Whether you are hosting a beer festival at a brewery, a haunt on a farm, or an airshow in a field, attendees and organizers generally need access to reliable and fast internet to ensure a successful event. Why is connectivity important for your ticket event?
- CheckIn: The TicketSignup CheckIn App works offline. This means that if your phone disconnects while checking in attendees, the data will queue and automatically sync once your device re-gains connection. This ensures that no check-in data is lost if connectivity is spotty.
However, prolonged lapses in connectivity may result in new ticket sales not syncing to the CheckIn App. In addition, there could be issues if there are multiple check-ins for store items sold and/or attractions at your event. While there are some exceptions for smaller events, your event needs a plan to ensure the devices doing check-in have connection.
- On Site Ticket Sales: There are three primary ways that events handle on site ticket sales.
- QR Codes: TicketSignup makes it easy to print and post QR codes that attendees can quickly scan to buy from their phones. Your event gets less crowds, more emails, and more money when attendees buy from their phones. If you plan to have attendees purchase on site from their phones, you should ensure that there is cell coverage or wifi that is strong enough to support your expected number of attendees.
- Point of Sale: TicketSignup’s Point of Sale makes it easy to sell tickets on site, accepting card or cash. Even if there is not enough connectivity to support all attendees, there will need to be connectivity for the Ticket App and Square hardware to process these on site sales.
- Cash: A totally offline solution of cash only will remove dependence on connectivity. However you lose customers who don’t have cash, reporting, streamlined financials, and caps management.
- Ticket Management: TicketSignup makes it easy to manage your event in real time, such as closing ticket sales if it’s too crowded or sending out an informative email (or text message – coming soon!). You need to have connectivity in order to access your ticket event dashboard and make these updates while you are on site.
On Site Internet Options
Traditional internet connectivity options at events include Wi-Fi and wired connections. However, these options can be unreliable and slow, particularly in remote areas or when there are many people trying to access the network simultaneously.
If your event is at a venue that includes Wifi and/or wired connections, ask the venue about connectivity capacity. Did the venue’s connectivity hold up for similarly sized events? When attendees are on their phones at the event, this can overwhelm even seemingly stable connections while you are doing test runs on site ahead of the event.
Even if your event is at a venue with connectivity, your event needs to have backup options. We recommend 3 options as a best practice. TicketSignup’s EventDay expert, Crisp McDonald, says “So many people show up with exactly what they need with no plan for things not working. And things don’t work A LOT. Whether it’s a sim card failure, a power outage, or satellite blockage, having redundancies is super important.”
Mobile Wifi Hotspots
For many events, one or multiple mobile Wifi hotspots (MiFi) are likely a good solution. MiFi is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that allows users to connect to the internet using a cellular data connection. MiFi devices are small and easy to move. They are ideal for events where attendees may be moving around and need to stay connected to the internet.
MiFi devices support multiple users simultaneously, and are ideal for events where multiple staff members in charge of check-in and on site sales need to be connected to the internet at the same time. However, it’s important to note that MiFi devices rely on cellular data connections, and as such, factors such as network congestion and signal strength may affect their speed and reliability. So you will not necessarily want to open up access to your MiFi hotspot to non-staff members at the event.
Crisp recommends the Inseego mobile hotspot, which costs about $400. Depending on the carrier (i.e. Verizon or Tmobile), the monthly data plan could be about $10-100. There are cheaper Inseego options available. Additionally, there are other MiFi options available, which you can find by searching MiFi + the primary cell coverage provider in your area.
Some events take place in remote locations like farms and fields that don’t have nearby cell towers like festivals and outdoor events. Starlink is a satellite-based internet service created by SpaceX. It uses a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit to provide internet access; as a result, it can provide connectivity to areas that are not covered by traditional internet service providers. Roaming Starlink costs $600 for the hardware plus a monthly fee of $150. Note that you should check Starlink’s satellite coverage availability at your event’s location.
If you do not wish to make any purchases to ensure connectivity, you can leverage TicketSignup’s network of RunSignup timers. Timers use a variety of software and hardware to manage complex events that are often in remote locations. As a result, they generally own MiFi and satellite internet connectivity options that may be available to rent. You can also search “MiFi rental” and “Starlink rental” + your location to identify other rental options.
Connectivity is essential for events. While you may need to spend additional money to ensure that your staff has internet access, you will make more money and have a better event experience with a smooth check-in process and easy on site ticket sales.