Displaying a menu, scanning an event ticket, and opening up a GPS map to pinpoint your destination—QR codes can do it all. Quick response (QR) codes have been around since 1994, but it’s only now that this technological innovation’s functionality has been fully realized. QR codes are fast becoming industry-standard for restaurants and are regularly showing up at live events and sporting venues, as well. They can improve your next sporting event in more ways than you may realize. Read on to learn more about how QR codes can enhance your next sporting event.
But First, What Are QR Codes?
QR codes are essentially highly advanced barcodes composed of (usually black and white) little squares and specks. They can store a fantastic amount of information and can serve more purposes than traditional barcodes (but more on that in just a moment).
Once scanned through a smartphone, QR codes can display almost any kind of digital information including:
- Web pages
- Contact forms
- E-commerce portals
- Media such as videos or images
Yes, the possibilities are endless, but if you have an eye for aesthetics and are raising a brow at the black and white Rorschach-blog-like designs, we have excellent news—the physical codes themselves can be tailored to your brand. QR codes can be colored and even shaped in novel ways to align with your event. They can be designed to resemble a team mascot, for instance—or even your stadium.
Essentially, QR codes are a customizable, versatile way to offer a seamless shortcut for your consumers to access information or complete an action.
How QR Codes Work
QR codes are a fascinating innovation, and thankfully, they’re simple to implement for both the customer and the vendor.
The basic process works like this:
- You (the sporting event proprietor) use a QR-coding service to design codes to include whatever information you wish.
- You place the codes in whatever way makes sense. That might mean individually tagging items like a wristband or stationing the codes at a centralized location, such as a dining table or booth.
- Customers open the cameras on their phones and let the camera focus on the code.
- The information embedded in the code sends your customers to wherever you’d like to send them, whether that be a restaurant menu, a digital ticketing booth, or a digital store.
- Customers take whatever action they’re directed to.
10 Ways QR Codes Can Improve Your Next Sporting Event
QR codes help in some obvious ways and in some ways that might surprise you.
The specifics will depend on your particular brand and needs, but they are limited by nothing but your imagination.
#1 Increase Stadium Sales
It’s a conundrum almost every live sports fan has encountered—stick around just in case something exciting happens, or risk missing the action to stand in an endless line for snacks?
QR codes might just be the answer hungry fans have been waiting for.
Without the worry of a long line, live sports fans would likely spend more on food and drink—and the data agrees. According to research by Oracle, lowering or eliminating wait times at sporting events would potentially create a whopping 66 percent increase in spending at sporting events.
The same principle applies to patrons who are dining in at a stadium restaurant. Freed from the need to flag down a server, they can continually add to their orders at will from the convenience of their seats.
#2 Eliminate Patron Congestion at the Gates
QR codes can be used at arrival and departure of sporting events. Customers can bring in their physical or digital tickets with QR codes and scan them in readers positioned at your venue’s entrances.
This simple method can significantly increase check-in times for all your guests.
Bonus? Faster check-ins mean not only improved venue logistics but also happier customers.
#3 Speed Up Pedestrian Flow in Booths, Stores, and Gift Shops
With QR codes, many purchase items can be tagged and left for customers to pick up at self-service kiosks.
Rather than waiting in line to complete their purchases with staff, patrons can make their purchases on the fly as they browse shops and vendors. Then, they can continue on their way. Multiple checkout stations can be set up at a low cost which can help ease bottlenecks and pedestrian congestion. When purchases are easier to make and foot traffic is flowing, customers can enjoy a frustration-free event experience.
#4 Create Return Customers at Your Stadium
QR codes aren’t just a bunch of black specks to help customers make purchases—they can be embedded with all kinds of fun easter eggs and surprises to enhance the event experience. Dynamic QR codes can be altered in real-time to surprise fans and keep them coming to see what new surprise awaits.
When customers scan your codes, you can offer them:
- Links to quizzes about the teams
- Branded puzzles and games
- Entry forms for raffles
- Exclusive media content
- Opportunities to sign on to loyalty and rewards programs
- Coupons and freebies
- Invitations to follow your brand on social media
Any of these options will give your guests the opportunity to stay engaged with your brand even after the game.
#5 Improve Your Hospitality
Make no mistake—QR codes aren’t precisely replacements for cashiers and servers. Instead, they’re more like sidekicks, helping to increase your valued employees’ bandwidth. Freed from easily digitized to-do list items, your staff can focus their talents on hospitality.
By taking the easily automatable tasks off of your team’s plate and onto the QR code, you’ll be helping your team do what they do best—engage with customers, make them feel at home, and cultivate memorable experiences.
QR codes can make it easier for your customers to enjoy themselves and for your staff to do their most exceptional, inimitable work.
#6 Improve Safety for Guests at Your Next Sporting Events
Whether your customers are diehard hockey fans or lifelong basketball aficionados, you want them to enjoy their favorite sport without worry—and QR codes can help.
QR codes make your events safer in two ways:
- Less cash being carried – When fans are paying for their goods through their smartphones, they don’t need to carry cash. This simple truth cuts off a good deal of crime at the head.
- Social distancing – As fans become more cognizant of health concerns, adding QR codes can keep both your guests and your staff safer from airborne-disease transfer by limiting the amount of time they spend in close proximity with each other.
#7 Give Your Guests a Voice
You can use QR codes to send your guests feedback forms that capture real-time impressions of your event. This data is invaluable and can be used to improve your future sporting events.
By offering feedback forms through the digital content revealed by your QR codes, you can capture guest experiences while they’re still fresh.
#8 Make Parking Easier
Similar to the way that QR codes can be used to expedite fan check-ins, they can be used as parking passes, as well. That is exactly what the San Francisco 49ers did at Levi’s Stadium. The result? Improved parking, fewer accidents, and happier fans.
#9 Help Communication with Fans
QR codes don’t have to be used exclusively with merchandise and concession-oriented items. Dynamic QR codes, which can be easily reprogrammed in real-time, can be set up at stable locations as informational tools.
Through these dynamic QR codes, you can inform guests of:
- Weather advisories
- Exit-gate advisories (redirecting flow from congested exits to less-congested ones)
- Venue events
- Team news
- New sales
The options here are limited only by your imagination.
#10 Collect Valuable Data Insights
QR codes are exceptional data collection tools. They allow you to track purchases, habits, and reactions to marketing materials with far greater detail than billboards or radio commercials.
All that customer data can help you adjust prices, select merchandise, and stock restaurants more effectively. With this precise information, every event can help make the next event better.
Score A QR Code for Your Next Event with GoTab
As detailed above, QR codes can be used for all kinds of interesting, novel purposes to keep guests entertained and engaged. At their core, though, they are there to increase efficiency and convenience.
From simple purchase codes to creative The fundamental value of QR codes offers an excellent potential return-on-investment as an essential sporting-event innovation.
GoTab can get you set up with QR coding quickly, easily, and affordably. Our company grew from within the hospitality industry, so we know the in’s and out’s of meeting (and exceeding) customer needs through technology. From firsthand experience, we’ve designed our product to make implementation simple and cost-effective for even the most tech-challenged sporting venue operator.
- CNBC. QR codes have replaced restaurant menus. Industry experts say it isn’t a fad. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/21/qr-codes-have-replaced-restaurant-menus-industry-experts-say-it-isnt-a-fad.html
- Oracle. Stadium of the Future. https://www.oracle.com/a/ocom/docs/dc/stadium-of-the-future-report-final.pdf
- Sports Business Journal. With self-serve ticket scanners, 49ers look to personalize the process. With self-serve ticket scanners, 49ers look to personalize the process (sportsbusinessjournal.com)