Destination Events Leverage RFID Wristband for Hotel, Concerts

Published: June 19, 2024
  • Playa Luna is preparing a slate of winter destination events in Mexico that will leverage an RFID system to access resort and concert venues
  • Intellitix offers its concert and festival ticketing technology for access, payments and experiences for music fans.

When music fans sign up for a destination event with Playa Luna, they are acquiring access to see their favorite bands in a relatively intimate venue at a resort location.

This access is obtained through a single RFID wristband that provides guests access to the shows, their hotel room and related features. These winter events, which will be going for sale beginning in the coming weeks for 2025, leverage RFID-enabled access from Intellitix.

The scheduling is being wrapped up this month, but concert offerings for this winter are likely to start with country musician Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa. Playa Luna is preparing for its biggest season in 2025 with seven events, and trajectory to host about 10 events by 2026.

This is the event and hospitality company’s tenth season, and it has been leveraging its Intellitix system since its inception, said Andrew Clements, Playa Luna’s operation and production SVP.

Destination Concert Experiences

With the company events, the wristband will be used as a single method of access to both hotels and concerts. In the near future, for non-all-inclusive events, the company plans to enable payments with the wristband so guests can free themselves of keys, wallets and even phones if they choose to.

Playa Luna offers luxury experiences that combine concerts and vacations. Its music festivals and concerts last year took place at Moon Palace, in Cancun Mexico, over the course of three or four days. These all-inclusive trips take place near the beach, with an on-property concert area as well as the features of the resort such as pool parties, fitness, games and workshops, and tourist destinations along the Caribbean shore.

Individuals can make a single purchase for the entire experience. The system is in use by European music festival Tomorrowland, the Canada Open tennis championship, and San Diego Comic Con, among other concerts and festivals around the world, said Marc-André Simar, Intellitix’s operations SVP.

The resort uses a proprietary guest dashboard and inventory management system that collects information about purchasers, and passes to the resort, from Intellitix.

How it Works

After a ticket is purchased and customers fly to Cancun, they are met by Playa Luna’s shuttle service at the airport. Once they arrive at the hotel, they are then sent to a dedicated station where resort personnel check that person or family into the hotel, and present them with their 13.56 MHz, HF RFID wristband from Intellitix. The unique ID encoded on the chip inside that wristband is linked to the guest’s identity in the Intellitix software.

The wristband can typically be used as access control in multiple ways. Instead of using a keycard from the hotel, the guest can simply tap the band against the hotel’s RFID enabled door lock.

Additionally, vacationers can use the same wristband at the concert arena. Playa Luna deploys fixed RFID readers at multiple entrances. Guests tap the wristband near the scanner and Intellitix software confirms that the ID is authorized for entrance on that day. A green light is illuminated and concertgoers can enter the event.

Staff members stationed at the gates oversee the process, to confirm that each wristband is approved as the individuals come inside.

Meeting Exceptions

If an individual doesn’t have a valid ticket for that day, the light turns red and staff members can then summon the appropriate manager to check the individual’s credentials and identify the problem. Company officials note this spares the gate workers from having to make decisions about the authorization of each ticket holder as they enter.

In the case of an emergency, such as a lost or stolen wristband, Playa Luna personnel are able to track or disconnect that access to rooms or the show.

Some staffers may be equipped with handheld readers, used to admit guests with disabilities who may need a different experience at entry as well.

“There’s an advantage to the portal and the stability of the network through those systems but we’ve used the handheld in some of our ancillary locations, such as parties,” Clements said.

Serving Each Unique Ticket Type

The solution provides flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of tickets, based on the package the guests purchase before coming onsite. For instance, they can select different room types, numbers of people in each room or numbers of nights at the hotel. In fact, Clements said, there can be hundreds of different ticket types for a single event.

Most events accommodate between 3,000 to 6,500 fans. “These are the people that want to be in the [music] community, that want to be in a sub-intimate event that one of these artists will play throughout the year—it’s a special experience,” said Clements.

When it comes to offering a single ticketing experience, he added, “for me the use of RFID on these events really makes it a quicker entry process.”

Intellitix Offers Cashless Payments, Access

Based in Ontario, Canada, Intellitix offers three basic services for music festivals, concerts and events. One option is access control, similar to the Playa Luna solution. In that case, a wristband or card with RFID chip can provide a concertgoer with access.

The second option is cashless payments which enables attendees to pay for goods and services at a festival or concert without carrying cash or cards, with open and closed loop options.

In the closed loop version, a user would provide a pre-payment to a digital wallet that could then be updated as funds are spent from that balance. The open loop solution can directly access funds from a user’s credit or debit account.

“Open loop may mean that you talk to the outside world to process the transaction,” Simar explained.

The third option offered focuses on experiential access. Events that leverage this system could offer features to entertain guests, such as scavenger hunts or prize drawings. Attendees could activate each event by tapping their wristband.

Speed and Fraud Prevention

When used for access, the technology prevents fraud as well as speeding the entrance process. “Usually our equipment is not a bottleneck for attendees,” Simar said.

Most customers come to Intellitix because “they basically want to make the [access] process as frictionless as possible,” according to Simar. He said the technology saves from the cost around staffing a large number of workers at the entrance to check tickets. When used for payments, it can lead to greater spending averages.

“We provide data packages so they can use the data the following year to make decisions about the concert or event layout and operations,” Simar said. An example cited is they can detect that a specific bar saw fewer customers because of its close proximity to a stage. The music from the stage could have made payment transactions harder, so that people chose to go elsewhere to make their purchase.

Happy End User

In fact, the data for future planning is “one of our key initiatives to provide to our clients so they can make smarter decisions,” stated Simar said.

In the meantime, Playa Luna is planning ways to continue modifying how it uses the technology in to further streamline the process of access for guests and boosting inventory management for the concert and resort.

“Right now, everything works really well,” Clements said.

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