Las Vegas Monorail Integrates Fares into Trade Show Badges

March 8, 2017

The Las Vegas Monorail has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to create a system that integrates Monorail ticket fares into trade show badges, making transportation to and from convention venues quicker, easier and more seamless for attendees and exhibitors.

This convenient option was made available to attendees through a partnership with technology company NXP Semiconductors at the most recent CES, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center Jan. 5-8, which was the first show to try out the new program by allowing attendees to purchase Monorail tickets using a customized link supplied via pre-show e-blasts.

CES attendees also had an opportunity to add Monorail ticket fares to their badges at the event via the NXP AppXplorer mobile application from the Google Play store or by visiting the NXP tent at the LVCC.

In both cases, NXP embedded the fares into attendee MIFARE DESFire EV2-based registration badges with the help of event solution provider ITN International.

“To offer a seamless customer experience, we’re pleased to partner with NXP to make the transportation experience on the Monorail even more hassle-free for attendees,” said Ingrid Reisman, vice president and chief marketing officer of Las Vegas Monorail.

She added, “No more need to hunt through wallets and handbags for Monorail tickets – their badges enable them to just scan their badge and ride the Monorail.”

As a privately-funded, 3.9-mile-long system that carries more than five million customers per year along the east side of the Las Vegas Strip, the Monorail knew it wanted to do something to better meet the public transportation needs of trade show visitors while also making the ticket purchasing process more convenient and streamlined, according to Reisman.

After several years of development, the resulting integration system also involved retrofitting all Monorail station fare gates with scanners capable of reading different types of media and technology, including NFC chips and QR codes, to accommodate different shows and their badge integration preferences.

“Every show is unique, with different show demographics, registration and transportation needs, so we developed our application programming interface (API) to be able to integrate several different ways,” Reisman explained.

The Monorail’s badge fare integration can be carried out in three ways:

·      Partial integration outside of show registration websites: Attendees and exhibitors are each provided with a unique link via email that allows them to purchase fares using the Monorail’s online system. Fare information is then attached to each person’s registration ID (this is the option CES chose to use).

·      Partial integration as an add-on in show registration sites: Trade show participants are given the option of adding on Monorail fares while registering on show websites. Data is transferred back and forth between the show’s registration site and the Monorail’s API (as with full integration). When customers purchase Monorail tickets they are simply added on to registration fees, after which the data is sent to each person’s registration ID. Shows can also decide if they wish to offer one or multiple ticket types.

·      Full integration with show registration website: Monorail fares are included in the show’s registration fees, so every person automatically receives a Monorail fare based on the type of registration they sign up for. Registration information is automatically transferred to the Monorail’s website, which then sends back data for whichever pass(es) are predetermined and are then attached to registration IDs.

Excited to prove the new technology’s viability and ability to help improve the trade show visitor transportation experience as intended, the Monorail approached CES to see if they’d be willing to take the new program for a spin.

Once they got the go-ahead, the Monorail team and NXP had the technology up and running by early Dec. 2016, just weeks before the world’s largest consumer technology show kicked off the new convention year.

“It was CES’s 50th anniversary, so there was interest from the folks at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) to do it,” Reisman said.

She continued, “ITN, their badge technology company, really wanted to show how this could work, and the folks at CTA were very supportive and interested in seeing how it could work as a test, so we were able to pull it together quite quickly. The goal at CES was to get somewhere between 1500-3,000 people signed up and we got 2,977, so we just got under that 3,000 cap and it worked beautifully.”

Attendee feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with CTA pleased that the system had not only worked without a hitch but also that it could also be relied upon in future years to provide their attendees with a seamless transportation option, according to Reisman.  

“Our cooperation with Las Vegas Monorail and ITN International allowed us to provide 2017 CES visitors with an extraordinary experience of how true multi-application works,” said Markus Staeblein, vice president and general manager of Secure Mobility & Retail at NXP.

Additional show organizers are signing up to take advantage of the new badge fare integration system, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG, taking place March 7-11 at the LVCC. As the first show to officially sign on for full integration, its attendees also will be the first to have Monorail fares integrated into the cost of their registration.

Following CONEXPO will be the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), taking place April 22-27 at the LVCC, which will offer attendees and exhibitors the option of purchasing Monorail tickets on the show’s registration website.

“We have seen first-hand how this can enhance the visitor and attendee experience and we are excited to work with other show organizers to develop integration solutions,” Reisman said.

She added, “Every show is unique, every technology is a little bit different and we love the challenge to develop the right solution for each one.”

Additional conversations with other Las Vegas shows organizers are ongoing, Reisman said.

To see the Las Vegas Monorail badge fare integration system in action, check out this great video

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