April 23, 2019

Beat Hotel’s first cashless festival on the money in Marrakech

Beat Hotel hosted its first international event and is the latest festival to enjoy a successful 100% cashless event using PlayPass’ NFC technology, 28-31 March, 2019.

The Beat Hotel, which began its life inside the one and only Glastonbury, launched as a boutique festival in Morocco in March 2019. With over 1,500 attendees per day, the four-day festival took place at the Fellah Hotel on the outskirts of Marrakech, featuring a diverse programme of live music, DJs, talks and creative workshops. 

It’s the latest festival to become totally cashless by integrating PlayPass’ award-winning NFC technology across the various stages of the visitor journey. Leading up to the festival, attendees could create personal wallets to load funds, which were later linked to their wristbands as they arrived at the gates. 

These wristbands – fitted with an NFC tag that electronically stored their credit balance – could be used to pay for all purchases on-site, including food, drinks, shuttle buses, merchandise and spa treatments. Visitors could top up their funds online through their smartphone, on-site using a manned top-up station or automatically mid-purchase, using a trademark feature of the PlayPass system. 

For efficiency and ease, PlayPass ensured that all customers received a fixed exchange rate to limit any effect from the volatile local currency and the potential Brexit scheduled to happen during the festival (but subsequently postponed). For this to work, PlayPass used a virtual currency, in this case Dirham, which corresponded to the local currency. This allowed the festival to refund unspent funds and make settlement payments to traders in one currency.

PlayPass also supplied the ticket scanning and access control system at the entrance to the festival.

Daniel Baxter, managing director of Gorilla Events, the company behind the production of Beat Hotel, commented:

"Working with RFID for the first time and on a brand new overseas festival in North Africa was a big decision. We needed to have ultimate confidence that this payment and accreditation system would work as we were acutely conscious we would be far from home and our usual support network.

We looked at several providers but PlayPass stood out both in terms of technical knowledge and the experience required to pull this off overseas. They did not disappoint. From the initial planning stages through to delivery PlayPass was the perfect partner and supported us throughout the process to a very high standard. PlayPass overcame all obstacles on-site that the event and location threw at us - its dynamic response and capacity to find workarounds was superb. We wouldn't question using them again."