Technology / 04.26.23
Alvarado’s Jacqueline Purcell Helps INTIX Members Do More With Less
Jacqueline Purcell, Sales Manager for Alvarado Manufacturing’s Sports & Entertainment business segment, was a first-time speaker for the International Ticketing Association at the recent INTIX 2023 in Seattle. And the experience was most definitely a positive one for her and those in attendance.
Her Inspiration Stage session was titled “Doing More With Less” and gave an overview of intelligent solutions to combat staffing challenges. “It was interesting to say the least,” she says with a fond chuckle. “Usually, in the past when I have been a speaker, it has been more aligned with training or presenting a case study. This was my first time speaking at INTIX, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hopefully, I was able to encourage some of the audience to pull off the band-aid of using traditional handheld scanners and seek alternative solutions like the pedestal scanner to free up staff and budget.”
Technology was indeed a major focus of her workshop. In today’s world, live event venues need the ability to configure entry areas to minimize personal interactions, support social distancing, and provide a safe experience for guests and staff alike. Contactless, self-service admission control solutions have become the go-to smart technology.
Purcell says, “Technology allows third-party ticketing and access control systems to communicate directly with our devices through clear, easily implemented web service protocols. This opens Alvarado’s suite of intelligent admission entry control devices to ticketing companies and venues without additional cost of middleware. Some of the added benefits include wireless access, reduced staffing, adding custom screens for individual seasons/events, and even monetizing devices with sponsorship screens.”
Purcell spoke at INTIX 2023 with the voice of experience. She began what she calls her “ticket operations journey” at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, which has the distinction of being the only Major League Baseball facility on a Native American reservation. “It was there I learned that you can’t control what happens on the field, but you can have some input on the fan journey,” she says. “Also, ticket operations is the crossroads of many organizations. Not only do you get to work with a variety of departments, but, for better or worse, you become a dumping ground for any project that doesn’t have a home. Being busy and not knowing my day to day all the time is/was fun.”
She continues, “While I have had the privilege of work with some amazing organizations, I love what I do with Alvarado Manufacturing. Alvarado provides access control solutions in the form of contactless ticket scanners, turnstiles, suite scanners, etc., to sports and entertainment venues. While they have been in that space for over 25 years, it’s only something that I have been doing the last two years. Being able to take my knowledge from working in sports and live events to help venues find a solution for ticket scanning/fan access control is perfect for me. Not only am I able to relate to venues’ struggles, but I am always learning about new technology and operation practices.”
She acknowledges that many ticketing and live event professionals have had to “do more with less” even more so in the post-COVID era. In this regard, the question was posed to her: “What has been the biggest challenge for these leaders and decision-makers in continuing to deliver results?”
Purcell’s reply: “When venues first emerged into this post-COVID-19 shutdown era, everyone embraced being agile and adapting with what we had was the new ‘normal.’ While I have seen patrons return with voracity, I cannot say the same for staffing. To deliver results, overcome staffing challenges, and provide the best fan experience and engagement, I think we must continue to evolve with new technologies and shifts in fan behavior. For some leaders that may mean finally pulling off that band-aid and leaving the mentality of ‘we have always done it this way’ behind or asking questions on how we can elevate or monetize our entrance experience.”
Such challenges drive Purcell in her day-to-day professional life. She loves visiting the wide variety of client venues and meeting people who make the events happen. “Fans just do not realize what it takes to make that game, that concert, you name it happen! And this is going to sound odd, but I enjoy listening to leaders talk about their pain points and then working with them, trying to solve what I can. Maybe it’s lack of staff or moving forward with all mobile ticketing. It’s just something fun about being able to provide a ‘plug-n-play’ ready solution and see and hear fans and staff go, ‘Why didn’t we do this sooner?!’”
On the downside, the travel can be a grind, often affecting her work-life balance in a negative way. “Travel is not always the day you think you’re going to get, and it can be long when you are going to smaller cities or the other side of the country. I am very lucky in that we have had the opportunity to work concerts or special events like the Super Bowl. However, this can lead me to being away from home for a few days to weeks, which leads to trying to balance that life side of things.”
Obviously, there are times where she has personally had to “do more with less,” which informed her session in Seattle. So, how has she personally coped in this regard? “I think most of us our conscious with our budgets and are still working on deficits that we experienced during COVID-19 closures and smaller attendance at reopen,” she says. “Knowing and embracing what technology can do and how much it is evolving may be the silver lining. Personally, I will try and do what I can remotely before visiting a site to reduce overall cost to all those involved.”
But being involved on-site is mandatory. Looking ahead, what is she most excited about personally? “This summer, some of our venues are hosting Taylor Swift, which I am excited to provide on-site support for. There is nothing like seeing over 200,000 fans over a course of a weekend use your product!”
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Tags: Technology , Inspiration Stage