We spoke to inurface media, partners from our recent expert webinar and November’s 2021 TheStadiumBusiness Summit. Find out how they’re looking to change the game for guests as the industry re-opens…

Hello! Could you give a brief overview of the inurface group?

inurface media have been working in close collaboration with some of the world’s most iconic global brands to capture and retain audience attention since 2008. The inurface group now has five brands that enable us to offer cutting-edge, end-to-end Audio-Visual solutions to bring physical spaces into the digital world with immersive technologies.

If retail is your main customer base, what brings you to speak about stadiums and venues?

Retail is certainly our biggest channel, but we actually work across every industry, even virtual car show rooms and head office spaces.

We’ve been fortunate to work with incredible brands and their associated stadiums like Chelsea FC, Manchester City FC and Motorpoint Arena as well as some of the UK’s most iconic venues such as The O2, The Old Vic and The Royal Albert Hall.

We believe any space that has a large number of visitors has the potential to drive commercial gain through creativity; that might be through interactive entertainment to improve the guest experience, or helping the venue operator to sell in further messaging or advertising through slick digital signage.

So what does inurface think the future looks like for enhancing the guest experience with digital technology?

The best way to respond here is to summarise the experts from our joint panel! They agreed on splitting out digital inventory (like screens, visitor management, WiFi, etc) into two groups: function and experience.

Functionally speaking, though the transition to an almost entirely digital guest experience has been taking place over the last 5-10 years, COVID-19 has significantly sped up the process. Our panel discussed how areas such as crowd control, signage, POS and ticketing previously required an army of staff and physical assets, however, today stadiums and venues are deploying digital solutions to cover off all of these elements. Already we are seeing venues turning 100% digital, for example; tickets being downloaded on the brand’s app in advance, contactless entry, pre-ordering refreshments, uploading user-generated content to show live on signage, then pushing targeted, relevant messaging to visitors on their way home or the following day. What we see today is the potential for an entirely digital, aligned guest experience coordinated by the venue or brand.

Speaking of enhancing the guest experience, new forms of interactive technology offer a very genuine way for fans and visitors to be involved with the event they’ve come to enjoy. Examples like British Airways activation at Twickenham, or the Manchester City Etihad trophy museum demonstrate standalone experiences directly related to their respective stadiums that drive revenue, capture visitor data and enhance their visit in a way that wasn’t possible before. Solutions that allow for visitor created content creation or gamified interactions are key ways to ensure relevance to a new generation of consumer who expect this from any brand, and give the event a lifespan in the digital world, as well as beyond the day itself.

What do you think are the greatest learnings to bring from the high street to concourses then?

There is no doubt that adding functional or experiential technology to concourses provides an opportunity to drive revenue in spaces that can often remain empty for years.

Utilising retail-like technology in this environment provides an opportunity to bring guests closer to the event they came for, be it a music artist, sports team or even a private function. By connecting the user experience from ticket purchase right through to their on-site behaviour, venue operators and brands can pursue a single-view data experience; whereby every individual visitor can be encouraged to spend in order to enjoy the best experience possible.

The best brands are utilising their retail spaces not just as shops but as experiential spaces and functional hubs. Think about Ed Sheeran’s upcoming concert at HMV, or H&M’s clothes swap system.

Implementing activations to allow guests to be a part of an event – rather than just turning up and leaving as quickly as possible – must add relevant, real-world value, be it through a physical memory to take home, an activation tailored to the team/match/concert/etc, or even additional event information and content.

Interesting stuff! We look forward to seeing you in November!

Can’t wait to be there. In the meantime, we’re always available to talk about any concepts and come up with some experience ideas together. Just drop our team an email at [email protected]