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David Charlton

April 16 2019,
David Charlton

Don’t get caught out – ensure your venue offers the perfect experience for sports fans.

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On 30 May, England host South Africa in the first fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Over the following weeks, 48 matches will be held up and down the country, from Taunton and Cardiff to the Riverside in Durham, with the final held at Lord’s on 14 July.

And it’s not just cricket lovers who are getting excited at the prospect of this sporting extravaganza. It’s also great news for the UK’s hospitality sector, as fans from all around the world descend on England and Wales to cheer on their teams. Cricket is a truly global sport, and the UK is set to welcome supporters from as far afield as New Zealand, Afghanistan and the West Indies.

Fan zone frenzy

How we watch sport has changed dramatically over the years. Back when England won the football World Cup on home soil in 1966, those who couldn’t attend the match in person would be crowded round the telly at home. In fact, there was a huge power surge at the end of the game as viewers all put the kettle on at the same time.

That’s certainly not the modern way of doing things. Today’s major sporting events offer massive fan zones, where people can gather to share the excitement as a group. It’s a recognition of the huge social aspect of sports, that fans want to come together and experience the roller coaster thrills and heartaches en masse.

Broadcasters have also upped their game, and now use the latest audio-visual technology to give viewers a fantastic, close-up and interactive experience. Watching fans can analyse every decision in super slo-mo, take control of camera angles, and get crowd reactions as every incident unfolds. It’s the next best thing to actually being in the stadium.

But what type of customer experience is your venue offering? Many hospitality venues aren’t embracing technology in the same manner as broadcasters and event organisers, and guests’ enjoyment suffers as a result.

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Never miss a second of the action

While one of the big benefits of TV coverage is the ability to see multi-angle replays and split-screen coverage, sports fans watching a game in a busy venue have always had one sizeable pain to contend with: leaving the safety of their seats to go to the bar to get a round of drinks. Here’s why it matters:

  • In sport, it only takes a couple of seconds for a game to be turned on its head. And it’s Murphy’s Law that all the exciting action will occur while a customer is queuing at the bar out of sight of the screens. A once-in-a-lifetime moment for their team and it happened while your customer had their back turned. Not exactly a great experience.

  • The social aspect of sport can’t be underestimated. Sharing the experience alongside like-minded fans or close friends can be almost as exciting as being at the game. Your customers want to live and breathe the action together. So even if you have screens at the bar and customers see their team takes a significant step towards victory while waiting to be served, it still spoils the moment. They may as well be watching on their own.

  • Booking a space for a big group can be troublesome at any time, never mind on big days of sporting action. And sporting occasions are perfect for attracting large groups to your venue – and the big revenue that comes with them. However, most online booking widgets can’t process groups larger than eight, which means customers have to ring up to try and make a booking. It can be difficult for operators too, who lack visibility and real-time availability. The whole process can be troublesome all round.

  • Your smart customers may have reserved tables in advance. Others will have got in early to ensure they get a table, or at least seats for their group. But the reality is that standing customers are likely to pounce on an empty seat, which means customers are reluctant to risk a run to the bar. A fear of losing a seat can ruin the atmosphere and taint the enjoyment.

It’s not just the experience – it’s your income

Simply put, it makes financial sense for you to make it easy for customers to spend money at your venue. Because if they risk missing out on the action or worry about losing their seat, that means you’ll be missing out on important income. And of course if they can’t book their group at your venue in the first place then it’s your competition who’ll be counting the cash at the end of the shift. 

This is where liveRES can help.

liveRES Events & Pre-Order offers real-time booking availability for large parties, which makes it far easier for groups to book with confidence. It also saves you and your team from manually checking the diary and making reservations off the central platform – which increases the risk of mistakes such as double bookings.

Your customers can then browse menus and order and pay for food and drink in advance. This gives you huge operational advantages, allowing you to prepare any ingredients accordingly and saving you the hassle of trying to take orders and payments on the day. And best of all, full EPoS integration means there’s no rekeying needed.

You can also use Events & Pre-Order to showcase themed menus that entice people in. Customers love special menus that add an extra touch to the occasion. So be inventive, demonstrate your creativity, and serve up a fun menu that also creates upsell opportunities to bring in extra revenue as well as delighting your customers.

Order & Pay is another fantastic way to offer an incredible customer experience in your venue. With Order & Pay your customers can view your food and drinks menu and order and pay from the comfort of their seat via their smartphone without having to queue at the bar or wait to be served. This means they can spend more time with their friends taking in the sporting action, and less time waiting to get a drink or a bite to eat.

And it’s more efficient for your staff too. Orders are sent straight to the bar or kitchen with no rekeying necessary, so your team can focus on preparing delicious food and delivering a great customer experience rather than manually inputting orders. It’s more convenient for your customers, and more efficient for you.

 

The winning formula

Sports events are big money these days. And that includes your hospitality venue. People want to watch sports at a place that can accommodate their group; where they can relax and focus on sharing the experience with friends, without stressing about missing out. As broadcasters and event organisers raise their game to improve the customer experience they deliver, is it time that you did the same? Because delivering high-quality, memorable moments also means delivering extra income too.

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