Dude, Where’s My Wallet?

By Chris Elliston

The events industry has begun to crawl back to life and venues are reopening their doors to the public. Sports teams, entertainment and recreation sites, and universities have been busy pivoting processes to offer a safe return. As fans and guests start to revisit these familiar grounds, one personal item will likely be less prevalent: a traditional wallet.

Prior to COVID-19, consumers and businesses had a good grasp of the available technology even if they didn’t incorporate it into their own processes. The pandemic ushered in a newfound urgency to adopt contactless payment to safeguard the our and others’ well-being and sustain our businesses.

According to a recent PYMNTS and PayPal survey, six in 10 consumers say merchants that do not offer digital payment options in stores will not get their business. A Mastercard study reported that 79 percent of consumers worldwide are using some form of contactless payment in light of the pandemic, and contactless transactions around the globe rose 40 percent in the first quarter.

Savvy professionals are eager to support contactless transactions at all stages of the customer journey. Through technology, they will not only provide more sanitary processes but also create more efficient ones. In the background, technology companies are collaborating to deliver a more seamless, integrated experience.

Parking is often the first experience a customer has at a destination, so it’s critical that the parking industry works together to create a safe and satisfactory impression. At venues across the U.S., fans and guests can make purchases using a mobile wallet hosted on a team or venue app. In one place, they can secure a ticket and a parking pass, order concessions, and stock up on merchandise before or during an event. No paper to handle. No cash required. No line. On the operations side, it makes sense, too. No cash to manage. Safer, slicker processes, and ultimately happier customers.

This is just the beginning. The pandemic has proved consumers of all ages are willing to try something new. In this case, a trial by fire led to a universal convenience. When technology’s end goal is to serve the consumer better (perhaps even better than they can even imagine) adoption is really quite simple. Moreover, it is a timely opportunity for us as an industry to future-proof operations, understand parking customers, and cater to their growing needs with actionable data.  It’s about transforming to fast, reliable, easy-to-use technology. And your guests are ready for it.

The knee-jerk reaction of “Where’s my wallet?” will pass. We’ll forget the leather accessory that once seemed to make all things possible. If new tools serve us better, we will adapt. And it looks like we’re well on our way.

Chris Elliston is SVP enterprise with ParkHub Inc.