Saturday, April 11th, 2015

County Introduce Upgraded Members Swipe Card System On New Road Matchdays

County Introduce Upgraded Members Swipe Card System On New Road Matchdays

Worcestershire CCC have reintroduced an upgraded swipe card system for members entering New Road in 2015 – with one of its aims being to help improve their matchday experience this summer.

The previous system was put on hold because of all the renovation work that has taken place at the county's headquarters during the past couple of years including the demolishing of the previous turnstile entrances.

But from tomorrow, members will have their cards processed by stewards and the collated data goes a long way to assisting the club with their target of giving value for money and also assessing how many tickets for non members can be put on sale for high profile matches.

The county have been working closely with business partner, Hoge 100 Business Systems Ltd, who provide all of their ticketing software, to ensure the system will work effectively with the club stewards participating in a successful test run.

There has also been a significant facelift given to the turnstile area situated in the lower level of The View.

Worcestershire commercial director Jon Graham said: "When the ground underwent the massive development of the last couple of years, one of the first things to go was the turnstile area. It was a building site for many months.

"We desperately wanted to get a swipe system back in place. The membership cards everyone receives have actually got quite a lot of technology built into them with a chip in there.

"The reason we went down that road a number of years ago with a swipe system was so we could ensure we knew who is in the ground, when they are in the ground, when they leave the ground – and we did that for lots of reasons.

"The ECB want that sort of data, and we want it to understand how many members are actually coming to watch us play because we want to make sure our members are getting value for money.

"If we see, for example, that members haven't come to the first game then we'd like to go out and write to them and say 'this is what you are missing, this is what you have paid for' and we want people to stay members for a long, long time.

"The swipe system gives us a lot of really invaluable data.

"It also helps us predict, if we've got a rough idea of how many members are coming to each game, just how many tickets we can sell over and above that.

"For argument's sake, if we've got 2,000 members that can come toT20 but only 1,000 are coming for whatever reason, then it means we can sell 1,000 tickets. It's for the big games in T20 like Birmingham, Somerset or the last game of season versus Surrey to gain promotion."

Graham added: "I think we've come up with something that is really compelling and, when people come into the main entrance by the Graeme Hick Pavilion, they will be greeted by stewards with hand held bar code access control machines.

"It will tell us via the chip in the cards whether membership is valid or not. We've done a few tests and it is working. We've done a demonstration with the stewards and they really like it."

The majority of the work in the turnstile area should be completed in time for tomorrow's LV = County Championship opener with visiting champions Yorkshire.

Graham said: "We need to provide facilities that people would expect for the sort of ground we've got now. "The turnstile area is having a massive facelift with about 80% of it done for the Yorkshire game but there will be things that will change ongoing in that space because it the first thing fans see.

"We want them to be proud of the club we are and first impressions are massive. Likewise, for all those travelling supporters from Yorkshire, we want them to feel we are a Division One club.

"So even though a new turnstile area, a new swipe system, a new barcode system seems to be in the grand scheme of things not a big thing, the knock on effect of having that is huge whether that be perception, data or marketing."

Graham revealed other areas where Worcestershire are working to ensure the whole New Road experience is attractive to supporters.

He said: "We are able to sell Print At Home Tickets for the first time. Again it is about expectations. If you buy tickets for any show, any football match, any cricket game, you'd expect to have the facilitiy to print your ticket at home.

"The other good thing, and we are still testing but it is looking likely we can get it delivered, is if you've got a Smart Phone and you get the Print At Home ticket delivered to your phone, we can take the bar code off your mobile phone.

"We've also got a major Wi-Fi project going on to give people access to Wi-Fi around the ground and we would hope to be there with that by the end of the season.

"The lads have delivered Division One cricket, and we need to deliver Division One standards all the way off the pitch.

"It doesn't just start with what they are doing on the field. It's got to be from the minute people walk into the ground."