Stadiums leverage technology to redefine the hotel experience

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Article written by Michael Schatzberg

The stadiums benefit from a much needed technological upgrade. The big game, concert or comedy show in the post-pandemic is a little different for sports and entertainment fans attending events in person. Scanning virtual tickets on smartphones, ordering food and drink through apps and auto-pour beverage stations to avoid high contact surfaces are now the new normal, benefiting the health and safety of consumers. consumers and helping operators increase their bottom line by reducing unnecessary labor costs.

Gone are the days when fans missed a home run, touchdown, or their favorite song because they were stuck in long lines at the concession stands. With smartphone ordering, contactless checkouts and pickup modules, fewer consumers are likely to miss the event due to intimidating queues, which end up negatively impacting dealerships. That’s why more and more stadium operators are investing in smart technology that can help deliver a VIP experience to guests right from their seats.

One of the ways hospitality-focused tech companies are merging with stadium dealers is by offering portable tablets that integrate with point-of-sale systems allowing fans to order directly from their seats. This allows waiters to take multiple orders at once, reducing pit queues and allowing runners to get food out quickly and efficiently.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for a contactless service in the hospitality industry and stadium operators are responding to this growing demand with innovative digital platforms to better serve customers,” David Blitzer, co-founder and co- Manager of Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment

A number of stadiums and arenas have already implemented methods to keep fans safe during the big game by leveraging technological solutions to make the hotel experience safer. New Jersey’s Prudential Center – known for its shows and sports games – has implemented contactless entry into the stadium with mobile ticketing and contactless payment methods throughout the arena. Fans can also order from concession stands via their mobile devices and get contactless pickup in sealed bags.

Others, like Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, have introduced cashless concession stands for merchandise, food, and drink so attendees can expect Faster queues and avoid the potential germs of exchanging money.

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And to monitor crowd control and maintain social distancing, KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY, tapped into a technology innovation platform with an app alerting fans to the length. queues in concessions and washrooms to avoid congregating in large groups.


More than ever, consumers are demanding contactless payment methods and food collection stations, especially at hospitality establishments. Over 74% of Americans used their phones to order and pay for food and merchandise at least once a week, with almost 48% using their smartphones for purchases several times a week or more, according to recent data surveys. Customers also prefer to help themselves in the post-pandemic era. Almost half (44%) of consumers surveyed also said they wanted to use self-service kiosks when eating out or on the go.

automation technology applicationBusinesses allowing hands-free payment continue to thrive after the pandemic. BBot, for example, allows users to scan a QR code to order food and drink without downloading an app. The app integrates directly with kitchens ensuring orders are received and processed quickly, allowing employees to cover twice as many guests.

“What we’ve seen working best with our stadium partners is the implementation of advance ordering for the pickup lines. Skipping the queue to return to the game is a great experience for guests and is necessary to order even during the game so that no one misses a second, ”said Steve Simoni, CEO and Founder of Bbot, an ordering software and payment for the hospitality industry. , noted.

Customers also prefer to help themselves in the post-pandemic era. Almost half (44%) of consumers polled in the Appetizer Contactless Technology survey said they want to use self-service kiosks when eating out or on the go.

Innovations like PourMyBeer, the operator of self-pouring drinks, do just that by allowing users to pour their own drinks.

And with quick service concessions, another way for operators to optimize contactless pickup and self-service is to add hands-free pickup modules from the Minnow service, which both promotes hygiene and reduces the need for servers to take food to customers. .


Dealers can also stay in touch with their guests long after the event is over with technology tools that capitalize on customer feedback.

Ovation, a direct-to-consumer sales platform for businesses, chains and other food operators like Halal Guys and 5 Napkin Burger, helps operators gain customer feedback with simple tools that inspire them to rate. their experience after a meal or retail experience. This helps manage the reputation of a business online.

For example, when a business is outsourcing a concession stand in a stadium, tools like Ovation allow them to monitor customer feedback to maintain brand consistency.

Collecting data through ticket sales and stadium purchases is also crucial in providing operators with real-time feedback on customer satisfaction.

Innovations like Yumpingo do just that by informing operators of customer satisfaction by location, shift, service, and dish in cases where customers order food.


A number of stadiums are introducing value-based ticketing, promoting sales and promotions digitally at stadium food and beverage retailers and restaurants, enticing consumers to buy from a brand or brand. a retailer even before entering the stadium. The tickets are also used for loyalty programs with rewards for the guests that help increase sales.

Spendgo, a tech company specializing in creating loyalty programs for businesses, enables operators to implement compelling marketing tactics such as payment features with points and other ways to engage and retain customers. customers through digital orders, apps, kiosks, web portals and mobile wallets.

Other innovations that help operators create niche loyalty programs to increase customer loyalty is Personica, an app that has digitized the old-fashioned concept of customers putting their business cards in a fishbowl.

Instead, it collects data such as emails from customers to send promotions while connecting customer activity and online orders directly to a company’s loyalty program.

With concerts, games and live entertainment in full swing in the post-pandemic era, operators are realizing how vital it is to optimize stadiums and arenas with technologies and software that enable a customer and a more practical, safe and user-friendly package. hospitality experience.

Michel schatzbergMichael “Schatzy” Schatzberg is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Branded Strategic Hospitality and Managing Director of Branded Restaurants. He has over 35 years of experience in marketing, brand development, management, business development and hospitality. Schatzberg began working at Duke’s in 1995. He then transformed a one-concept restaurant into a multi-unit hotel group – opening a second Duke’s location in Manhattan and renaming Big Daddy’s from a 1969 soda store into a variation of the classic American dinner. Schatzberg has developed, developed and managed 6 hospitality concepts and advises over 22 restaurants in New York. He is a founding member of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and a member of the New York State Restaurant Association.

After being one of the first to adopt hospitality technology as part of his concepts and having served as an advisor for many HI-Tech start-ups, Schatzberg founded Branded Strategic Hospitality, an investment and consultancy firm, which leverages its ecosystem of places of hospitality, expertise and relationships to influence, redefine and develop hotel technology (“HI-Tech”) and innovation in food and beverages. To date, the company has made 21 direct investments.

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