PanStadia & Arena Management Magazine is the undisputed world leader for the business of stadia, arenas, sporting events and venues on a global scale.

Amsterdam ArenA strives for the best possible service

Amsterdam ArenA is in the process of three large and two small improvements set to ensure a more convenient and pleasant experience for visitors to the stadium, as Hidde Salverda, Director of the Amsterdam ArenA Event Company, explains.

Improvement 1: Everyone online
Ensuring that everyone in a stadium has internet access is a challenge for a stadium. During sports and other events, there are, in fact, tens of thousands people in a relatively small area. To ensure that they can make use of online services requires connectivity to be as reliable as possible, Amsterdam ArenA has achieved this by making 4G available throughout the stadium, as well as free Wi-Fi. Salverda confirms:

This is what the visitor expects and rightly so. Together with KPN (4G) and Huawei (Wi-Fi network), we have further increased the quality and the service level for the visitor. We have delivered a fine piece of work. In this way, we will truly be a world leader in terms of stadiums and event locations.

Amsterdam ArenA uses this improved connectivity to pamper its visitors even more. This occurs in two ways:

1a: Extras via the app
Thanks to the reliable, free access to the internet, fans can easily communicate via an app. Take, for example, the new app: ArenA Catering. It enables everyone with a smartphone to look over the catering products on offer, place an immediate order and pay for it. The order can then be picked up at the closest booth or take-away point.

In this way, visitors can quickly obtain a snack or drink during the match or concert without having to queue. The ArenA Catering App – which has been developed by the American SeatServe Company – will be phased in for the entire stadium over the coming months in close collaboration with Coca-Cola Enterprise, one of the founding partners of the ArenA. It will be fine-tuned based on user experiences and will, over time, potentially go a step further: enabling service in the stands. The app will not only allow the Amsterdam ArenA to offer the best possible service to its visitors, but it can also be used by organisers to offer their audiences extras. This may include interviews before the match, replays of goals, close-ups during a concert or price inquiries.

Salverda explains that this exclusive content is in tune with the age: “These extras enhance the experience and provide another reason to get off the sofa.” In addition, there are many more possibilities for direct communication between visitor and organiser. “They can establish a personal relationship with each other, share information and exchange ideas. And the great thing is that this extra content is simply transmitted via WiFi, so that you will not have a big bill for the extra service.”

1b: Easy journey
One of the objectives for the Amsterdam ArenA this year is to ease visitor travel. “We wish to make the trip to the stadium as relaxed as possible. This can be achieved by bundling all information from the parties involved and disclosing it to the individual visitor as required,” says Salverda.

Improvement 2: The convenience of contactless payment
Amsterdam ArenA has been in existence for the last eighteen years, and the same goes for the ArenA Card. Salverda explains why this choice was then made:

Rapid payment is an absolute must for us. This is due to the peak times in which visitors make use of the catering. Eighteen years ago, cards and cash payments were too time consuming.

In the present, the introduction of contactless payment by card coincides with the need for a new payment system. “For us, this is the time to invest in 350 bank card terminals and to bid adieu to the ArenA Card.” Visitors now pay faster and easier by simply using their own bank card. When they occur at the Amsterdam ArenA, such payments will be made in a contactless manner by holding bank cards or mobile telephones briefly near the payment terminal.

“It is a matter of time before every bank card will be usable in this way,” notes Salverda. He is also happy that the extra queue is finally gone: “It has long been a thorn in our side that people had to queue twice in order to receive their snack and drink. Once at the ArenA Card and a second time at the booth counter. We are now rid of the first queue. This improvement further shows how we are placing the visitor first.”

Improvement 3: Extra room
Watching football is most enjoyable when you can smell the fresh grass, count the splatters of mud on the white socks and hear the keeper instruct his defenders.

Now that the Amsterdam ArenA has filled in the moat on the east side, visitors can once again sit a little closer to the field. “This creates a better football ambience. The overall image is much more attractive,” notes Salverda.

In addition, this renovation yields 296 additional seats and extra square metres for concert goers. “We can move the barriers back, so there is more space on the field.” And no, this room will not be immediately filled with more concert visitors. “In connection with emergency exit capacity, we cannot allow any more people to enter,” assures Salverda.

Improvement 4: Handsome stadium box office
Such an attractive stadium with such an ugly stadium box office! This really could not be allowed to go on. “We have given the stadium box office a facelift, and it was about time,” laughs Salverda. The box office is located on the north side of the stadium and is opened prior to matches and events for ticket sales and information about purchased admission tickets.

Improvement 5: Introduction of the e-ticket
“A new ticketing system is being introduced for our certificate holders,” explains Salverda. “It was due for replacement.” And what are they going to notice most about the new system? “It will include the possibility for e-ticketing, this according to an easy and secure procedure. E-tickets are lost less quickly than physical admission tickets and will make it easier for certificate holders to send business partners and customers admission tickets. A long cherished wish that will be satisfied in the near future!”

Certificate holders and business partners will be notified about the changes separately.