the understanding that mobile is the thing that will get people in and out and provide that one-to-one communication tool.

What other major venue clients are using your platform?

The O2 arena for the BRIT Awards test event but also its other events going forward, and again it will be mandatory to have the O2 app to get in and it will encourage mobile ordering and in-seat ordering. We’re also working with Lords, Saracens, Southampton FC, Tottenham Hotspur FC and a couple of other Premier League clubs that will be coming on soon. We also had a successful Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the US, so on both sides of the Atlantic. There’s also several other major clients using it.

What are the next steps with the app, in terms of its development and functionality?

Our focus is really looking at how to further refine time slot management, order capacity management and operation. Having that lead directly into the point of sale and catering operations is something that is critical at the O2 and Edgbaston, in that it’s part of the same system that they would use to process orders and stock management. So it doesn’t have to be an extra operational headache. Our focus is making sure that it continues to be a seamless operational experience as well as a much better customer experience, rather than just walking up to the counter and paying in cash. Our next immediate focus is going into detail in that area.

What evidence is there that it can boost income for events and venues?

There are two key areas; number one is if you’re able to communicate with nearly 100% of people, as opposed to 25% both at the event and after, your ability to target those people and communication to get them to more events, is exponentially increased. We’re already seeing that the ability to be able to increase ticket sales through having that one-to-one communication channel has increased. We’re getting data between 20-30% in terms of direct sales even at this early stage.

The next is increasing ancillaries at the venues. Consistently per head on mobile, it is anywhere between 20-60% greater than they are in open counter. This is happening worldwide and I haven’t seen a single instance of where mobile ordering leads to a lower amount. The challenge is how to make sure it works in an operationally seamless way.