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Wade Shows to Premier New FunTagg System in 2020
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Wade Shows will be debuting an all new electronic ticketing system for its fairs and events in 2020.  The FunTagg system, which was developed over the past several years by technology industry veteran Stephen Riegel,  is touted as the most user-friendly system in the business.

Wade Shows President Frank Zaitshik said he and his team have been looking at all the available systems over the last several years, weighing the pros and cons.  They wanted a system that was customer friendly, included a mobile app, utilized the latest technology and had safeties built in place so there was little to no chance of downtime or the system being offline. The company has previously used the FunCard system at a few select events but they were looking for new technology and  the highest assurance of reliability.  “The FunCard system served us well in the past”, said Zaitshik, “but we were looking for some additional features and newer technology”, he added.  

Zaitshik said his company motto is “Always First, Always Best”, and the industry veteran said the words are more than a slogan, it is a philosophy he tries to put into action in all facets of his business. “We looked at several systems and they all had some great features”, said Zaitshik.  “The FunTagg system however, checked all of boxes, and we are very excited to be introducing what we have determined is the best system of its kind to the industry in 2020”, he added.

The FunTagg system uses RFID technology, providing fast, secure communication between the ticket or band and the reader.  It is the only RFID system that writes directly to the card, holding over 50  transactions that can can be stored. “This feature was very important to us”, said Zaitshik.  “By writing to the card, the system can work both when it is connected and transmitting information in real-time back to the office, or as a stand alone system.  It is the best of both worlds”, he added. 

Zaitshik was particularly excited about the system's mobile app.  “Finding a system with a mobile app was absolutely essential”,  said Zaitshik, “it is where all of this is headed and we wanted to be there first”.  In fact, the FunTagg mobile app is the first to use the NFC chip for iPhones.  With iOS 13 now available, app developers were given the opportunity to use the iPhone for two-way NFC communication, something only available in Android phones up to this point.  “The phone can be without internet connectivity, even in airplane mode, and the system will still work with this new technology”, enthused Zaitshik. 

The mobile app, available for iPhone and Android owners, can enable the phone to be used as a ticket itself or a guest could use the app to purchase a  wristband voucher from the phone.  For those not interested in using their phones as a ticket, Wade Shows will offer user-friendly kiosks with interactive touch screens that dispense cards, scan pre-sale codes, accept cash or credit and give change. 

Zaitshik believes the self-service kiosks will revolutionize the ticket buying process for his company and the industry in general.  “The kiosks are so easy to use, there are no problems with change or receipts and we eliminate many of our labor issues trying to find dozens of ticket sellers for some of our larger events”.  With the kiosks, one well-trained guest relations employee can oversee several kiosks and provide outstanding service to each customer.

In addition to the payment technology, the app will have the ability to receive push notifications from the office, which opens up a whole world of possibilities for the show.  “We could broadcast public safety announcements, inform guests of a show about to start, offer specials for food stands or games or even send out an alert for a missing child”, Zaitshik said.  The push notification  feature is an area that holds enormous potential for marketing, business and safety innovations and the show will be exploring the many possibilities throughout the season.  “We are kind of in uncharted waters with this new messaging.  I'm excited Wade Shows will be leading the way with this technology and I'm sure our research and results will help guide other carnivals and fairs in the best uses of this technology.”

In addition to the messaging, the system allows Wade Shows to capture important data about its guests that can be shared with fairs to enhance their marketing programs.  “We have been utilizing customer data and email lists for several years with our advance sale program, but the FunTagg system now gives us the ability to gather that information for the guests who purchase onsite as well”, said Zaitshik.  He said sharing that data with his fairs and events will be a big boost for their marketing efforts.

On the redemption side, FunTagg offers state of the art readers, with a durable housing.   They can be set for single purpose or used for multi-function transactions with food and games.  The other excellent feature of the reader is that it cannot be altered by the employee using the device, thus there is no “street value” if the device is stolen or goes missing.

In the office, the reports generated by the system are easy to read and understand.  Zaitshik said some of the systems he has looked at or used before, had reports that could be difficult to understand and cumbersome to generate.  Not so with the FunTagg system.  “We can track customers by day, time and amount of purchase.  I see all details from the kiosk sales in real time and I can control the entire system from my smartphone”, Zaitshik pointed out.

The ability to see a guest's history is a feature Zaitshik has always appreciated about the various electronic ticketing systems.  “From a guest relations standpoint, it empowers our GR team to quickly identify an issue, see where a guest has been, if they were able to access rides or not, it has even helped us find lost children by tracking the last ride they accessed”.  

The FunTagg system, Zaitshik says, will enable the carnival to provide outstanding customer service for its guests while also being confident that the system will always be working, with or without internet or cell connectivity.  “The ability to write to the chip with the RFID system is a complete game changer”, says Zaitshik.  “It's the best of all worlds — real time data, no down time if we lose connectivity, a revolutionary new smart phone app, and the easiest to use system I have ever experienced”.

Zaitshik said Wade Shows is hoping to debut the FunTagg system early in the 2020 season, possibly at the Florida State Fair in Tampa.  “We have used our old FunCard system in Tampa before”, said Zaitshik, “and we are prepared to use it again if need be, but I am hoping to have the FunTagg system in place, our staff trained and ready to go, by the start of the Florida State Fair in February. That is my goal”, he added.  
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