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FunTagg Roll Out Helps Carnivals Keep Touchless During Pandemic

Deggeller Attractions debuts FunTagg Electronic Ticketing System
The show began using the system at its 2021 events and plans to use it at all events throughout the season.

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As carnivals and fairs across the country begin to reopen after an almost year-long hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many are employing contactless, digital ticketing systems as another tool in their arsenal to provide a no-touch option for guests and employees to engage at outdoor events. FunTagg, a company offering a full service digital ticketing system to its clients, has been battle tested amid the pandemic, and provides event operators real-time data while providing customers with many point of sale options. 

When using the FunTagg system, event-goers can load value onto two different “credentials”; cards or pay-one-price wristbands. The system can be applied to all typical aspects of a fair midway including admissions, rides, food, and concessions. Customers have a few options when it comes to loading and re-loading value onto their credential of choice; credentials can be purchased at a point-of-sale system operated by a staff member, at a fully automated kiosk, or through the FunTagg phone application. The FunTagg system collects data on revenue and visits by the customer. Event operators can view the data and create reports in real time through their client dashboard.

The FunTagg system proves to be flexible in even the most trying event conditions. Credentials use Near-Field-Communication (NFC) chips to communicate with devices. NFC is the technology behind other common contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay. NFC technology is similar to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) with one important distinction. Using NFC technology, FunTagg is able to store activation and transaction data directly on the customer's card or wristband, whereas RFID technology stores data using the internet. This means RFID technologies require internet connections to complete a transaction while NFC technology does not. What does this mean for event operators? No more stress about faulty internet connections preventing customers from getting on rides, purchasing food, or entering the event without the proper credentials. 

Two different kiosk models are offered by the FunTagg team. At these stations, customers can follow guided prompts to purchase credentials using cash, credit, or contactless payment. If a customer buys a card as a credential, a pre-loaded card will dispense. If they choose a wristband instead, a wristband voucher and receipt will print, allowing an event staff member to put the wristband physically on the customer. Kiosks come in both a freestanding model and a front mount model; both are equipped with large touch screens and systems to keep the hardware cool and dry in the case of inclement weather. Fairs and carnivals already using the FunTagg system typically have a staff member manning the kiosk areas to help customers with any questions.

The Point-of-Sale (POS) systems consist of a tablet, a credit card terminal, and a printer. POS Systems must be operated by a staff member. Typically, customer service employees are set up with a POS system in order to put value on cards, activate wristbands or assist with putting wristbands on customers. 

Although both the kiosk and POS systems are simple ways for guests to attain their credentials for an event, when using the FunTagg system, customers can bypass the kisoks and ticket booths completely. The FunTagg phone application can serve as the event-goer's POS system AND credential. An app user can purchase credits that are then stored on the phone's NFC chip which allows the phone to operate as a card or even a pay-one-price wristband. If using the pay-one-price option, customers must create a RidePass on the app. RidePass has the user take a selfie in order to tie the purchase to one person and allows storage of multiple ride passes. 

Several large carnival companies including Fiesta Shows, Wade Shows, and Degeller Attractions have successfully employed the FunTagg system in both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. While some have been using the system longer than others, all three companies are impressed with its ease of use and technological potential. 

Wade Shows debuted the FunTagg system just before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In an effort to provide a bolstered mitigation strategy to their events, the Wade Shows management team often cited the contactless ticketing system as a safe means for customers to attain and exchange credits on the midway. After employing the system, Wade Shows has seen a decline in the need for human ticket sellers, often pivoting some of those positions to customer service or kiosk “greeters.” Marina Zaitshik has worked closely with the FunTagg system since its launch on the Wade Shows midway and has become comfortable relying on it at major events. “We have used the FunTagg system for over a year now. The FunTagg team has been great to work with and listens to our feedback in order to make the changes requested and continue to improve the system. Once you are used to having real-time revenue and ride data accessible, it is hard to operate without it. We are also happy to have the first Mobile App on the East Coast where customers can purchase credits and wristbands directly on their phone and never have to visit a ticket box,” says Zaitshik. 

Fiesta Shows got the chance to finally debut the FunTagg system at one of their events just a few weeks ago. Louise VanTonder, office manager, raves about the success of the system and the potential it has. “The FunTagg System is simple to use, straight forward, and very accurate. The dashboard of data and reports for ticket sellers tells you everything you need to know and you don't even have to leave the office!” Moving forward, the Fiesta Shows team is planning to implement the system at all of their events. “The system didn't take much training as everything was pretty self explanatory and straightforward, but Harry and Steve came on-site and showed us everything we needed to know.” In its current implementation, Fiesta Shows relies on kiosks and only one human seller who uses the POS System tablet. “Customers have an easy time using the kiosks and we have ‘greeters' at the machines to answer any basic questions. If it gets busy, we can break the lines with extra tablets,” says VanTonder. “I think it's a great system. It's easy, efficient and great for customers and employees.” 

Deggeller Attractions planned to use the FunTagg system in 2020, but had to put the system's debut on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Finally, the long-awaited implementation came in the early part of the 2021 season. The Clay County Fair was the first event where Deggeller used the FunTagg system during their 2021 run and, as it happens, the midway produced record revenue. 

The team plans to continue to make improvements and innovations with the system.  FunTagg just released recent software and hardware updates including the Health Monitor portion of the FunTagg app which can provide text notifications to users. The free standing KIS Kiosk with weather-proof amenities is available for customers, as well as a new tablet and credit card terminal for continued ease of transactions. FunTagg continues to grow and improve with the times, delivering the digital age for carnivals and events.
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